From the Message Board: Alfonso Soriano’s Trade Value, Team by Team

[The following post comes from BN user Oswego Chris, who is frequently supplying the BN Message Board with humor and insight. His latest effort takes a look at whether we might be overestimating Alfonso Soriano's plainly thin trade market. Given yesterday's David DeJesus signing, the subject of how the Cubs might trade Soriano takes on increasing relevance, and I thought Chris's post was worth a bump to the front page. Enjoy.]

Simple economics tells us that for us to trade Alfonso, there must be demand. Alfonso is the supply. Last year, at the age of 35, Alfonso supplied 26 HR’s and 88 RBI’s. That is pretty much where the good news ends. He also supplied a .244 avg, 2 stolen bases, a meager 27 walks, and 113 strikeouts. He did have a .759 OPS (not horrible), but the .289 OBP that was a part of that was pretty bad. His fielding percentage was .965, which was well below the league average for LF, .986. Range is very debatable with all sorts of new sabre-stats; but what is not debatable is his extreme fear of the left field wall.

Let’s now analyze the demand side. I am going to look at each team and gauge their interest based on a number of factors, on a scale from zero to five. Zero means no interest. Five means very high interest (of which I can forecast right now, there will be none). So, team by team, here we go:

THE ENTIRE NATIONAL LEAGUE – Interest level = 0. You could have argued for the Giants in a Zito for Sori swap, but after trading Jonathan Sanchez, no. These teams have seen him for the last 5 years in LF. OK, so realistically we have just eliminated 15 of the 30 teams, so now let’s turn to the AL….where someone must be able to use him as a DH…right?….right?….please?

BALTIMORE ORIOLES = 2. Ahhh, Jim Hendry’s old dumping grounds. Last year’s DH Vlad is a FA, but their OF is crowded and they have Chris Davis and other possibilities.

BOSTON RED SOX = 1. Highly, highly doubtful, but fill in your own Theo Compensation gag.

CHICAGO WHITE SOX = 1. Plagued with own bad contracts, might consider him for Adam Dunn.

CLEVELAND INDIANS = 0. Travis Hafner signed for 2 more years at DH.

DETROIT TIGERS = 0. Plenty of outfielders who can actually field, and Victor Martinez at DH.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS = 0. Just what a young rebuildinig team needs! No way….Butler and Hosmer have position filled.

LA ANGELS = 3. He would be an upgrade over Bobby Abreau, but lots of big money on books. Still, they need O-fence.

MINNESOTA TWINS = 0. Considering they get rid of guys (i.e. Delmon Young) for not playing the “Twins Way” (taking pitches, hitting behind runners, etc), I am sure they would love him.

NEW YORK YANKEES = 0. They didn’t want him when he was supposed to be good. Seriously though, too much offense already, no need.

OAKLAND A’S = 0. Did you read or see Moneyball? [Ed. - Eh, I could see the A's taking Soriano if they were paying just a couple million bucks. They're into exploiting inefficiencies, and perhaps near washed up vets who are rotting on the vine of a bloated contract are the next inefficiency.]

SEATTLE MARINERS = 3. Wow, I am learning from my own research. This an extremely offensively challenged team. If they don’t land Prince, they may be desperate.

TAMPA BAY RAYS = 1. Trying to resign Johnny Damon, highly doubt they would think about Sori.

TEXAS RANGERS = 0. They have offense coming out of their ears! Too many offensive guys to mention.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS = 1. Lind at 1B, Encarcion had a nice year at DH last year….don’t see it.

So, it’s actually better than I thought. 2 or 3 teams that might actually have interest! Feel free to berate me for my cynicism, but I think this is fairly accurate. Angels, Mariners, or Orioles … that’s about it.

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

78 responses to “From the Message Board: Alfonso Soriano’s Trade Value, Team by Team”

  1. john

    You forgot Houston. Soon to be AL team. They have a spacious field and soft fences.
    I’d say a 4 or even 5

    1. Wrigley11

      Houston won’t be an AL team for another year, so no chance they would put Sori in the same outfield as Carlos Lee until then. Speaking of Carlos Lee, I think after what the Astros have gone through the past 5 years with him, I’m betting they won’t want anything to do with an old, one demensional player for quite a while… Even with the move to the AL.

