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You’ve just got to love this time of year. No matter how absurd a rumor might sound – how far-fetched, how implausible – it can still grow wings and fly.

Phil Rogers dropped a bombshell this weekend about a prospective Cubs/Yankees trade involving Alfonso Soriano. Say what you will about Rogers’ speculations and theories (they’re, eh hem, frequently “wild”), but after decades in the industry, he’s got sources.

An unconfirmed rumor from the Cubs camp has the Yankees studying a major trade with the Cubs, which you could classify as one-stop shopping. Talks are believed to be in the early stages, but it’s worth noting that one of the names in play is Alfonso Soriano.

Most believe Soriano is an immovable object because the 35-year-old outfielder is owed almost $63 million in a deal that doesn’t expire until after 2014. But the Yankees were seeking more production from left field (12th in the AL with 28 RBIs) even before Alex Rodriguez had knee surgery that could keep him out for six weeks.

Soriano’s play in the next week or so could determine whether talks get more serious. He hit 10 of his 14 home runs in April and had only two extra-base hits in his first 37 at-bats in July.

To trade Soriano, who could use his no-trade clause to block the deal, the Cubs would have to agree to pick up a lot of the $63 million he’s owed and put an attractive piece in the deal. That probably would be Sean Marshall, as the Yankees need to improve their setup situation, and he would be a major upgrade from Boone Logan.

With Rodriguez sidelined and designated hitter Jorge Posada struggling from the right side of the plate, Aramis Ramirez also could enter discussions. But it’s finding a way to move Soriano that would do the most to raise general manager Jim Hendry’s standing with Chairman Tom Ricketts. chicagotribune.com.

First thing: this time of year, countless teams are discussing countless trades with countless other teams. The talks reach varying stages – exploratory calls, discussing target names, discussing prospect names, exchanging offers, etc. – but 98% are not consummated. I have no doubt that the Cubs are in talks with the Yankees about any number of players. And I have no doubt that the Yankees are in talks with any number of other teams about any number of other players.

That all said, a trade involving Alfonso Soriano has to be desperately attractive to the Cubs. This year has shown – if it wasn’t clear already – that Soriano cannot play reasonably passable defense in left field anymore. He’s under contract for three more years in a league without a DH. At some point the Cubs are going to be confronted with the very real choice between having an $18 million bench player, or eating as much as $12 to $14 million per year just to be rid of Soriano.

Any deal involving Soriano is going to look ugly on paper. Steel yourself from any thoughts that the Cubs can get anything more worthwhile than a few million bucks of salary relief. And worse, if those few million bucks are to become several million bucks, the Cubs will have to throw in another valuable player/prospect or two. The piper must be paid for the sins of 2007.

The only way a deal involving Soriano might look to fans like a success is (a) if the Cubs eat such a sizable amount of the remaining contract that they can actually get back a useful piece or two; or (b) if the Cubs take on an ugly contract in return, but which gives them a more useful player than Soriano. From the Yankees, I’m not quite sure whom that player would be.

Setting aside the Soriano piece, it’s interesting to hear Rogers describe the prospective deal as “one-stop shopping.” How many other pieces would the Cubs give up? Rogers mentions Marshall (who is almost certainly off the table) and Ramirez, but is there more? The Yankees could use a solid starting pitcher, what with the injuries and recent ineffectiveness besetting their rotation.

Bundling several players together in one deal is probably the Cubs’ best bet, not only because it potentially consolidates their return (i.e., one excellent player is a better return than two good players), but also because it increases the likelihood that the Cubs will be able to deal all the players they want to deal. Trades are hard to put together.

Speaking of Cubs trades and rumors, don’t forget to “like” Bleacher Nation on Facebook, lest you miss out on something important and look like a fool in front of your friends. It happens. I’m just trying to help.

  • CubFan Paul

    we cant get this lucky to get rid of Soriano now ..no one wants an Outfielder with a .302 OBP ..i dont think anyone is that desparate

  • RY34

    This year moreso than any other proves the cubs will never be lucky enough to get rid of this useless bumb. I think more wishful thinking on Roger’s and every other cubs fan part.

