Alfonso Soriano remains not only the biggest Chicago Cubs piece on the theoretical trade market this month, he’s also probably the biggest trade piece in all of baseball that could realistically be moved this month.

That’s thanks in large part to his large contract, which pays him about $6 million more this year, and then $18 million in each of 2013 and 2014. Because of that healthy contract, as we’ve discussed, no team is going to want to claim him on waivers. Instead, they’ll wait for him to clear, and then – if interested – try to make a deal with the Cubs where they eat a fair portion of the remaining dollars on Soriano’s deal.

Of course, to get to that point, Soriano’s gotta go through waivers first. The process is highly secretive, and it hasn’t yet been reported if Soriano has been placed on waivers. Given that teams can place up to seven players on waivers every two days in August, you’ve gotta believe Soriano has made the trip at this point – I have a hard time imagining the reason for waiting, save perhaps for the desperate hope that a rash of injuries might occur out there that compels some insane team to claim Soriano on his way through waivers. I don’t think that seems remotely realistic, so it makes more sense to me to get him through the process as soon as possible.

And, whenever it happens, Soriano’s going to know about it. Although it’s a secret, Soriano tells the Sun-Times that he’s got an inside man who will alert him. As of last Friday, Soriano said, he hadn’t yet been put on waivers. He believes the odds he’s dealt are, right now, just 50/50. And, remember, he’s got no-trade rights, so it’s up to him.

‘‘It’s 50-50 right now for going or staying,’’ Soriano told the Sun-Times. ‘‘I feel comfortable here. The only thing that makes me [consider] going to another team [is the chance to win]. But I’m in no rush. I feel comfortable [in Chicago], but the only negative thing now is losing and that they look like they want to build a young team. We’ll see what happens.’’

But, according to Dejan Kovacevic, one of those winning teams to whom Soriano won’t accept a trade is the Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s possible Soriano would change his mind if presented with an actual deal, but, for now, it is my understanding that Soriano will not consider a deal to anywhere on the West Coast (outside of the Dodgers), or to the Pirates.

On the year, Soriano is hitting .270/.321/.492 with 19 homers, and has played quality defense in left field. Even at age 36, he has considerably value (again, assuming the Cubs absorb a large chunk of the contract) on the trade market. But, to be fair, he also has considerable value to the Cubs going forward. In a lineup that is relatively thin on power, Soriano could still provide quite a bit of pop next year. Further, unless you consider Bryan LaHair a must start, Soriano isn’t blocking any Cubs prospects going into next season, and he’s the top veteran leader on the positional side for the Cubs. An exemplary quote from Soriano: ‘‘I cannot do anything wrong because [the young players watch] me. I have to be more careful how I play the game because those guys aren’t veterans like me. I’ve got to do my job perfect to teach them the right way.’’

Dumping him just to dump him is no longer in the cards. Nor should it be.

  • Master Dan

    To the people that think that Soriano shouldn’t be traded because of this or that, guess what. Soriano will be traded by the Cubs. Whether it’s in 2012, 2013, or 2014. Theo and company have been trying to trade Soriano since day 1.

    • http://deleted Crazyhorse trade Soriano?

      I could care less if the CUbs trade Soriano- as of today – he has been the most productive Cub player for this miserable season that Little Theo and company has given Chicago . When the Cubs trade Soriano i just hope a player can pick up his numbers .

      • Daniel

        “Little theo?”


      • BD

        Did you expect that they were going to contend this year?

      • Chuck

        I love how people blame this on Theo and are truly dissappointed this year. I literally thought the top of the ladder for this year would be 3rd place. I am fine with this year and getting the team ready for years to come. Jackson and Vitters are rough right now but they will work it out. Mechanically stuff is wrong. Rizzo is doing way more than expected. Castro isn’t permanently struggling he is slumping. The only thing I am a little worried about, a lot worried about, is the pitching. I dont even know where we start. We have Samardzija who is consistent, and Garza who has one good game every three. Wood is about as streaky as they come. Volstad needs to be executed or traded for a warm bag of dog shit along with Ian Stewart.

  • Rich

    Master Dan…thanks for that breaking news…
    We all know that..

    • AB

      Almost as brilliant an observation when he said in the other thread that the Cubs should keep developing younger players even though they have called up Rizzo, Jackson, and Vitters.


