You can largely knock Alfonso Soriano’s no-trade clause off the list of reasons he won’t be traded before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline this year.

So, now we’re just left with declining production, advancing age, terrible defense, and an unconscionable contract.

“I’m not worried, because I don’t have control of the situation,” Soriano said yesterday when asked about a possible trade. “I don’t want to try to not get traded if [the Cubs] want to trade me.”

Soriano did caution that he likes Chicago and wouldn’t mind staying, but it sounds like he’d move on if the Cubs were able to find a taker.

But, of course, there’s the rub. Soriano is owed about $7 million for the rest of this season, and then another $18 million in 2012. And $18 million in 2013. And $18 million in 2014. To trade Soriano, the Cubs would have to make those numbers look a whole lot more palatable – by eating half or more.

Soriano hasn’t made it easy on the Cubs if they are indeed trying to deal him. His numbers have been on a steady retreat since early June, languishing now in the .255/.300/.455 range, and he hasn’t hit a homer in over a month.

More likely than a trade, the Cubs will face a tough decision in the offseason about Soriano – whether to let him enter 2012 as the starting left fielder, or whether it’s time to bite the bullet and move on. That could mean a release, or the most expensive bench job in baseball history.



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