  • die hard

    give us Swisher

    • Fishin Phil

      Nick or Steve?

  • http://www.bobbyfunzone.com bobbyd

    I think it’s a given that most everyone (on this site at least) will agree that showing Soriano the door is a good idea. Hell, I’d imagine that every armchair GM that follows the Cubs would get rid of Sori for a bag of BP balls and a fungo bat.

    At the same time, we’re back to the reality of his contract. $63M through 2014?!?!

    Jesus wept.

    There really aren’t many options here. Either the Cubs essentially give Sori away and eat a *significant* portion (e.g. all) of his contract, or we give a team Sori *plus* some farm talent (who might that be?) for a little less cash.

    I guess the 3rd option is that Hendry has a secret stash of hookers and blow that he can throw in under the table to sweeten the deal.

    To my uneducated baseball mind the question isn’t what the Cubs will get for Sori but how much will they pay to be rid of him?

  • deej34

    I once said I hope the cubs would do anything to get rid of soriano…. but i thought that about milton bradley and we all saw how well that whole “silva” situation worked out.

    we’ll see what happens but if i had to bet, i’d saw a good number of the under-producing players on this team will still be here post trade deadline. i do appreciate the rumors though brett! it’s the only interesting thing about cubs baseball this season.

  • RoughRiider

    I would love to see Soriano out of the picture but Marshall should be as close to untouchable as any player except Castro.

  • http://www.bobbyfunzone.com bobbyd

    If the starship Enterprise encountered Alfonso Soriano floating through the Infinite Blackness they would wonder why all their money was pulled into an giant hole of suck-ass….

  • CubFan Paul

    paying for Soriano to play for another team is not the answer nor smart considering we’ll be left with Blake DeWitt & his .264/.282/.377/.660 slashline in left field

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Maybe for 2011. But there are other options for 2012.

  • RY34

    it is really scary about how the rumors are going about the cubs getting rid of pena, aram, soriano, demp, garza, big z and everyone else, however the really cold truth that smacks all of us in the face is that the cubs do not have one solid replacement for any of these guys, so if we were to get rid of half of these guys, we can pretty much count on being maybe 28 and 68 at this time next year. the cupboard is so bare for the immediate future that we/you better really love the cubs to put up with just how much they are going to suck over the next 3 to 5 years. It is not out of the realm to think the cubs will rack up 300+ losses over the next 3 years. really, how much of a virtue is patience again? thank you jim hendry for strangling us with your horrible contracts and everything else.

    • http://www.bobbyfunzone.com bobbyd

      IMHO:

      You’re half right. You say the cupboard is bare, I say the cupboard is full of half-realized talent.

      For as long as I have been following the Cubs, it seems their failure has been in the realm of execution: one may call it a failure of “clutch”, one may call it failure of coaching, one may call it a failure of training.

      To me, the whole of the Cubs’ failure has been mental.

      Lack of basics (fundamental baseball strategy and gamesmenship), lack of focus, lack of faith.

      It’s not that the Cubs organization doesn’t know how to evaluate talent, it’s that the Cubs organization doesn’t know how to coach and develop the talent they have.

      Sad.

      I wish I had more constructive ideas.

      • hardtop

        ill give you half full of quarter-realized talent but thats it. bottomline is we’re in trouble.
        i honestly believe if we kept our best players, added a shit ton of pitching (2 top notch starters and 2 skull-crushers in the pen), and replaced the coaching staff and front office with grade school children, we could win the division.

        • CubFan Paul

          agreed Hardtop ..with what the Cubs have returning next year after all the expiring contracts &arbitration raises the club (&hopefully a new font office) will have about $30-35million to “rebuild” ( 1st & 3rd base ..maybe 2nd ..another vetern starting pitcher not named Wells to add to Z, Demp, Garza & Casher ..a solid right handed reliever to replace Samardjiza to go alongside Marshall, marmol, &russell, &hopefully a versatile outfielder to complement Soriano, Byrd, Colvin, & Jackson) Competing next year is not out of the question if you know the facts (payroll obligations) ..all this talk of continuing to lose past this year is ASININE, which is why i still watch every game unlike most people who just have an uneducated opinion on this team

          • dreese

            I watch every game also and sure most of the time I get upset after the game is over but I just love baseball and the cubs.

