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It’s going to be a busy day, I think…

When the Chicago Cubs hinted to teams two weeks ago that anyone on the roster could be had for the right price, the sexiest part of the discussion that followed centered on guys like Matt Garza, Sean Marshall, Geovany Soto, and Carlos Marmol, for obvious reasons. They were highly valuable pieces who could help the Cubs in 2012, and the trade of whom would raise a few eyebrows with respect to the Cubs’ plans for being competitive in the near term (mine would not be one of those eyebrows, mind you, but I wouldn’t look down on anyone whose eyebrow flinched a little).

Nobody talked about Alfonso Soriano.

Why? Well, like, because everyone knows he’s available. He’s the chipped table upon which you place the valuable yard sale items. Sure, it doesn’t have a $3 sticker on it like the dust buster, but everyone knows it could be had for the right price – the “right price” being a flatbed upon which it could be hauled away.

I’m, of course, being hyperbolic, but, suffice it to say, the Cubs would gladly move Soriano in the right deal. And, what do you know, there is actual interest.

A Major League source tells Ken Rosenthal that teams (plural!) are “kicking the tires” on Alfonso Soriano. Presumably, those teams are all in the American League, where Soriano could fulfill the three years remaining on his contract as a DH.

Soriano’s contract – three years remaining and $54 million – precludes any kind of straight-up trade, but if the Cubs were willing to eat upwards of $40 million (and GM Jed Hoyer has confirmed he has the authority to dump contracts on that kind of scale if it would help the team), I can’t help but believe they’d find takers. Soriano was down considerably in 2011 – .244/.289/.469 – but he was still a slightly better than average hitter (104 OPS+). And, when he wasn’t battling leg issues, Soriano has been at a 114 OPS+ or better in every season since 2006 (again, excepting his 2009, injury-rattled season).

Consider how those numbers might look if he were focusing solely on hitting? Surely he could be modestly attractive as a cheap DH option for a team looking to devote its resources in other areas.

There are two additional hurdles, however, to dealing Soriano, in addition to the mammoth contract and the declining performance: he turns 36 in January, and he’s got a no-trade clause. The former issue is not one the Cubs can remedy. But, fortunately, Soriano has indicated in recent months that, if the Cubs wanted to trade him, he would waive his no-trade clause. Of course, players frequently say that until an actual deal to, say, the Orioles is on the table. Then, they weigh their options.

Regardless, the fact that teams are remotely interested is good news for the Cubs, who are hoping to open up an outfield spot for top prospect Brett Jackson and a potential trade/free agent acquisition to improve the overall defense in the outfield (a David DeJesus type, for example). As long as the Cubs’ sights aren’t set too high – settle for some salary relief and a fringy prospect and call it a day – it’s possible something could get done.

  • Sam

    I think the cubs could package Soto, Marmol, and Soriano and get a pretty decent return. Teams in the AL like the Os (who have a TON of young high-upside pitching prospects) and the As would be good trade options.

  • EQ76

    woohoo!

  • kansas cubs fan

    I read the Cubs would be expected to pay 70% to 80% of his contract
    Thats a big chunk.

    • hansman1982

      Thats been the % amount since the trading deadline.  At $4M a year he wouldnt be a bad DH – .250/.300/.475 with 20-25HR and no fielding to wear him down…not bad at all.

      Take that $12M and suddenly Jackson’s Arb years are mostly paid for which would give you a league minimum OF for 6 years who should be able to at least put up Soriano style numbers.

    • Stinky Pete

      And yet I’m okay with it.

  • Lou Piniella

    Only 70 to 80 percent….Done.

  • Brian

    The one time it would be good to trade him within the NL simply cause he has the bat but not the D.

  • DRock

    Brett, you must have had your Wheaties today, bc you are cranking out the great reporting left and right. Kudos on your articles the last couple days! I loved the Fielder article yesterday, BTW. Keep up the good work!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, DRock. I do what I can.

  • MightyBear

    If they could unload him, that would be great. Too much of a hindrance defensively and swings through the ball too much. I swear anyone on this site could strike him out if he had two strikes on him. Just bounce a 55 foot low and away pitch and he’s gone. I believe this is what Theo was alluding too when he said culture change. Get guys who play good defense and put the bat on the ball. It starts with Soriano.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Sorry for my absence from the comments this morning – I’m sure I missed some directed at me. Had to take the little girl to the doctor. Otherwise, I’ve been head down writing. Tons to cover today.

