Alfonso Soriano: 50/50 Chance I’m Not Back in Chicago Next Year

The Chicago Cubs have been working hard for almost a year to unload left fielder Alfonso Soriano, 35, whose troubled knees have sapped him of any semblance of ability in the field. While the bat still has life left, it’s very hard to imagine Soriano being the Cubs’ starting left fielder in 2012.

And Soriano agrees.

“It’s like 50-50,” Soriano said of the chances he’s back with the Cubs next year. “I want to stay here. If they put a good team [on the field] with a good chance to win, I’d like to be here. But if they want to change everything, like to young players … it depends on them, not me.”

Soriano’s comments sound very similar to Aramis Ramirez’s about the future of the team: rebuild, and I’m gone. Bring in solid talent, and I’ll stay.

The difference, of course, is that the Cubs might well want Ramirez to return. The same can almost certainly not be said of Soriano.

Also unlike Ramirez, Soriano says if the Cubs want to and can move him, he won’t stand in the way.

“I’ll do whatever they want,” Soriano said, reiterating his stance that he’s willing to waive his no-trade rights. “I’m open. I like it here, but always I’m open.”

But is a trade really realistic, in August or in the offseason?

I’ve maintained for weeks that there simply has to be an American League team out there who would be willing to take Soriano on as a DH if the Cubs eat $14 or $15 million per year of the $18 million per year that Soriano has left on his deal through 2014 (*shudders*). Focused solely on hitting, and saving his legs for at bats (and gingerly trotting around the bases), Soriano’s production might even increase. At $3 or $4 million per year, he could well be a bargain.

The alternatives are unattractive: (1) Soriano starts in LF next year, and continues to deteriorate (and maybe even blocks a young outfielder); (2) Soriano sits the bench and becomes the most expensive pinch hitter in the history of baseball; or (3) Soriano is released, and the Cubs choke down $54 million of heartache.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

74 responses to “Alfonso Soriano: 50/50 Chance I’m Not Back in Chicago Next Year”

  1. TWC

    Sweep the leg!

    Oh, wait, wrong thread…

    1. MichiganGoat

      Heres to hoping today isn’t Karate Kid day like yesterday was beer day. Speaking of everyone should try Final Absolution Belgian Style Trippel (http://www.dragonmead.com/) another quality Michigan Brewery. Support the struggling Michigan economy, DRINK OUR BEER, especially is you drive a foreign car. Can’t wait till we get that forum going so I can post a regular try this Michigan beer recommendation.

      1. TWC

        You kidding? I though yesterday’s beer discussion was very illuminating. For instance, I learned that if I’m ever going over to Ace’s house I need to bring my own beer, but that High Life is universally acceptable in a pinch.

        1. MichiganGoat

          You misunderstood me (which is odd since we are the same person), I loved the beer discussion. I wish we had more beer discussion, but I didn’t want today to turn into Karate Kid and besmirch that quality of yesterday’s magic. Curious what would you bring to Brett’s house I’d bring the Huma-Lupa- licious I talked about yesterday.

          1. TWC

            Lagunitas Hop Stoopid, Mad River’s Double Steelhead IPA (maybe their Double Dread Imperial Red, too), Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA, Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, and maybe a few London Pride’s to mellow the palette. I’d also bring a bottle of Jefferson Reserve Bourbon to start out the evening with. Why, what time should I show up?

            1. MichiganGoat

              We going to have to start a beer exchange I’ve only seen a couple of what you’ve mentioned.I’ll have to ask my beer guy if he can order those. I do enjoy Doghead’s 90 min IPA.

              1. TWC

                I’ve got a coworker from MI that nearly wet himself just now when I asked him about Shorts. I should really try it.

                1. MichiganGoat

                  They really are the best but have a very limited distribution line (mainly because they won’t sell out to the big distributers). I’ve never been disappointed in any of their beer. Too bad I live on the other side of the state but I do have Bells and Founders nearby.

                  1. Caleb

                    I’d bring a funnel and 3 cases of Old Style. Then I’d force him to guzzle beer after beer while watching old Cub games on TV until he finally admitted that Old Style is appropriate for Wrigley Field and Cubbery.

                    “It’s good, isn’t it! Isn’t it! You want more? Yeah? Here’s another one!! Guzzle it! See there? That’s Mark Grace. Yeah. I bet he likes Old Style- wouldn’t you agree? Wouldn’t you?? Shoulda answered faster- here comes another Old Style! Stamp your feet if you love Old Style and the Cubs! STAMP EM!!!”