          • hardtop

            Paul, I know a guy named Paul Swanson who recently changed his name, legally, to Saul Pwanson because there were too many Paul Swansons’ in the area in which he lived. Not suggesting you do follow suit, I’ve just been telling that to everyone I bump into named Paul since finding out.

            We’re almost on the same page, maybe the same magazine, or at least standing at the same “big jugs” magazine rack. After Colvin’s performance this year, despite how poorly he’s been managed and coached, I’m not confident he can hit for average or power at the big league level. We have little choice but to give him another chance, but I’m not seeing it. I hope I’m wrong. Quite frankly, I think we could win with reed the steed, maybe not long term, but in the near future. And yes Brett, I like him because he hustles, and because, even when he’s struggling, he can take a 10 pitch at bat. I’m also not sold on Jackson being anything more than a slightly better than average guy. Not that slightly better than average is bad, but it’s not good enough to turn around a ball club. Again, hope I’m wrong about him too.

            Same with Cashner: I too have high hopes for him, because we already know hope is wasted on the rest of our young pitching staff (save maybe mateo and carpenter) but I was not stoked by his overall performance out of the bullpen last year. Also I question his durability. Although this season may be a fluke, early injuries often become the “writing on the wall” for young pitchers (re: mark prior). He’s a wild card and I think at best he’s a number 4 guy in a rotation. I know this is a wild ass guess as well, but that’s my gut.

            If we could replace marmol at this point, I would be okay with it. I’m not sure he’ll ever be consistent; when his good he’s fun to watch, when he’s bad, well quite simply, he will cost you the game. I don’t know if Marshall is nasty enough to be a closer. the curveball is pretty awesome at times but he really doesn’t have the power pitches. of course demp was our closer for years and he didn’t really have anything nasty. Carpenter obviously has velocity. I loved this kid throwing fire balls at the big boys from the Bronx, but as we all know, not every fireballer is Charlie Sheen (maybe Chris just needs corrective eyewear). Damn it Paul, now this makes me think we need even more help in the pen. Bring in someone to replace woody, grabow, marmol and maybe smardzja (though he’s had his moments in long relief). And not just new shitty guys, not even slightly less shitty guys, good pitchers with a relatively long track record of kicking ass. I really think they should spare no expense on pitching, whether it is from a draft, trade, or free agent standpoint. If I were the cubs, I would try to wrangle away some soon to be (2013-14) free agents (pitchers) via trade and then sign them up, much like Boston did with a-gon, rather than gamble that they will be the high bidder in the years to come.

            oh whatever, opinions are like annoying mother-in-laws, everyone has them…I’m gonna stop rambling.

            • CubFan Paul

              Lol! how is Pwanson pronounced? ..thats funny
              there is no replacing Marmol with his new contract ($7mil in 2012 & $9.8 in 2013) I doubt anyone wants a closer who cant “close” but “walks”, we just have to hope Riggins BS/mumbo jumbo about Marmol’s mechanics is the fixable problem that will make his slider ‘slide’ again ..&i too hope that you’re wrong on some things about Cashner, Colvin & Jackson becasue it would be nice for those 3 to be starters in 2012 (CF, RF, SP) hopefully after some trades (byrd, fook & reed the steed) colvin & jackson will get the call up & play well enough to make offseason decisions easier

              • CubFan Paul

                i’d pronounce it with a silent P ..just for shits&gigles

              • hardtop

                like its spelled, pretty funny world to say out loud. forgot about the marmol contract likely making him an unmovable piece.

                i dont think riggins has it in him to fix carlos. 2 of his pitchers are former all stars, one has an alcs mvp… and yet they are numerically the worst (or second wost) pitching staff in baseball, starters and bullpen. based on the bottom feeder statistics, i would think riggins would be shit canned…only the cubs would keep a coach who is numerically the worst in the game. i dont know who will be here to starighten out marmol’s mojo, but its probably going to wait until spring trainging next year.

                no way! keep riding the steed, for 800k he’s the best deal in baseball! always need a utility outfielder. that way, if colvin bat’s .100 next year we can climb up on our trusty steed and ride him to victory ;) haha

              • Jeff

                Ace/Brett said the contract was a bad idea when he signed it and I disagreed with him. I figured if he was going to break down it would be after a year or two of solid closing, so much for that. Hopefully this is just a case of Marmol losing interest and concentration with the team playing so poorly. Of course, his 7 blown saves is a direct contributing factor to the teams’ record, so it doesn’t look good for the Cubs either way.