    • BD

      Check up, or is she under the weather? Hope she is doing alright.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Thanks. She’s one of those kids who can’t seem to shake an ear infection, so she’ll have to get tubes. So, not major, but, first time parent who hears “anesthesia” is automatically warier than he probably ought be.

        • Katie

          I had ‘em twice and my son got them. After his surgery , we came home and the fridge motor kicked on and he said, “What’s that noise?”. He had never heard it before. He’s been a different kid since having them out.

    • Hawkeye

      I remember when my son was only a few months old and would get a cold.  I always felt terrible because they would have such a high temp and feel warm all the time.   I co-worker told me not to worry to much.   He told me that, “Kids were like Japanese Cars…their small motors run hot sometimes, but they are durable and will bounce back.”  I have to continue to remind myself of that as we now have a two month old and are gearing up for another cold and flu season. 

      BTW, it’s good to be back.  Family travels pulled me away from commenting over the holiday week, but believe you me that I checked the site several times a day and poured over every article.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Thanks, Hawkeye.

    • hansman1982

      The best part about children – they are ALWAYS sick – hopefully nothing serious on your end but my son has had one thing or another wrong with him since he started daycare (aka the World’s Petri Dish)

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Yup, daycare was the start of the incubation, I guess. She’ll be fine – but she gives it to me every time. Ha.

        • hansman1982

          my son had ear infections for 6 months before he got tubes – it got to the point where he couldnt hear…as soon as he got them he was an entirely different kid and he hasnt had an ear infection in a year.

          My advice…get a consult to an ENT ASAP – he was about the same age when we finally got the consult and he had the tubes put in on his 1st birthday.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Today was the second ENT visit, thankfully.

    • Smitty

      Love the comment/joke about getting traded to the Orioles. Darn you D-Lee for not going and trying to get a title with another team.

      • Katie

        I totally agree. I have always loved D Lee and wish him well!

  • MightyBear

    Hope she’s alright. How old is she? It’s tougher when they’re real young and not much better when they’re older. Hope she gets better soon.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, MB. Not quite 10 months – it’s just a repeat ear infection thing. You’d never know by seeing her – always grinning ear to ear.

      • JB88

        Sounds exactly like my kids. My daughter had an ear infection she couldn’t shake for close to two months. She had tubes put in just before her 2nd birthday. Like others have said, completely different kid after the tubes.

        Our 8 month old is going to have the same procedure — same thing as his sis; i.e., multiple ear infections over a long stretch that he can’t shake. He had a hearing test at his appointment and couldn’t hear particular tones at all. The worst part about the tubes for a kid that age is that s/he can’t eat/nurse for like 12 hours before the surgery so it will be tough on our son and my wife. Thankfully the surgery is scheduled for 7 a.m.

        Your daughter will be fine and she’ll be much better after the surgery.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Thanks, JB. Glad to hear it’s been good for yours, too.

  • BD

    Just trying to be creative, so I’ll throw this idea out there (expecting to get trounced):

    CHC get: David Wright
    SEA get: Alfonso Soriano, $44M (CHC)
    NYM get: Chone Figgins, $4M (SEA), 2 prospects (SEA and/or CHC)

    SEA gets some salary relief and a boost to their offense;
    NYM get some salary relief and some youngsters;
    CHC get a 3B signed short-term, who can rebound for a trade/extension, or they can move on (giving youngsters an extra year or two to develop)

    • T C

      gonna be honest, this sounds like a deal that everybody loses. The Cubs get a formerly great, declining, injury-prone 3Bman who is making a TON of money in the next few years, and is basically a free agent after next year, and we have to give up a prospect, probably. Seattle gets an objectively bad DH who, while providing some power, gets on base at about .310 next year (optimistically). And the Mets lose a second face of their franchise of the offseason, gain nothing  from figgins, and get two mediocre-to-above average prospects. It just seems like the negatives far outweigh the positives.

      This doesnt mean I think any trade involving Soriano wont look ugly on paper. It Will. its just that the ugliness is going to be less pronounced than this. Not a bad idea overall, though, your trade is definitely of the type that Theo/Jed are exploring, I imagine

      • BD

        Wright has had declining years, but he is only 28, and needs to get out of Citi Field. And he has one year, plus a team option year (with only a $1M buyout). That gives Vitters and Lake another year to get ready. His “declined” stats are still better than Soriano, and he can at least play some defense.