                    Okay, my mental image is getting a little weird now. I’m just… just gonna sit the next play out.

                    1. MichiganGoat

                      Link to his blog… Getting awfully bossy Brett: give me money, vote for me, go to this blog, drink this kool-aid. Yes fearless leader.

                    2. Internet Random

                      Nice… and the blog.

                    3. Caleb

                      Thanks! And I agree with MG- he’s getting kind of bossy.

            2. Ralph

              TWC, Russian River eh? I used to live and work in Sonoma County. I’m guessing this is the same beer that I remember…

          2. Internet Random

            Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier
            Stiegl Paracelsus Zwickl

            And Rip Van Winkle bourbons are where it’s at… if you can find them.

            1. MichiganGoat

              Okay Brett it’s time to get private messages set up so we can exchange some of these drinks.

      2. Jeff

        I feel like I’m reading a schizophrenic person’s daily journal when I read the conversations between you two. It was a great laugh after taking my last final for the summer semester.
        To Michigan Goat, I think after reading your comments, I can now safely assume that I’m not the only guy I know that goes to the liquor store for two cases of beer and comes back with 6 different kinds of six packs and a couple of four packs. I can’t ever seem to make up my mind which I like the best either.

        1. TWC

          MG’s comment: “You misunderstood me (which is odd since we are the same person)” has been cracking me up all morning.

          1. MichiganGoat

            Glad to help myself

        2. MichiganGoat

          Sadly I can only afford 1-2 typically but the store I frequent has mixed six packs of Michigan brew. I also have 4 growlers that I fill regularly since some of the breweries have stuff on tap they don’t bottle.

          1. Ron

            The only problem (if this is a problem) with the growler is I have to finish it that night or it is not the same. Sometimes I can get another day out of it but it usually is getting pretty flat.

            1. MichiganGoat

              Ah I normally have a growler for about a week, it largely depends on how important the carbonation is too the beer. I’ve found porter or unfiltered beers stay better since an unfiltered beer ferments a little in the growler. I’ve also bought a couple of growler savers (do the same thing as wine savers)… Although there have been plenty of nights when the growler is for one night only.

              1. Ron

                Guess I should try some growlers from another local brew, you know some research (I almost put an elipses in my comment but then I remembered who I was talking to)

                1. MichiganGoat

                  Nice…it’s always fun to research beer… ask your local brewery which ones do best in the growler… Funny that you remembered my grammar and punctuation rant that night

                  1. TWC

                    Oh, that rant was PRICELESS, baby! I printed it out and thumbtacked it to the wall.

                    1. MichiganGoat

                      It does look good on OUR wall

  2. Fishin Phil

    If I see him starting in left field on Opening Day next year, I’m gonna have a stroke.

    1. Internet Random

      You might want to get your affairs in order before April.

      1. hardtop

        You’re killing me IR, I’m glad you’ve been so active lately.
        Really, such an awesome group here, which is why this is the only site i visit regularly. When I come back to BN (about every 20 minutes if work doesn’t get in the way) and I don’t recognize any of the comments in the ‘recent comment’ side bar, I feel a sudden, overpowering terror, similar to when Soriano comes up with a man on 3rd, because I don’t want to miss anything.
        Not to take anything away from you Brett. Your writing, thoughts, and humor are what keep us all coming back. the contributions of many other wonderfully smart and funny folks don’t hurt the cause though.

        1. Internet Random

          You’re too kind. Thanks.

  3. Jeremy

    “I want to stay here. If they put a good team [on the field] with a good chance to win, I’d like to be here.”

    This was my favorite part of his quote. He fails to realize “good team [on the field]” = No Soriano in left field. Or at least its a damn good start.

  4. jt

    I love Fonzie, and I hate watching his drop in speed, and just general athleticism.

    1. Jeff

      I’m glad I’m not the only one. I was pretty excited when he signed. I thought/hoped that he was healthy and would stay healthy, but his speed and athleticism declined a lot faster than his “age” suggested, and it’s been kind of sickening to watch what could have been such an exciting player.