  • philoe beddoe

    In today’s MLB it is easier than ever to turn things around a team with Garza, Dempster, Castro, Barney,Soto, Marshall, Carpenter…would be a decent start…Rami, Sori and Big Z must all go…but are they willing to eat most of $ on Z and Sori?

    the Yankees are smart…they don’t want Soriano…

    • EQ

      The Yanks may be geniuses on the Soriano trade.. the Cubs will probably pay a huge portion of his contract, he can just DH over there. His 2 biggest flaws as a Cub will be a non-factor in NY. I’m sure the Yanks are thrilled if they only have to pay him like 7-8 mil a year to DH. He’ll knock out 25 HR’s a year and never make an error.

      On the other hand, we’ll probably get Posada or Colon back in a trade.. which will suck. shoot, Mark Pryor’s in their organization, maybe we can have him and Wood together again to see who can get hurt the most. That sounds like a Hendry move.

  • just another cubs fan

    I really dont see how the cubs are that far away from competing with a division that is the NL central. Hendry said his club is 2-3 moves away, IF they perform. In all reality, they really are. Everyone of our starters has been injured & we have ZERO depth behind them. Doug Davis, Ramon Ortiz, Rodrigo Lopez. Really Hendry? Give me spring training and I can patch together more quality starts. We have the bullpen to compete. Marshall, Marmol, Russell, Carpenter, Samardzija & Wood. Add another right arm from the farm or FA, & our bullpen is content.

    As for our starters, in my opinion, keep demp & Z. If the ricketts family is looking to spend $130m+ , & our farm is weak as it is, we must keep them. Demp, Z, Cashner, & Garza can work, IF Hendry can add another solid veteran starter.

    Castro, Castillo, Barney, Jackson are really the only locks we have for our lineup. As mentioned above we have $30-35 mil to spend.

    Cubs should pursue Sizemore (could play RF), Fielder/ Pujols (1B), Capps for some bullpen help, & possibly CJ Wilson for another starter. I dont know, just throwing around some names.

    • Jeff

      There isn’t much to this year’s free agent class outside of Fielder and Pujols. I think Mark Buehrle is the best starter available. If this rebuilding job was done right, next year would be regarded as another building year and then the major free agent spending should be spent on the 2013 class. David Wright, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Josh Hamilton, BJ Upton, Matt Cain(who I think should be Cubs #1 target, don’t think SF will be able to afford him), John Danks, Jered Weaver, Anibal Sanchez, Zack Grienke, and Shawn Marcum could all be free agents. It’s a much more talented class to complement the young talent with, and the rest of this year and next year could be used to determine which young players are viable building blocks. If the plan is for the team to try and rebound immediately, Hendry will overspend this offseason on less than ideal talent, and we will be in the same position within another couple of years.

      • Mike

        One of the more intelligent posts I’ve seen. 2012 offseason should be the first year the Cubs look to spend money on Free Agents to fill holes. The rest of this year and 2012 should be used to acquire long term pieces to fit with Castro and Barney. The focus should not be on throwing money at Pujols or Fielder but instead targeting Jonathan Singleton or Jesus Montero for 1B as the Cubs unload players leading up to the deadline. Bring up Brett Jackson and Wellington Castillo this year and let them play to see if they can team with Castro and Barney to solidify the middle of the field. 2012 offseason is used to start filling holes. Hamilton, Kemp and Eithier are outfield options depending on how Jackson and Szur are doing. Hopefully the Cubs only need one. Starting pitching is going to be more urgent with the Cubs likely needing 2 of Weaver, Cain, Greinke, and Hamels. If a Cub prospect can’t step up, I’d go with a stop gap at 3B until the free agent status of Wright or Zimmerman comes up.
        Just my two cents.