      1 or 2 tops

    2. Amoo22

      No one is a 5 on soriano man… Come on

  2. Bails17

    I am pretty sure Carlos Lee will be heading to the DH role for Houston….for at least the 2012 season John.  So that would make Houston a 2 or a 3.

    Brainfart!  Let me EDIT this.  NO ONE….and I mean NO ONE…would want to have Sorryano and El Cabayo in the same OF!!  NOT Happening!!!!

    1. jtfromthed

      So the astros will be the only team in the national league using a full time DH?

      I don’t think the team is moving until the 2013 season :)

      But El Cabayo could DH during interleague

  3. njriv

    I don’t know, kinda sketchy. I don’t really see any of those 2-3 teams showing interest. Maybe the Angles ever so slightly, they seem too smart to go after Sori. Another thing is IF Soriano goes to Seattle it looks like we are going to get Figgins back, and I don’t know if we want that.

    1. Lou

      Seriously Figgins for 85-90% of a bought contract for Soriano. Soriano has more value than that. Besides, I’ve already said Figgins for Zambrano and Brett shot me down :)

      1. bacboris

        That’s because of a couple of factors.

        1, Figgins after a month may make people pine for Soriano’s occassional hit. Darwin Barney looks like an all-star compared to this guy.

        2. By making such a swap now, the cubs would only be helping to push the Mariners to make a big offer for Fielder. Depending on your position on that, its probably not a good idea.

        1. Lou

          And that play for Fielder is bad exactly how? Hey, if the M’s want to sign him for 8-9 years. Fine. Will just trade them Garza for Smoak, Ackley, and one of their solid pitching prospects. And we get rid of Soriano…..doesn’t sound all that bad to me…

  4. john

    and who plays 1st? Don’t be stuck on DH only They could use him in the outfield.

    1. Bails17

      No one wants him in the OF.

  5. Bails17

    SHIT!  LOL…well that would make the Astros a big fat ZERO on the Sorryiano scale then!!  I will try and pull my head directly out of my ass on that one!

  6. Mike

    I think there’s one major piece this analysis gets wrong – a couple of times you mention the “big money”, but there’s zero chance that the Cubs will be able to trade Soriano to ANYONE without eating significant money.

    So for the purposes of what teams might be interested in him, you almost have to assume that they’re only paying a couple million for him, if that. If money was truly a factor, the analysis would be “All other 29 teams – 0 interest. The end.”

    1. oswego chris

      when I used the phrase “big money” I was not insinuating that a team could not take on his contract…no one will do that…it was more “big money” already allocated to offense…specifically OF, 1B and other DH types….

  7. john

    I say Houston is where Soriano lands.

  8. Papi

    I would think Baltimore’s desire # would be higher as well as the Angles, both have the need and pieces to trade.  I also think Seattle learned their lesson with Milton Bradley though they got a decent year of output out of him (between 2 seasons)

  9. Bails17

    John…no disrespect meant here…but did you meet Alfonso and become friends with him or something?  Because I can’t understand the crazy thinking you have on this subject!!  Please help me understand why you think the following:

    1.  He is worth 10 mil a year.

    2.  Teams would actually consider trading for him and putting him in the OF.

    3.  He should bat 3rd in front of Fielder.

    4.  That a platoon of Soriano/Colvin will produce 40 HRs / 100+ RBI in 2012.

    Am I missing anything here?  This is the CRAZIEST shit I have ever heard!!!

    1. john

      #1 Yes he is worth 10 mil especially as a DH
      The average salary for DH was 7.5 mil in 2011
      #2 Houston has a short wall in Left.315 vs 355 wrigley A perfect fit
      #3 He would thrive hitting in front of Fielder
      #4 In the instances where you would Platoon 70 Soriano/ 30 Colvin
      it is not out of the realm of possibility. Especially in the 3 hole for Soriano and the 5 or 6 hole for Colvin. Crazy? maybe but it might be crazy enough to work

      1. oswego chris

        john..although I strongly disagree with your assessment of his value at 10 million as a DH….I do agree that if you matched him and Colvin up in left(not a strict platoon)…but let Sori play against lefties and certain righties..you could get value…however there is still the matter of his …ahem…defense…

      2. Jeff

        Soriano hit in front of Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez back when they were both good, and he still stunk it up.  No way is he worth 10 million, and no way does a platoon of him and Tyler Colvin put up 40 homeruns a year.   Soriano hit 26 in 136 games, which means you either expect Colvin to hit 15-20 homeruns in around 25 games, or you expect that Soriano would hit more homeruns with less playing time.  Either way, you are right, it’s crazy.  Soriano isn’t going to go into a time machine and become a great player again just from moving to DH.  He has real issues at the plate that don’t have anything to do with his fielding ability.  I think it’s too late to teach him to lay off the low and away breaking ball that he swings and misses at almost every time he sees it.