    2. Ol'CharlieBrown

      I always liked him too. It’s sad to see that he’s become just a shell of his former self and at this point he really does need to go. I’ll be pulling for him wherever he goes. He’s ideal for DH at this point in his career. It’s not fair to him or a team to continue to keep putting him out in left field day after day. It’s a shame how talent can just be cut short by age like that. It reminds me of an episode of one of my favorite shows, Taxi. Jim gets a horse that ends up dieing in the episode. He gives a eulogy in the garage that goes something like this: “As he got older something began to happen. He was running just as hard, but all the other horses were passing him by. I dont know how much animals understand, but Gary must’ve wondered what the hell was happening to him. You could see he thought that maybe if he could get out there on a fast track on a warm day, it would all come back to him, because in his heart he was still a 2 year old.” Classic show.

  5. Chuck

    I say the chances of him being a Cub in 2012 are exactly the same as the NL adopting the DH. I’m not sure if that’s even on the table for the next CBA, so let’s assume it is, it’ll still be < 25% chance of being adopted anway.

    So I'd go with < 25% chance. He'd make a decent enough DH, but clearly not at 18 mil a year.

  6. willis

    He’s nothing more than a decent DH at this point and I think even he recognizes that. A .250-.260 hitter who will bomb 25-30 HRs for a few million is a bargain though. Without looking at stats for every team, there have to be a few that would take a run at him for that price. And if he bombs out…so what? They eat a few million.

    The reward would be higher than the risk, so let’s hope someone bites.

  7. Dean

    Soriano will be back with the Cubs next year unless they are willing to release him.

    Every GM sees the exact same things we see. Even as a DH, there is little left in Alphonso Soriano. There’s only one Jim Hendry to take on that contract and since he already has that contract, there’s no market for Soriano.

  8. hardtop

    i thought someone reported his actual birthdate recently (like the last year or 2) Not that I know how they found out, nor actually believe it, but I think they said it was 1976. That would make him 35. Now in the 5th year of his 8 year deal, he’s hitting .240, and we cant imagine him being around next year. He was 30 when he signed. Pujols is 31 this year… just sayin..

    I wonder if Fonzie even knows how old he is at this point.

  9. RoughRiider

    He can’t be that old. If he was he would have the common sense to know that a lighter bat would give him more bat speed and that he shouldn’t swing at every pitch low and outside.

    1. Ralph

      Yes!… thank you… a lighter bat. I get sick of watching him pop out to the second baseman in shallow right field.

  10. WiCubsFan

    50/50 chance. I like those odds!!!!!!

  11. Mike Foster

    Ricketts = business man, he will not walk away from 54 million dollars, Soriano will be back or traded at some kind of savings to the $54 mil option. If back next year best/worst case could be platoon with Campana, and Campana getting a shot at lead-off. Saves the tired legs and builds playing time for a future base stealing star. Now that I’ve said that, watch Hendry trade Campana.

    1. willis

      You’re kidding right? If Campana is starting on this team next year, prepare to be worse than the Astros.

      1. Fishin Phil

        Actually, what we ought to do is have Soriano bat, and Campana run for him right out of the batters box. Campana hits worse than Soriano, and Soriano runs worse than my 70 year old Mom after her two knee replacements.

        1. MichiganGoat

          Anyone know a good mad scientist… Of course their defense will still suck.

      2. MichiganGoat

        Agreed all Campy contributes is speed, which is nice to have, but his defense and bat are very pathetic. He’s real value is a 25th man on a contending team as a pinch runner. I saw send him back to AAA and have him work on bunting and hitting grounders to the right side, but if his defense doesn’t dramatically improve he has no place on a rebuilding team.

        1. Skooter

          Heh…Campy

        2. willis

          Yeah his bat is awful. I can’t remember the last time he got it out of the infield. But his defense is pukey bad. The last thing this team needs is another terrible defensive player.

          1. BT

            I’m pretty sure the 4 home runs he hit in the last 5 games made it out of the infield.

            1. Fishin Phil

              I think willis meant that Campy can’t hit it out of the infield.

            2. willis

              BT-def referring to Quade’s boy toy Campy, not Soriano.

              1. BT

                My bad. I feel much shame.

  12. Fishin Phil

    Well, that and he is scrappy.

  13. Fishin Phil

    True, Grit.