  • http://bleachernation.com ricosanto

    Put Marmol in the deal, .this would bring 1 or 2 top prospects.I would like to keep marshall.

    • deej34

      I agree…. use marmol with soriano and make marshall the closer… then look to carpenter or cashner to close down the road. i hope i’m wrong at this point, but i doubt cashner is tough enough to be a starter…

  • RY34

    i admire the optimism and respect your opinions, however, i predict no winning season until at least 2014-2015. i definitely hope i am wrong…….. i just don’t see us winning with hendry and quade at the helm and i really think this team will be together until the soriano contract runs out with the exception of a very few names here and there. wood has nothing left so i am not sure i would count on wood for much any longer.

  • EQ

    I don’t really know how to feel about next year… I mean, didn’t we all feel this way after the 2006 season? in 07 & 08 we are in the playoffs after a terrible 06. Truth is we could be a playoff team, we could lose 100 games… who knows.. it’s the Cubs..

    Every year we have a blaring problem.. Someone earlier said it’s about performance.. that’s the truth.. Garza, Demp, Big Z and Marmol are all having down years by their standards. If they rebound next year, it’s already a better year. If we can add a good piece or 2 next year, even more in ’13, we can be good.. but that’s only if they perform which from year to year is a crapshoot.

  • greg

    Soriano + Ramirez + Marmol…maybe we could get something good. Too many NTC though…

  • Joe

    Get rid of Soriano? ………… *mad cackling* Get rid of Soriano!!! * more mad cackling*

  • Pingback: Rumor: Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees Working on “Major Trade … | Yankees News Source()

  • awesome

    does soriano have a NTC?

  • Vince

    Can we find a way to also rid ourselves of Quade and his worthless staff?

  • Cheryl

    Soriano, Ramirez and Marmol plus cash for Swisher and two prospects. Marmol would probably get himself turned around in N.Y. Ramirez may approve a deal to the Yankees (although that much may be questionable) and the two prospects would be pretty high level, at least one being a pitcher. Is this a good deal for both clubs? In the short run its better for the Yankees, but I wonder if it might be an answer for the cubs.

  • RY34

    won’t matter, wrigley field is a place where good players turn to shit and promising players never materialize; castro is the lone exception. i’d be willing to bet that cashner’s career follows the same path as woods and priors; its the cubs way.

    • auggie1955

      I’m really concerned about how the Cubs handle Cashner. I know the Cubs have already said they will use him out of the bullpen if he pitches this year, but what about next year? Will the Cubs use him from the bullpen in 2012 or as a starter? Will the same arm problems arise only for Cubs fans to see more of Doug Davis and Ramon Ortiz? Oh wait, I forgot, we just signed Dave Bush. What a relief! Getting back to Cashner, I’d like to see him out of the pen.

  • Mike S

    Doesn’t make sense to me to trade Soriano to a team and then still be paying him to play for someone else…unless we get another bad contract back (ie Zito). Jackson will be our starting center fielder next year after Fukudome leaves moving Byrd to right, unless we get rid of him as well, so it’s not like Soriano is blocking Jackson.

    As far as competing in the future, the Pirates have proven that you don’t need a bunch of good players to succeed in the NL Central, you just need to play above average consistently…

    I would love nothing more than to see the Cubs go after Fielder/Pujols in the offseason but if we’re to believe that we are in the rebuilding mode then that would definitely hinder us to commit 20-25 million of our 30-35 million to just one player.

    Garza, Demp, Zambrano and Cashner isn’t bad…not good, but not bad. Certainly better than what the Pirates have this year…

    If the Cubs are smart they would keep Baker and use him at 1st (or 3rd if Aram is traded or miraculously doesn’t pick up his player option).

    ***If the Cubs play to their potential they could be pretty good (ie Cleveland/Pittsburgh) but the key word is IF***

    • Hogie

      You are talking about many of the same ifs we had in the begining of this season. Baker would be exposed as an every day player and we don’t know what we will get with Jackson. So you want the same team with a downgrade at first, and hopefully (more than likely) an upgrade in one outfield spot?