      3. john

        His enthusiasm of being a member of the New Cubs may be enough to get him to work on his defense. It is almost like a change of scenery with the turnover of management. Would you rather of had Dunn? or another bust. You know what you have with him. Just put him in a position to succeed. Late inning defense provided by Colvin.

        1. CubFan Paul

          now this statement makes sense John. i fully agree ..new management, & put him in a position to succeed (but i dunno about Colvin as his backup/platoon ..he seems to be AAA bound)

          1. john

            Could be a Bret Jackson fit istead of Colvin. Wouldn’t have to rush Jackson.

        2. Jeff

          This really seems like the formula that was used this past season.  He got regular rest, Colvin or someone else replaced him in the late innings.  He definitely had a better year last year, but his average and defense were still awful, and it’s not like he didn’t try hard for the “Old Cubs”, I read many times that he was one of the hardest working guys on the team.  The sad truth is, he’s probably older than what he says he is, and his age is catching up to him.  I think this season is the ceiling of Soriano’s ability going forward.

          1. art

            in the batting cage.

  10. Lou

    I think it’s Seattle if he’ll wave his no-trade clause. And why wouldn’t he to be a full time DH? My hope is we get Fielder so they don’t. And I think, compared to Seattle getting Fielder, the Cubs have a good shot. I’ll say we eat 85-90% of the contract and get pitcher Blake Beavan in return. Make me proud, Theo.

    1. Luke

      I’d love to see that deal.

  11. john

    Minute maid park is 315 left field vs 355 at Wrigley

  12. DRock

    Looks like it’s one more year with the Fons…We can only hope Sveum can get an uptick in his BA and OBP next year…

  13. DRock

    As for his defense…we install a 2 foot thick, temperpedic, padded wall to resemble brick behind the ivy in left and all along the brick side wall on the left field foul line. If we can’t trade him, we must cater to him to get the most production out of him and his 136 mil contract.

  14. amoo22

    Id love to see soriano of 2001-2006 on this cubs roster! lets hope for a miracle baby!!!!

  15. andrewmoore4isu

    my name seems to change whenever i post… i am andrew moore andrewmoore4isu and amoo22… incognito i guess

  16. john

    HOUSTON we have a Soriano

  17. john

    Maybe just maybe if you swap 1 year of Carlos Lee for 3 years of Soriano
    and throw in 15-20 mil Houston would bite.

  18. Jonathan

    I think it somewhat boils down to how much money the Cubs take on. I could see the Red Sox having some level of interest if Ortiz signs elsewhere.

  19. MoneyBoy

    While it’s a very well researched and written article, I disagree about Oakland …. Matsui ($4.25mm), their primary DH in 2010 is 37 and a FA.   Oakland has also stated they will not re-sign Willingham ($10mm – 2010)

    If the price is right I do see Oakland as a fit for Sori.

    1. Jeff

      Oakland has actually been one of the teams rumored to be interested, and I agree, it looks like a good fit if the Cubs can work out the right deal.

    2. John

      I completely agree. Was their interest really based on a movie?! Coco Crisp–a player the A’s a re looking to retain– had a .314 obp and an ops under .700 and will most likely receive between 5-7 million next season. So, why wouldn’t they want Soriano for between 2-4 million? most likely he will rebound to .800 ops at the least, sounds like a steal in my book.

  20. ricosanto

    Hopefully someone will take him, but they wont pay more than 4 or 5 mil. That will still save say 15 million over the next 3 years. I thinkl Theo and Hoyer our adamant about getting rid of Sorry.Colvin is more suited for LF than RF. Hopefully byrd will be traded too so we can put Jackson in CF. package Sori with Marmol to Red Sox.