        Since the Mets were already reubilding and are now likely losing Reyes, they are still in rebuild mode. Why not save some money and get some prospects? Figgins is just to balance out the salaries a little more, so they can use him at 3B or UT.

        The Mariners would save some money, and get a DH. Focused on hitting, he should be at least above average (which wouldn’t solve their offensive issues, but no one player would).

    • oswego chris

      Brett…I love the “chipped table” and “flatbed to haul it away” analogy….perfect….

      all of this talk about Soriano going to the Orioles…MacPhail isn’t there anymore…..

      I guess I am just being cynical, and I hope those of you saying he can be moved are correct…I just don’t see a team that wouldn’t have a better DH option than this guy…

      he’s a toxic asset…an underwater mortgage

      we need a bailout from Bud for him!

      • hansman1982

        I dont think he is a toxic asset…

        The underwater mortgage is a great analogy – we have a nice little house here that does its job well unfortunately we owe $54M on a house that is worth about $10M.  Best case scenario we short sale the house for that $10M and pay the remaining $44M over the remainder of the mortgage and wont really get anything else out of it than the $10M in relief.  Now, if we have to stay in the house and pay that $10M ourselves, then so be it, while it may have pastel green metal kitchen cabinets and 2 prong outlets; it doesn’t leak, its not going to fall over and there isnt any mold in there. 

         

      • Edwin

        Chris,

        Have some hope! A quick look at 2011 DH numbers shows that the average wOBA for Full Time DH players was about .350 (so about Billy Butler, Josh Willingham). Soriano’s projected 2012 wOBA is .331. Soriano was better than 4 DH’s last season(out of 11 full time), and depending on how well you think the move to a DH helps/hurts his offensive numbers, Soriano could end up being a slightly below average DH. While this isn’t great, it does mean that there are at least 3-4 teams that could be improved by having Soriano in their lineup. It all depends on how teams choose to fill their DH spot. If the Cubs eat enough salary so that a team gets some type of surplus value out of Soriano, that team might choose to deal for Soriano.

        The main thing to remember is that the Soriano deal is a purely salary dump deal. Even if the Cubs pay all of his salary, they would be lucky to get a C- prospect in return.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      If the prospects going to the Mets aren’t significant at all, I think Seattle and Chicago would be falling all over themselves do that deal.

      But if the prospects aren’t significant, I can’t see the Mets going for it. Unless they really believe that Figgins has something left in tank, there just isn’t enough in the deal for them. They’d be better off hanging on to Wright, hoping he has a great first half, and auctioning him off at the trade deadline.

      • BD

        That’s why I didn’t name any prospects, I have no clue what level it would take. Just that it would require prospects.

  • Hawkeyegrad

    I would love to see the Cubs move Soriano to make room for young players. There is some chatter that the Blue Jays may be willing to part with Rasmus for Soria. I wonder if they do that deal for Marmol instead? Rasmus in left and Jackson in CF is the makings of a potential good young OF. Obviously high risk/reward type of play because you don’t know if these guys will pan out in the long run.

    I’m one of those guys that thinks getting Pujols or Fielder makes no sense at this stage of the game. I’m a big fan of Stewart as a reclamation project at 3rd (we don’t have much to lose and he does crush minor league pitching plus he is only 26). Trade Garza for Moreland (1B) and a bunch of prospects. Trade Soto for prospects to make room for Wellington Castillo.

    Big FA signings of Darvish, Cespedes, and another pitcher (pending Zambrano resolution). Keep Byrd for some veteran leadership. The team becomes young with potential and the farm system will be stockpiled with new prospects without completely breaking the bank. We spend a year or two to see who pans out on the major league roster and in the farm system. Replace parts that are not working or need an upgrade with FA’s or trades in year 2 or 3 once we know where the needs are. I know the team would likely not be very good in 2012 but we would end up with some young parts to add to Castro. I also know I have a vivid imagination here.

  • Chris84

    I’d be OK with even the every popular “Player to Be Named Later.”

  • Jason”Thundermug”

    Where are these posts ?

    My Plumber’s cousin’s friend’s coworkers nephew probation officer’s brother works at Wrigley Field and tells him that he heard from an opening in the wall that something big is going to happen at the Winter Meetings and it will be something Huge

  • John

    I know i’m in the minority, but I fail to see the benefit of paying a player $40 million to play for someone else, and bringing in a slightly better defensive player and paying him to play for you. Unless we can pull a Blue Jays and find some sucker willing to pay all or most of his salary – won’t happen– then there is not really any scenario were the Cubs get better by moving him. You may get a slight upgrade defensively, but thats about it.