      I say get rid of any vets that we can, add a few select peices, give the kids the chance next year and make 2013 a serious push (depending on 2012 results). I would be alright with signing Fielder/Pujols for a reasonable length of time, we have more big contracts coming off the books after 2012, and 2013’s free agent class looks much better than 2012’s.

    • hardtop

      im not sure i agree with much of this but ill start with the pirates pitching. im pretty sure the pirates had 2 starters in the all star game this year? anda a closer? the cubs have no one even close to that… for that matter they opnly have one pitcher whose era is less than 4. yes demp and z have been all stars in the past, and it might be a series of flukes for the pirates, but i dont see any of those 4 cubs pitchers you listed making an all-star bid next year. so to say our pitching next year will be as good as the pirates this year is probably a stretch.
      also, we’ve seen one game from cashner and multiple big run explosions from him out of the bullpen last year. i hope your faith is well placed but we have no way of knowing if he’ll be any better than doug davis, whom, dont forget, 2 hit the yankees this season. i expect he will be better than old dougy stale, but i wouldnt count on making it deep into the playoffs with those 4, if this year is indicative of years to come. and who is number 5?

  • TSB

    Trade Soriano for a late-model used car and an autographed picture of Derek Jeter.A good deal for both teams.

  • EQ

    Funny you said the autographed pic of Jeter, it got me thinking.. and let me start by saying – this won’t happen, but actually a Soriano/Jeter trade would make sense. Again, it won’t happen, but it would make sense for both sides financially too. Then we could trade A-Ram & put Jeter at 3B…

  • bazfan1234

    As much as I would like Soriano traded, at whatever cost the Cubs have to eat (monetary that is) I do not think the Yankees will bite. This was a follow up after the Yankees rumor.

    http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-insider/2011/07/source-soriano-not-in-new-york-state-of-mind/

  • The Magicman

    Everybody can dream so here’s the lineup I’m dreaming of next year.
    C-Soto
    1B-Fielder/Pujols
    2B-Barney
    SS-Castro
    3B-Wright
    OF-B.Upton
    OF-Jackson
    OF-Colvin

  • CubsFanatic

    Id trade Soriano and half his contract for a sack full of basketballs if it got rid of him. And I’m not kidding on that. As for Ramerize and Marmol, I’ll want a A prospect in return for that. And as long as we are dreaming, I dream they will sign Reyes in the off-season and move Castro to 2B. Feilder would be my choice over Pujols at 1B too.

  • willis

    Marmol to the Yankees makes sense actually (if that was needed to get rid of Soriano). Rothschild helped turn Marmol into a dominant reliever and can do it again. He can be their setup and give that bullpen a huge boost.

    And at this point, it isn’t about Soriano blocking anyone. He doesn’t help this team, at all. Paying $8-$10 million to have him not be here is worth it. He had a nice first month but has been terrible since at the plate and is simply God awful in the field. He’s just not an asset anymore. And if you have to pay some to get another team to believe he is, you have to jump on it.

    Saying all that, it won’t happen and no one wants him. Sigh.

  • http://wwwbookdiplomacy.blogspot.com M. Ryan G

    I agree that moving Soriano would be nice, I don’t think its’ happening, not at the price the Yankees would demand…a better shot at the Pirates getting C. Beltran from the Mets. Could always be wrong.

  • George Huntington

    I have been a Cub fan since 1944 and in all those years have seen the Cubs struggle , but never have I seen A mamager and his staff destroy a team the way Quade has!
    If he had any Baseball savy other than Righty VS Lefty strategy and don’t try to get a run in and inning, wait untill you can get a big inning! I saw Leo Durocher score runs with no hits many times using baseball smart tactics! Quade’s pitch calling has the batter’s losing all confidence in their ability to hit! He must go and soon! Let Ryne Sandberg manage the team and give him the power to select good baseball men for his Staff! Greg Maddox, Steve To start with! The Cub fans have been loyal, but don’t make them look foolish for watching a team that will be losing 100 games this year!
    As a cub fan we all need to tell the Hall Of Fame voter’s to name a great third baseman” Ron Santo” into the hall Of Fame!

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