  21. Cubsklm

    IF you could get one team to take Soriano for a prospect and pay the salary equivalent to what we got DeJesus for yesterday, the Cubs would eat the rest of his contract.

    Then you basically traded Soriano, for DeJesus and a ML prospect. Not bad, you get a much better defensive OF, who hopefully will have a 50 – 75 point higher OBP.

  22. CubsFan4Life

    Great analysis, very realistic. I agree that there are very few AL teams that would take Soriano to be there DH, even with the Cubs paying $15M / year for the next 3 years.

    The Cubs will probably stuck with Soriano sitting on the bench as our 5th outfielder for occasional pinch hitting opportunities. Sorriano can come up to bat with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 9th inning and the game on the line, so he can deliver a walk-off strike out.

  23. John Durbin

    I think there are NUMEROUS good points of view on this from everyone.. We ALL know Soriano had a down year.. (or two)… but lest not look past the new maganger and what he did for prince fielder… another bat with a BIG swing… smiliar to soriano.. just on the other side of the plate… if we are going to eat 90% of the contract to get rid of him why not give Sveum ONE season to get his hands on soriano and his bat and see what he produces… and i know we all agree his defense is not up to par… but like other points havae been brought up that we can simply bring in Colvin or Reed Johnson for late inning defense… Im not a soriano lover at all and i think his and i would agree it might be better to get rid of him …but i figure give Sveum a chance and if soriano hits .300 and 30 HR’s and a OBP nexr .340 all of will probably retract our statements… Theo and Jed are going to do what they need to do to get the team to a “sustained success” no doubt… but that will take time.. and Soriano can still get HOT and carry a team for a week or even month at a time… and the more discussion we have about who would take him the more i doubt any team is going to take him on… so ill just deal with him for this season and see what happens come next summer and where Soriano stands..

  24. die hard

    What if Soriano offers to retire if Cubs pay him $30 mil over 3 years?

    1. hansman1982

      I would ask if he prefers small or large bills.

  25. Bobby A

    I hate this feeling.

  26. Caleb

    Good write-up!

    While the assessment of Sori is cynical, if not mostly realistic, there are a lot of teams that might see his performance potential in relation to many different variables.

    What’s Sori got going for him? Well, he’s proven. Teams KNOW that he can not only be a dangerous guy all season, but that he can– on occasion– completely carry a team for a week at a time.

    Why was his performance where it was last year? Optimistically, you could argue that he’s just not one of those guys who is at his best when his team is dealing with issues that seem to pretty much put them out of contention. 2 starters out after the first few series? We’re done. And who’s this Quade guy making decisions that are going to doom us? What competition behind me is motivating me to my best? Wrigley is cold, left field is dangerous, and I’m sick of it.

    If this were conscious “I’m lazy” decisions they might indicate an attitude that a team wouldn’t want in its clubhouse. But what if it’s not– or not unreasonable? How many players have completely altered their performance in the face of a new situation/circumstance? And its not like you would have to ask for a miracle with Soriano- just remove the barriers to him being the high-caliber player he’s already proven he could be.

    Identify those barriers, then see if your team would be a good fit for him. It’s a risk, and perhaps the Cubs will eat most of that risk in an effort to move him, but it still shows that highlighting his value is not only pragmatically sound (thank you, Theo!), but more realistic than you might think at first glance.

    Besides my own self interest, I think Sori still has stuff left in the tank. Too much of what makes him “good” is intrinsic baseball ability, which you could only HOPE to develop in your farm system. Sori’s already got it- he’s just got to get it back. Whether it’s for us or for another team (except the stupid F’ing Cards), I hope he gets it.

    He’s a peacock- let him fly!

    1. BetterNews

      Good for English—101 A+

    2. MoneyBoy

      Caleb … I love your enthusiasm for Sori … really I do..

      Todd Hollandsworth said it best: “As a 7th place hitter he gave you a very productive year.  But you don’t pay a 7th place hitter $19mm.   He will always have the albatross of the contract attached to him.”

      26 HRs, 88 RBI … all fine.  .469 SLG, .759 OPS … mmmmkay.    .224 AV, 113Ks, 27Ws, 15 GIDP … no thank you!!!!  Defense … let’s just not even go there.   As to Sveum as a hitting coach … the Cubs are paying Rudy a hell of a lot of $$ … and Sori had one of his best years ever in a hitter friendly Ballpark at Arlington with Rudy as his hitting coach.

