Look up any recently–published list of baseball's worst contracts and you won't have to read for long before encountering Alfonso Soriano's name. The eight-year, $136MM deal Soriano signed following the 2006 season remains a regrettable one for the Cubs, but that shouldn't obscure the fact that Soriano remains a modest offensive threat. In a trade market that doesn't yet feature impact hitters, Soriano figures to draw interest this summer.
Presumably, the Cubs will be paying most of his salary in any trade. Soriano will earn $18MM per season through 2014, which means $47MM or so remains on his contract. The Cubs, who already seem willing to sell, are reportedly willing to pick up most of Soriano’s salary to facilitate a trade. It'd be a surprise if they absorb less than $35MM of Soriano’s contract.
Soriano has a .266/.315/.480 batting line so far this year. All 12 of his home runs have come since May 15th, so he's still capable of impressive bursts of power. He has a career .276/.345/.519 line against left-handed pitching, which will make him appealing to teams that struggle against southpaws, or teams in search of power.
Yet Soriano’s an exceptionally aggressive hitter (only 12 qualified hitters swing at a higher percentage of pitches) who doesn't walk or get on base much relative to the rest of the league. His value on offense is closely tied to his power and, now that he's 36, it's unclear how much longer he'll continue producing at this level.
A number of contending teams could have interest in Soriano. The Indians rank 29th in MLB with a .630 OPS against left-handed pitching, and they have a potential opening in left field. The Pirates rank 22nd with a .678 OPS against lefties and could create at bats for Soriano. The Tigers haven't enjoyed much production from their DH spot or from right field, and they’d like to add a right-handed bat. The Nationals lead the NL East, yet their left fielders are last in the game in OPS.
Soriano has a full no-trade clause, but he has said he’s willing to accept a deal if the Cubs propose to move him to a contender. Non-contenders probably wouldn’t have interest in Soriano given his age and salary, so the no-trade clause may not be a major obstacle.
Back in 2004, Soriano was traded for 28-year-old Alex Rodriguez. Eight years later, his trade value is nowhere near that high. It's hard to imagine any general manager agreeing to part with an elite prospect for Soriano, regardless of how much salary the Cubs take on. Even so, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer could be motivated to move Soriano if the Cubs can obtain an intriguing young player for him and shed some salary in the process.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
I hear Soriano doesn’t like to run to first
It was on a line drive dude, chill out
I don’t even care…I heard people talking about it today and thought it was funny
He should have been running out of the box to begin with. Would he have made it? Likely, no, but it’s still the principle of the thing for a guy that doesn’t have much room for screw ups.
granted, he does have a history of not always running hard out of the box, keep in mind that, currently, he’s playing on a bum knee. he’s probably less likely to hustle out of the box on what he perceives to be an unnecessary effort at his current state, than he is when fully healthy.
After last season’s trade, I have a horrible feeling Cleveland will give up Lindor for Soriano with the Cubs also picking up most of the money owed. Crazier things have happened. Or have they?
Soriano Back to the Yankees!
You beat me to it! My friend is moving back to NY in 2 days and he’s a big Yankees fan and has fond memories of Alfonso and we were just talking about how cool it would be if he made a return. Highly unlikely though.
While Soriano is playing better defensively, and has been his normally super streaky self, I just want to see him go anyway possible. The announcers are covering for him, as are the players, in my opinion, to get the highest trade value possible out of him.
I’m sure he is a nice guy, but he is an obviously selfish player that really doesn’t understand the game that well at all. When a guy consistently goes up to the plate, with no outs, and swings at pitches way out of the zone because he is “so intent” on slamming a homer every bat…………..wow!
This is supposed to be a veteran we are talking about. Why is taking some pitches such a bad thing?
It’s good for him and good for the people behind him.
Despite all the pundits who claim this team is horrible, most of the games have been close. If you would have taken a couple of the offensive logjams out of the lineup, mainly Soriano despite his Home Run and RBI total, I think this is a very different and possibly even competitive team.
I understand why you dislike the way he plays and I know how frustrating it can be watching guys hurt not just themselves, but the rest of the lineup too, with their impatience. But at the same time that’s just the kind of player Soriano is at this point. With a career .323 OBP, he’s just never had a great eye or a ton of patience. It seems a little unfair to me to expect him to expect him to completely change his approach at age 36. Again, I’m not saying your concerns aren’t flaws in his game, and I understand why you want to see him dealt, particularly with Rizzo waiting. But Soriano is who he is, and being a free swinger with power is always how he’s helped his teams, you can’t really blame him for not completely reinventing himself as a hitter in his mid 30s.
And you think Soriano is suddenly going to change from being a free swinger his entire career? Even in his best years he would K a few times every game.
I remember how upset he was when he was moved to the outfield. How about taking him back to 2B? I know, winner of the Concrete Glove award several years running, but still might be an option and increase his trade value.
As bad as his knee is, he should only be DH-ing. His inability to move quickly would really get exposed at 2B, he can barely play the outfield at this point
Him playing 2nd would decrease his value, I would rather have Paul Maholm or Travis Wood play 2nd.
Sorry, maybe I wasn’t clear. I wasn’t necessarily suggesting that the Cubs play him at second, only that marketing him as an infielder might increase the number of interested teams.
I see what you mean, I guess if it help’s to get him out then by all means lets market him as a Inf/Of/DH lol.
Soriano to the Braves = maybe a another wild card loss.
He’s going to the AL where he can DH and play LF once in a while.
I hate that the Pirates keep getting mentioned in every online piece about possible Soriano destinations. NO CHANCE. I would love to see the Bucs grab Maholm back in a deal with the Cubbies. Adding another starter will be paramount to making sure this team doesn’t fold like last season. Maholm is a guy I wanted to see in Pittsburgh for his entire career. Great community guy and a bulldog on the mound.
Cubs- “We owe our fans a little something after getting jammed by the Sosa deal, instantly making the Soriano deal, and using their huge contracts as reason for jacking up ticket prices.”
Fans–“Yeah!!! FREE PEANUTS!!! NOW we have something to look forward too!”
I am a Cub fan, gotta be able to laugh though.
Even to this day that Soriano deal makes me oh so happy. Everyone know the club only had a 2 or 3 year window during that deal to make ish happen. They never made it out of the first round of the playoffs during Soriano’s first two seasons. After that, the contract has been nothing but a disaster. And somewhere out there Jim Hendry is drinking a beer and smiling.