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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).
  • arkycub

    You guys kill me, sori isn’t the player he once was, but there should be some value of being an onfield coach/role model to these young kids coming in. I know my kids listen to their grandpa!

  • Cheryl

    Soriano is comfortable the way things are He has a contract that provides for him and his family. Why should he change? The only area that will change is on the cubs side of this. They can platoon him until next year. That leaves two years on his contract and also Dempster will be gone. They will probably trade Soto and Byrd. DeWitt and Baker will probably be gone after this year. The first base question will be answered. Garza will probably be traded before the year begins. I think that’s what he wants. No more trying to guess what rumor has any validity for him. He wants it settled. When you take a look at the team its almost a total makeover. What will happen in 2012 is probably more fine tuning of the changes. Theo and Company will have accomplished what they wanted to do in the beginning – bring a new culture to the cubs in a record amount of time.

  • Eric

    I was embarassed by the boos Sori got during the Cubs convention. Bout the only thing you can say negative about him on things he CAN control, is he stares at his deep hits sometimes and doesn’t run all out to 1B. Those are things Sveum can hammer in to him. All of the others, his terrible defense, his declining offense, he can’t control. I don’t view him as a prima donna, he has a general good attitude about the game and the Cubs. He can’t help the overpay Hendry gave him. He has a no trade and 10-5 rights, he has every right to want to stay with the Cubs and gets to chose where he is traded. And I’m just embarrased, there is no reason to give him that kind of disrespect.

    • ogyu

      Unless he has some kind of neurological disorder, I find it hard to believe that he really can’t control hopping when a ball comes near him in the field and swinging at everything in site around the plate. And if he truly cannot control those things, then he should retire and seek professional treatment.

  • arkycub

    Amend brother!

  • OHBearCub

    Soriano’s money isn’t going away. Can’t the Cubs restructure his contract? I believe the Dodgers did it with Manny. He get’s his money over like 20 years or something like that. Other big league players that were high salary players are getting paid like a couple ML over and extended period without interest. Can’t we do something like that with Soriano and just put him out to pasture and forget about him?

    Theo has to be smart enough to work something out with the guy. If we have to keep him then he can sit on the bench and pinch hit. Paying him to play somewhere else and paying most of his salary just seems crazy to me. If Soriano loves Chicago so much that he doesn’t want to DH at Camden Yard he should cut the organization some slack so we can keep working on the rebuild and maybe get it done a little quicker with some payroll relief. I would sell him on this … restructure we put a team together and make a run buy next year or 2014 and try to get you a WS ring and you can part of Cubs lore forever!
    I don’t even know if the Players Union will let him restructure his contract with the Cubs. I would be trying to figure out a way to make that happen.

  • sam

    Some Cub fans are so stupid ! Soriano makes a bunch of money. He still hits . Trade him if you must – but dont eat his contract. Why pay millions upon millions for him to HELP some other team win a World Series.

    a bunch of clowns on this site

    • Duke11

      His game doesn’t fit our direction. We are building a team currently that is based on driving up pitch counts, getting on base and playing fundamentally sound. You have 8 chances to do that. If in the middle of your order you have a guy who does none of those things then he is not part of the solution. If he is not part of the solution you must get rid of him regardless of how much he makes. Everyone has said how great a teammate he is and that it wonderful, there are a lot of good guys who plays sports. However, this one is not flexible in changing his approach to the game and it does not help us win, nor does it set a proper example to young players. Clearly the current administration with all of their talk of changing the culture realizes that. Culture change does not occur if your veteran players do not buy in. He needs to go help a contender at DH, because part of the solution for the Cubs he is not.

      • Tommy

        Duke11 – that was a thoughtful reply to sam. Sadly, my advice to you would be to ignore him as he’s a troll that only comes around occasionally to make inflammatory comments to get a reaction out of the rest of us who really do love the Cubbies.

        • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

          im gonna have to back up tommy’s statement there… sams kind of a rouster.

          • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

            Sam may be a rouster, but he is 100% correct. I would not trade Sori unless I can Atleast 15 million in relief or a good prospect and no relief. He’s a leader. And he provides power. With 600 hundred at bats, he can still hit 30 HR. Unless he is blocking Jackson or “Cespedes”, which he is currently not, there is no other reason to trade him. Opening day. RF Dejesus, CF Campana, LF Soriano. IMO, that a very decent outfield. Not great, but decent.

            • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

              I’m nit saying don’t trade him, just saying we should not dump him just to dump him. There must be some return. We already dumped one major contract with no return, though I guess Z had to go.

  • sam

    The only direction the Cubs are heading into is building its farm system . Every baseball team should builds its farm system . Stop using that as a crutch. You either accept the fact the Cubs can not afford to put a product on the field to be competitive. The Cubs have been slashing payroll because they have too, its not because Rickets is cheap all of suddenly. The direction of the club is too slash payroll. It is what it is

    • ferrets_bueller

      Anyone who claims that the payroll has been ‘slashed’ is either a complete and utter moron, a liar, or is completely ignorant to what the Cubs payroll actually is.

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    man are we all the way back to discussing the philosophy behind the club’s rebuild? well i guess if you talk about anything involving the team, it leads you back to this discussion.sori, dempster, garza, byrd, and rizzo, all bring us back to the topic of the rebuilding ball club. now i guess im just stating the obvious.

  • Deer

    that’s kinda strong words. It goes back the idea that the total operating budget is likely the same but the 25 man roster payroll is clearly lower, no?

    • ty

      Since I spend some time in Phoenix I can*t help but notice the success of the Diamondbacks under G.M. Kevin Tower. Last year payroll only 50,000 dollars and increased to 60,000 this year with some significant signings that I will not discuss since this is Cubs only territory. Their recent success is not so much development but pickups by Towers on the cheap much like Theo and Co. are doing.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        Wow only 50-60 thousand that is impressive and impossible, do you mean 50-60 million?

  • JasonB

    The most ironic thing about Soriano’s desire to play for a contending team is that he isn’t actually good enough to play for a contending team.

    • ferrets_bueller

      Which makes it even more hilarious that people want to keep him here, because it makes us “more of a contender.” No.  No, it doesn’t.

      • JasonB

        But he hits HRs – isn’t major league baseball a home run hitting contest?

        • ferrets_bueller

          Definitely.  And those homers are worth even more when they’re hit by players who can’t run, field, throw, or do anything at the plate other than hit homers!

          • JasonB

            But if he hits HRs, then he has to be a “clutch” hitter right?

            Sorry, I’ll stop now…

  • ty

    Thanks Goat! May I take the quiz over?

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Anytime, just bustin ya balls

  • T Larson

    Yes, Kevin Towers has done a remarkable job out here in Phoenix. It doesn’t hurt that the Diamond Backs have a very strong minor league system. Theo Epstein is not stupid.
    A few years back, Arizona traded Dan Haren to the Angles for an excellent package of young talent.Haren was quite popular here. He was and is in his prime. I see a parallel between him and Garza.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Haren is a perfect comparison for Garza

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Problem is, Haren signed two extensions that muck up his arbitration year values – otherwise, he’d be the perfect comparison for the Cubs to use (and easily win).

  • ty

    Right T. Garza may be the trade that directs our future and you mentioned the angels who have even more young talent on loan from God!

  • T Larson

    My point is that the Diamond Backs traded a very good player in his prime and received a good package in return. They gave up quite a bit to get him from the A’s to begin with and after a couple of years got a good package in return from the Angels. So, trading Garza may not be unprecedented and work for both club involved.

  • 2much2say

    Fielder is the only Top 1st baseman availble this year and next So, once in a 2 year

  • 2much2say

    Die hard sources the mailman, 3rd cousin on his fathers side and Scott Swaim

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