An end-of-the-week roundup of the latest news and rumors affecting the Cubs…

  • The Alfonso Soriano speculation continues. Bruce Levine reiterates that the Cubs would be willing to eat 80% of the remaining $54 million (over three years) owed to Soriano, and Jim Bowden says the Tigers should consider Soriano to replace Victor Martinez. Thing is? I’m told that, when the Cubs contacted the Tigers about Soriano after learning of the Martinez injury, the Tigers wanted the Cubs to eat 95% of his remaining salary. Yo.
  • The primary issue teams have with Soriano? It’s those three years. Now, you can say it’s all money, so the years don’t really matter. But here’s why they do: a number of teams are willing to take Soriano on at $5 or $6 million in 2012. But 2013 and 2014? They aren’t crazy about taking him on for *any* amount. So, what you’re left with is a number of teams wanting the Cubs to eat 90 to 95% of the deal (to yield a “fair” contract in 2012, and “no” contract in 2013/14). It’s a matter of perspective, but the upshot is: unless the Cubs are willing to eat $48 to $50 million of Soriano’s deal, it will remain a near impossibility to trade him.

  • John Arguello from the very well-done Cubs Den reported yesterday that the Cubs had actually managed to secure a Soriano trade with the Orioles earlier in the week, but Soriano nixed it by way of his no-trade rights (with not-so-coincident reports that Soriano would accept a trade only to a contender). To the extent you’re reach for your torch, let me offer you two shots of relax: (1) it’s hard to blame Soriano, who knows he’s on his last contract, for wanting to be where he wants to be in his latter years; (2) I checked with a source on the report, and, while it’s true that the Cubs and O’s discussed Soriano, it didn’t quite get to the stage of exchanging names/dollar amounts. Before the two sides got to that stage, the Cubs checked in on Soriano’s thoughts, and he indicated that he wouldn’t be accepting a trade to Baltimore. So things ended before they really got anywhere.
  • So, Yu Darvish signed with the Rangers on Wednesday for about six years and $60 million (give or take an incentive here and an opt-out there). Together with the $51 million posting fee, the Rangers are into Darvish for six years and over $111 million. Knowing that, have your thoughts changed on the Cubs’ bid in the $20 million range (like every other team in the race, other than the Rangers)? I still think Darvish could be an excellent pitcher, and you almost never get the chance to land a 25-year-old stud pitcher for nothing more than money. But, yeah. That’s a huge commitment for a guy who hasn’t pitched in the States.
  • The signing obviously takes the Rangers out of any Matt Garza sweepstakes, such as one exists.
  • I’m told the Tigers don’t want Marlon Byrd, for whatever that’s worth.
  • Speaking of Garza, Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland had some interesting things to say about his team’s need for a fifth starter. “We have a No. 5 hole and we’ve got some nice options in our organization, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t go outside the organization by way of a trade or free agency,” Leyland said. “That’s another area that we’re still trying to fill – to round out the rotation. With the team that we have – even minus Victor – if we pitch, we’ll be right in the hunt …. I don’t think we’re done. I think Dave will continue to look and put the best team on the field within fiscal responsibility.” To me, that sounds like a manager sending signals up the ladder: I’d rather you gave me another proven starter, and not a rookie. Kthxbye.

  • MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes held a chat this week, and, while they’re always interesting, there isn’t a whole lot of Cubs goodness in there this time.
  • A reminder: follow Bleacher Nation on Twitter and “like” it on Facebook for the latest rumors incrementally sooner than you’d get it by obsessively checking the site (which is, of course, also fine with me).

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