    • Master Dan

      Breaking news…


  • donnie kessinger

    We trade him now because he has a little value,may save a few million bucks… it isnt about a prospect. Next spring is next spring… free agency perhaps or trade. We look for a piece of the future. We change the dynamic of our team or how we want to play. Soriano is streaky and injury prone. He took the first two months of the season off, now is stat padding. I respect the guy, really, but we are playing for the future. I think perhaps you are underselling Sappelt, or even the potential moves we could make to get younger and more aggressive. He is not the future. His contract is from the old regime, and Theo said we can absorb it and move on. Our brain trust is trying to move forward and I trust these guys. It’s not personal and wish him the best, but he is not a very exciting player anymore.

    • http://deleted Crazyhorse playing for the future?

      All last place teams play for the future. San Diego and Housten comes to mind. If people reacted honestly. SOriano with all his bad baggage is still ihaving a better year than Little Theo. Sorian may be streaky and and is stat padding – kinda wish some other cubs would pad thier stats.

      • Flashfire

        Uh-huh. “Little Theo” just got Almora, Torreyes, Soler, Vizcaino, Underwood, Johnson, McNeil, and Villaneuva under Cubs control. He could have and should have had Delgado wrapped up. Yes, a miserable year for him.

        • MightyBear

          Some guy named Rizzo too.

          • Flashfire

            Sounds like a muppet. He clearly sucks.

            (Yes, I did genuinely forget about him. Thanks for that.)

        • crazyhorse

          Yes Little Theo has had a bad year- every draft pick you mention ,30 other ball clubs have great signing as well. 3b Stewart was and is a bust. The pitching staff that has been brought in this year has been a bust for the most part. . The Marshall trade was dumb. Dejesus signing ? Who really cares. Concepcion era is closer to god than a ball park. Rizzo so far has been a great investment . for all the people that say we are building for the future – I would hope so. but when that future begins to bear fruit then then we can say good job. So far all i see is alot of smoke and mirrors.

          • Flashfire

            Okay, forget the draft picks. Rizzo, Torreyes, Vizcaino, Villaneuva. Not draft picks.

          • TWC

            Does it make you feel better about … well, I dunno, something .. to call him “Little Theo”? Because it really makes you sound like an immature twit.

          • bbmoney

            probably not even worth it. But, you didn’t like the Maholm signing? Landed a pretty good prospect and 4 good months of pitching out of that one.

            Why was the Marshall trade dumb? I’m sure a reliever who will pitch ~70 innings this year would have made all the difference. I’ll take another 3 years of travis wood instead.

            Why do you blame Theo for the Cubs sucking this year? 85% of the crappy roster is left over from Hendry, there is only so much you can do in one off season…its not like Theo is out there playing.

            • nkniacc13

              Dont forget the rest of the players the Cubs got in that marshall deal as well. The Cubs likely would have traded him at the deadline and not gotten 3 players for him including one that is a starter in the rotaion

  • mpope30

    It comes down to this……..Is he blocking someone right now? NO. If we keep him, will he be blocking someone next year or the year after? YES (at least that is the plan). So moving him is not something that has to be done right now, but it makes sense for 2013 and 2014. The FO wants to take advantage of his quality play (that might not be there in the future) and get what you can right now. The biggest risk would be to hold onto him and let his legs get older and his bat get slower. Just picture it – a Soriano out in left field in 2013 and 2014 because there are no longer any takers and a MLB ready prospect or two just sitting in Iowa. Not worth the risk of keeping him if you have the option to move him now.

    • J R

      IMO, it’s an absolute no brainer to move Sori asap. Pretty much only bad can happen by holding on to him. It’s just very difficult with that contract and his NTC. Can you really just take a scrub prospect and pay all of Sori’s contract to go away? Trust me I think they have to move him now if they can, but I just don’t think there is much of a market for the dude regardless of how he’s improved this year. People still think he sucks. It’s just a pretty frustrating situation..

      • Scotti

        FWIW, Soriano doesn’t have a NTC. He has 10-5 rights.

  • Rich

    ok, thanks guys!

  • donnie kessinger

    Well said mpope30.

  • donnie kessinger

    And Rich, you make valid points as well. Respect what your are saying.

  • TonyP

    Lots of passion around the trade/don’t trade Soriano topic.

  • North Side Irish

    I remember when the deal was signed, there were rumors that Hendry had negotiated a 6 year deal with Soriano, but that Sam Zell extended the offer to 8 years in an attempt to prop up the value of the franchise for the sale. Was this ever confirmed? And wouldn’t that allow us to blame Crane Kenney somehow?

    • dabynsky

      I’ve heard similar rumors, but not sure Zell can be blamed since he hadn’t taken over the Tribune company yet.

      • MoneyBoy

        Good one dabynsky !!!

