Earlier this week, Alfonso Soriano indicated that he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause if the Chicago Cubs wanted to trade him. It removed one potential hurdle to sending Soriano away, but, relative to his ample contract, it was a small hurdle.
Now a much bigger hurdle has been knocked down.
A source has told ESPNChicago that the Cubs would be willing to absorb a “high percentage” of the $60+ million remaining on Soriano’s deal over the next three and a half years. Depending on how high that percentage is – it would have to be at least half – the Cubs might actually be able to deal Soriano to an AL team, where he could serve as a moderately acceptable DH.
Soriano hasn’t exactly helped the Cubs – he’s been mired in a month-long slump – but he does still have life in his bat. For all of our complaints about Soriano as the team’s starting left fielder, he is regularly above average with the bat (outside of his injury-plagued 2009 season, Soriano’s OPS+ has been 122, 119, and 112 with the Cubs). This year, even with his current deep slump, he’s got a 98 OPS+, which means he’s been just about average.
Moving Soriano would open up an outfield spot not only for a prospect like Brett Jackson, but it would afford the Cubs the opportunity to pursue a big-time bat for a corner outfield position – either in free agency or trade – something they haven’t been able to do since before the 2008 season.