Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano has been with the Cubs for what seems like ages. In truth, he came just four and a half years ago, but the painful and persistent erosion of his skills has made time move as slowly as Soriano trotting toward a ball skipping to the ivy.

Imagine how it will feel in 2014.

Fortunately, says Dave Kaplan, we won’t have to worry about that. He’s heard that, even if the Cubs don’t pull off a miracle and find a taker for Soriano this week (or in August), he’ll not be back with the Cubs in 2012.

The report today also talked about the Cubs new found willingness to eat significant money to facilitate a trade but several baseball executives I spoke with told me that has been the Cubs position for quite a while. In addition, sources that I spoke with indicated to me that the chances of Soriano returning to the Cubs in 2012 are very slim because of his declining skills. The same source told me that the Ricketts family has been very active in compiling information behind the scenes and are far more aware of what needs to be done than people realize.

If that’s true, best not tell anyone else, lest the Cubs be forced to eat all of his remaining salary to release him, rather than at least save a couple million bucks each year by dealing him to an AL team for whom he can DH. For all of our gripes about Soriano – and they are both ample and legitimate – he can still hit well enough to play in the bigs. And if he didn’t have to play in the field every day, accelerating the decline in the health of his legs, he might hit even better.

Surely there’s an AL team out there who would take Soriano for a few million bucks per year. And that’s correlative to the amount Kaplan says he’s heard the Cubs will eat, by the way – as much as $15 million per season of the $18 million per season Soriano is owed over the next three season.

How the Ricketts family will consider Soriano’s salary into the budget, however, remains to be seen. Imagine that the team is given a payroll budget of $130 million in 2012. The Cubs have successfully dumped Soriano, but have agreed to pay $15 million of his salary for 2012. Does that mean the budget drops to $115 million? Or, will the Ricketts consider Soriano’s salary off the books – a one-time charge in the parlance of Ricketts’ other life – and leave a full $130 million available to be spent anew?

Teams vary in their approach, but, until we know which way the Ricketts will swing, it’s probably unwise to get excited at the prospect of “being rid of Soriano’s salary.” Besides – being excited about the prospect of having someone new patrolling left field, someone with upside, perhaps, should excite you enough.

  • Joe Cartwright

    Yay, something to look forward to.

  • Butcher

    As much as I’d like to see Soriano gone, it’s just one more hole to fill (that’s what she said). 2012 is already looking like another “rebuilding” year.

    • Brett

      That’s definitely a consideration; then again, depending on your view of the value of defense, the hole already exists.

    • David

      2012 was always going to be another rebuilding year. We need to do it right this time. Build from the ground up. Don’t half ass it like we did in 2007. Then were right back rebuilding in 2015 again.

  • hardtop

    is it just me or has his defense gotten a little better these last few weeks? just an observation, I’m certainly not making an argument for keeping him around.. he’s still not as good as the guy who played left for my high school team. Although for only 3 million in salary relief, I don’t really care if he stays or goes. Unless they get something useful in return in a trade, 3 mil in salary relief doesn’t help you much. i cant see why the yankees wouldn’t snatch him up right now at that price. Especially because georgie posole isn’t doing much in the DH role. 3 mil to the yankees is like the price of a bag of pretzel and nacho cheese combos to the rest of us.

  • CubsFanatic

    Whatever they were doing in 2003 is what they need to do now. And whoever made that team what it was should be brought back. That was the best season to watch until the just defined fail in those last four games…

    • philoe beddoe

      umm….the 2003 team was put together by Hendry….

    • Butcher

      In 2003, we mostly just rode the young arms of Prior and Wood into the playoffs.

      • Brett

        Rode them a bit too hard probably.

  • RY34

    THANK GOD! At least one prayer will be answered from this miserable pathetic season!

  • awesome

    when he’s gone i’ll believe it.

  • awesome

    sorry, i consider Kap as reliable as P. Rogers.

  • Vince

    With sori gone, move byrd to left , put campana in center and give him a shot at leading off. With 18 games under 500, what have you got to loose? Bring colvin back from iowa and let him play right, in light of a possible fuko. trade. Lets see some speed and hustle for a change. campana and castro batting 1 and 2 would be fun to watch.

    • willis

      Have you lost your mind? Ever seen Campana A. play defense or B. hit? He sucks at both. Dude shouldn’t even be on a major league roster.

      If Soriano is moved/waived, it’s Brett Jackson or Byrd in CF with the other in Left. Campana has no place in the future of this team.

  • Blinda

    I need to be gm. What they need to do is send soriano back to the yanks in a package with Marshall and bring in a plethora of prospects. The Yankees would give so much for Marshall right now and they have shown interest in bringing back soriano