      He has been lauded as a great team guy, great in the clubhouse and with younger players.   I sat in the LF bleachers in September … he’s really wonderful interacting with the fans.

      Please let’s all not forget this nifty little detail … if not for McDonough’s insistence on adding 3 yrs, we’d be done with him.   His time in Chgo is past IMO.   He doesn’t fit the way Theo & Jed want to play.  TR has given his blessing to do whatever is necessary to move him.

      1. John

        he hit .248 not .224. and his defense in LF was actually slightly above average last year and throughout his career according to baseball-reference.com. Just saying.

        1. Fishin Phil

          ” his defense was actually slightly above average last year and throughout his career according to baseball-reference.com. ”

           

          If that is the case, I humbly submit that the folks at baseball-reference.com have never actually watched a baseball game.

          1. John

            Could very well be the case. But my guess is his plus outfield arm makes up for his lack of range in most of the defensive metrics.

            1. Bails17

              He has a plus LF arm…and is accurate.  But I would say it is a PLUS arm altogether.  He would have a below average arm in RF for sure.

            2. Kyle

              His range isn’t nearly as bad as Cubs fans seem to think. He sucks at going back on balls and he’s had some high-profile gaffes (mostly because of the stupid little hop), but he gets to a lot of balls compared to most LFers. He moves decently laterally and is pretty solid at coming in on balls.

              Being a good defensive LFer is not a high standard. I mean, look around at the NL Central. I’d still take Soriano’s defense over Braun or Lee, and maybe even a smidge ahead of Holliday’s.

              1. Bails17

                His range isn’t near as bad as the routes he takes to balls.  I just can’t remember the last time I saw him make a great play out there other than throwing a few guys out at the plate.

        2. Luke

          No, Baseball Reference does not say that his defense was slightly above average last year. From Soriano’s BR page (http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/soriaal01.shtml) :

          Soriano
          RF/9 1.74
          Fld% .965
          RF/G 1.52

          League Averages
          RF/9 2.16
          Fld% .986
          RF/G 2.15

          1. Kyle

            None of those are particularly good measures of defense. Not that advanced defensive statistics are all that great, but they are better than range factor or fielding percentage (especially for outfielders). Baseball Reference’s Defensive Runs (based on Total Zone stats) had Soriano seven runs above average for a LFer last year. Fangraph’s UZR had him 3.4 runs above average. Pretty much all the major defensive metrics have him around average.

            Compared to other LFers around baseball, Soriano still has a plus arm and good lateral range. He’s awful at going back on balls but decent at coming in on them.

            I know Cubs fans love to hate Soriano, but their general dislike of him causes them to severely underestimate his defense.

            1. Luke

              Last I checked (and its been awhile), UZR factors in a player’s defensive performance over three years. In a case like Soriano where we may be seeing a decline in their defense over that period (which is suggested by RF/G over the past three years), UZR may not tell the whole story right now. Like I said, though, its been a long while since I dug into the UZR methodologies and that may have changed since then.

              His Rtot of 7 is interesting. Most numbers that compare Soriano to Soriano across time shows a decline in his defense, but his Rtot says he had his best season in the field since 2007. To me, those two things don’t exactly agree.

              I do wonder if he would be better off playing deeper in left than he does. He comes in on a ball well and has made some very good plays in those situations Between that ability and his arm, I honestly wonder if he might not be better playing back another 10 feet or so to minimize what he has to do going back while playing into his strengths. He may not have the speed to make that work any more, but that approach could turn some balls that right now would be doubles over his head into singles.

          2. hansman1982

            A fielding percentage below .980 for an outfielder should require the team take that outfielder behind the dugout and just put him out of his misery.

  27. duck

    I think I read somewhere that Jed and Theo use this 1-5 grading system, too.

  28. BetterNews

    My best guess is Soriano to Boston in exchange for Crawford

    1. John

      There is really no logical reason why Boston would make that trade. Crawford had one down year, but is still a highly productive player. Soriano is mostly dead weight.

  29. art

    the 2 or 3 teams who may be interested is no surprise.

  30. ferrets bueller

    I really can’t see him being traded. But…how completely, ridiculously, utterly insane would it be to suggest moving him to 1B temporarily?