  14. rocky8263

    Everyone is hypercritical of Ricketts but what would you of done? As a business (and it is a business) you need to win to fill the stands, to sell the beer and hot dogs, and I think ownership was hoping for a 500 team this year. Two injuries first week of the season, rainiest april, may, in Chicago history (I know the other team plays in the same weather) you all know the rest of the story but what possible good would firing hendry then or now be? Sit Soriano? At 5 or 6 Million he’s an ok left fielder. It’s been proven Hendry didn’t give Sori the extra 2 years on his deal. I agree he should of kept Gorzelany but if the owner gives you a 20 and wants change what can you do? Go back to the beginning, this could of been a 500 team. I know , you could of been johnny Wadd with a few more inches. I am a season ticket holder and spent 12,000.00 for this mess this year. And believe it or not I will still make a few dollars and only 2 games didn’t sell.(The two rainouts/rescheduled games). I know Tom Ricketts wants to win and will put a winning team on the field. The facts are hendry put together some very good teams that did nothing in the playoffs. Pinella started Zambrano instead of Lilly who was our real stud that year. hendry didn’t make those decisions. All of the experts out there , reading these sites at their jobs at quicky mart should of coached college teams, worked their way to the majors and you could be guiding the Cubs. And as much as I love Ryno, ( I have his last hit ball at Wrigley ) he has no business as the manager of the Cubs. Not yet.

    1. Toosh

      Here’s what I would have done were I Ricketts. After purchasing the team, my first act would have been to fire Hendry and start building the organization from the bottom up. Ricketts has lost valuable time by not doing that then. Or now.

    2. Internet Random

      You make some good points, but:

      (1) I work at Wal-Mart. Quickies are a fire-able offense.

      (2) Ryno is a hall of famer, successful AAA coach, and an all-around swell guy. The only step he could possibly be lacking in being ready to manage is a year or two in a big-league dugout in some coaching capacity. For some reason the Cubs didn’t even want to give him that chance.

  15. Bric

    Ace, I think you’re right on concerning the Sori possibilities. Why Hendry was not able to find a taker for him while eating 15 mil a year means either:
    A. He’s become such a lazy douche he just didn’t do it,
    B. He’s so dilusional he still thinks Sori’s worth more than a couple mil a year as a DH, or C. Ricketts won’t allow him to make any big dollar decisions anymore.

    In any case, I still believe Sori wants to retire so a 4th option could be something like a 30 mil buyout of his contract paid out over the last three years. The Cubs would be rid of him and paying out only about half what is still owed. He doesn’t have to worry about any more injuries, no more ST, no more stress, no more hate filled fans, no more drama. Thoughts?

  16. RY

    at the end of the day nobody wants to pay sorryano anymore, he will still be in cubby blue next year or back in the dominican collecting 10 mil a year over the next 5 years.

  17. awesome

    hope this late run doesn’t fool ricky again. no presure, games mean zero, team relaxed and know they are out of it. this is time for kids to play. but under quade it won’t happen.

    they should tell Soriano, to improve the team, he must go.

    at one time the so called experts would say “add about 5 years” to any Latin players age. so Soriano is really about forty.

  18. Mike

    I wonder if the White Sox would be interested in a Soriano for Adam Dunn swap with the Cubs eating the difference. If the Cubs are basically going to eat the contract to get rid of him maybe they could see if Dunn can bounce back. Dunn has the ability (limited) to play 1B or LF. If the Cubs are in a rebuild mode, they have nothing to lose by taking a chance on Dunn. He won’t be blocking anyone at 1B.

    1. MichiganGoat

      I see that trade as basically trading albatrosses. Hey I have a pile of shit that has diminished skills and can’t play the field want a trade me for your steaming turd with the same problem. We need to shed the aging veterans not trade one for another.

      1. Ron

        I agree, I would rather eat the poo poo sandwich and play wiyh a lower payroll than have a wasted roster spot to complain about

        1. Mike

          I look at it this way. The Cubs currently don’t have a prospect coming up thru 1B that is close. Pena is not the long term answer. Does anyone really think the Cubs are going to go after Pujols or Fielder. The Cubs are likely going to eat $16M a year for the next three years to get rid of Soriano. What do they really have to lose by taking a chance on Dunn? They aren’t contending next year, so plug him in at 1B and see if he can bounce back. The worst case scenario is he sucks and they cut him lose after the 2012 season.

  19. Ron

    Ace, as a reformed lawyer do you think there could be a clause that would make Soriano’s contract void if it were proved that he lied about his age? All we need is the original long form birth certificate right?

    1. Fishin Phil

      I believe the original long form birth ceritificate in the Dominican Republic is scrawled on a palm frond with chicken blood. Good luck finding that.