    • hansman1982

      The key, in your scenario, is the $14M you arent paying him.  If you can use that $14M to help pay for someone who will bring more wins (combined with Soriano’s replacement) than Soriano then it is in your best interest to move him.

      There is also the idea that if you turn Soriano into a bench player it may make potential free agents more expensive to sign.  At the end of the day these guys want to play and at the point Soriano is in his career (age wise, not production wise) they want to play even more because they see their careers coming to an end.  I am sure Soriano thinks that if one or two things go right he could have one final career year.  Now if this were his free agent year he could use that to cash in on one final contract.  If that player fears he would get benched then he wouldn’t have that opportunity and would rather sign with a team that would give him that opportunity.

      I am hoping that paragraph makes sense.

  • Caleb

    Dude:
    ” He’s the chipped table upon which you place the valuable yard sale items. Sure, it doesn’t have a $3 sticker on it like the dust buster, but everyone knows it could be had for the right price – the “right price” being a flatbed upon which it could be hauled away.”

    Some of your best stuff ever. Nice work!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Caleb.

  • Mike C

    take a look at this, contradicts bretts earlier report on pujols/fielder not saying its right I’m actually hoping its not haha but it’s here

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-rogers-pujols-fielder-dont-fit-in-cubs-plans-20111129,0,7986662.story

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      For every Rogers saying that, there’s another source saying the Cubs are pursuing them. The latest comes from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick:

      http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/7294424/source-chicago-cubs-call-albert-pujols-reps-express-interest?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

      Thing is, it might all be bogus. The Cubs have been super tight-lipped all Winter, and now suddenly multiple reports break that the Cubs are pursuing Albert Pujols? Seems like a controlled leak to me – be it from the Cubs or an agent.

      • hansman1982

        I think you are on to something there.  This regime may very well be a bunch of magicians and we may need to look away from the flash of the hand to see what is going on.

  • R.I.P. SANTO

    Beautiful write up Brett the Analogies were spot on…that being said I think a salary swap trade with the Angels could work ie; Bradley for Silva but this time Soriano for Wells His Defense and offense would be an upgrade and The Angels need a DH

    OK nevermind I just read your related post on this subject and Agree with it

  • die hard

    Soriano needs an indoor park. Would hit well inside for at least 80 games not counting road games.

  • njriv

    So the rumors are they are going after Ian Stewart and David Dejesus. I kinda get Stewart, but Isn’t Dejesus already going to be 32 when the season starts? I get they like his approach but he doesn’t have that much left.

    • Hawkeyegrad

      Yeah…I don’t get the Dejesus talk either. If you can get someone like Dejesus on a one year contract in an effort reprove his worth (ala Pena) then it may make sense. You have a chip to float around at the deadline and there may be a chance that he will be classified as a type B free agent again after the 2012 season (I would have to take a look at the likelyhood of that happening). If that happens you have paid for a decent stop gap and bought an additional early draft pick. That sounds very Theo like to me.

      You have to believe there is a ton of misinformation floating around though so it is hard to know what is real. I’m having a hard time believing the Cubs are really interested in Pujols and Fielder.

  • Dougy D

    I would love to be rid of Soriano even if we have to pay 3/4 of his salary. If we can get anything it would be great. I would love to see him, Zambrano, and Ramirez gone. After all, doesn’t that sound like a cultural change in the clubhouse? The team could operate more like a Marlin or Twin type of organization (salary excluded of course). It can be led by young talent and add an experienced vet to a 2-3 year deal hear and there until the right big name FA comes along (maybe Votto in a couple of years?). This would give the team a lot more flexibility. I think that it would definitely be worth the costs (paying portions of bad contracts over the next couple years to a removed Z and Sori) needed to make it happen.

    Now just think, if all of us super geniuses could combine to form one super GM, the Cubs would be set!

    • Lou Cub

      Soriano needs to go..For all the hype about what a great teammate he is and a team leader he dogs it flat out dogs it!! He looks clueless at the plate swinging at half the crap he does and his outfield play blows..Plus he’s got that lack of hustle when hitting a ball that just drives us all nuts…There is no sense of urgency with this guy and it sucks!!

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