        Per Wikipedia: On April 2, 2007, the Tribune Company announced its acceptance of Zell’s offer to buy the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and other media assets. On December 20, 2007, Zell took the company private.

        Per MLBReference: November 20, 2006: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago Cubs.

        • North Side Irish

          Hell, I’m amazed I got that many details right…we’re talking about a rumor from 2006. Cut an old guy some slack!

    • MoneyBoy

      Irish … I was told in April of last year by a beat reporter that it was McDonough. That Hendry’s deal was 5 yrs and McDonough wanted the extra years. Was Zell involved because of the sale? An interesting point!! And hell, why not blame Crane Klueless? That’s always available … and fun.

      • TonyP

        I always thought it was Crane that upped the years.

    • Flashfire

      This is the type of intrepid business thinking that is serving the Tribune so well: by adding $36 million in liabilities, it will help long-term value. That only happens if those two extra years of Soriano are worth more than $36 million to the Cubs. Even when the deal was signed, I don’t think anyone would have made that claim.

  • J R

    I know NTC’s are a big part of negotiations for player contracts, and 10/5 rights are earned. But just a guess, I think the FO avoids them like the plague for the next several years. If it means losing out on a free agent or two, so be it. Those things absolutely hamstring the franchise. I would rather they pay more in salary than give a guy a full NTC again..

    • dabynsky

      Wasn’t that rumored to be one of the hangups in the negotiations between the FO and Garza earlier?

      • Brett

        Yes, it was. The money was an issue, too, though. In other words, the two sides really didn’t get very close.

    • Flashfire

      I would tend to think that Theo will take that advice, since he seems far more concerned with the “type” of player he signs than the specific player.

  • http://bleachernation loyal100more

    trade him now! his value is not going to be higher, hes a declining player. this is very simple stuff. you dont worry about replaceing his production now, were REBUILDING…younger cheaper moving forward. i got alot of respect for sori and his game…but he doesnt fit into our future plans…why is this so hard for fans to understand? unfortunatly hes a liability to the progression of the franchise. no hes not blocking a prospect now but when he actually is he will have considerably less value. strike while the iron is hot and it only gets colder from here. theo definatly gets this, please try and understand its not personal, its biz

  • nkniacc13

    What’s the difference between trading him now and waiting till the offseason when you maybe able to include a few more teams as a possiable deal. The Cubs have to eat a bunch of the contract anyway and he isn’t blocking anyone worth starting because Lahair is likely gone as well after the year. Without a doubt if he gets claimed you let him go but otherwise you may as well keep him. Your going to likley get pitchers for Garza if you can trade him this offseason and there isn’t anyone ready to come up until atleast july 2013 as of now so unless you aquire someone its kinda stupid to pay someone else to take a player when he isn’t a clubhouse problem like Z was

  • die hard

    Cant imagine Cubs record this year without Soriano…without him Cubs actual attendance is under 1/2 mil…so hes worth whatever he generates in tickets and concessions…for that reason Cubs keep him so as to get some bang for their buck..

    • BetterNews

      Without Soriano the Cubs would officially be tagged a AAA team. You’re right.

    • BetterNews

      Wait, on second thought, even with Soriano the can be tagged AAA material!

  • someday…2015?

    Just saw the starting lineup. Take Valbuena out and put Vitters in and it doesnt look all that bad.

  • Fastball

    If Soriano is declining he isn’t soing so this year. His numbers and defense are on the incline. I think this club needs him for now. If he is producrive again next year we lose nothing. We have nobody to rzplace him. He wont block anyone next year. His last year they can do whatever they want with him. Unless he can continue drinking at the fountain of youth. I have no problem wirh Soriano. Whats funny is rhe talk about how we can move him for prospects. If he doesnt want to be traded he wont be and right now he has a pretty short lust. I dont blame him for saying no to Pittsburgh its a place thats on my big fat no listtoo. He likes Chicago and wont move unless he wants too. And he is honest about it. I wont ride his butt for saying no. Its his right. He isnt going to play in World Series so why go somewhere that he doesnt want too. I support him on his choices he is a good Cub IMO.

  • Bill In Plainfield

    I really get a laugh out of all the whiners that want the Cubs to grab some high priced free agents and go for it, for one shot at a world series win, instead of building a strong foundation that makes the team a contender for several years, or dare I say a couple of decades. I’d like to have to know my favorite team has the desire to do what it takes to make the world series every year come hell or high water, and not getting to the playoffs is considered unacceptable on every level. You know, kind of like the New York Yankees!