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I’d planned on including this as part of the next Lukewarm Stove, but that’s shaping up to be a huge one, and I didn’t want this bit to get lost in the shuffle.

Yesterday, Alfonso Soriano was asked – once again – about his no-trade rights, about the Cubs’ future, and about the relationship between the two. His response was interesting, instructive, and long-winded-thought-provoking.

“It depends how long,” Soriano said when asked about being a part of the Cubs through an obviously-ongoing rebuild, per CSNChicago. “If they want to rebuild for next year, I’ll be here. But if they want to take longer than two years, then they have to think about moving me out to another team that can win quickly.”

Soriano joked that he might want to retire after his contract, so it’s now or never for he and the Cubs. But, of course, there was truth in his joke and in his statement. Soriano is under contract with the Cubs through 2014, and if the Cubs intend not to be competitive during those two years, they will have to think long and hard about the kind of value Soriano provides to the Cubs as a member, or as a jettisoned asset. Because, if he stays, he’s certainly expensive ($18 million in each of the next two years). And, from Soriano’s perspective, if the Cubs tell him they expect to be … young … through 2014, he’ll have to think long and hard about his previous no-trade position – the one that had him willing to consider a trade only to immediately competitive teams on the Eastern half of the country (plus the Dodgers), but possibly excluding the Orioles, Rays, and Pirates.

Obviously Soriano provides a great deal of value to the Cubs, both on and off the field. But there are expectations that the team won’t be much better in 2013 than it was in 2012, and, if that’s true, might not the Cubs be squandering whatever trade value Soriano has by holding onto him? And if they make plain to him the truth of the rebuild (if, in fact, it is the truth), might he be more willing to open up his extraordinarily short list of teams to which he’d consider a trade?

Then again, if the Cubs hope to improve in 2013, and possibly be .500ish or better by 2014, where would Soriano’s heart lie? The Cubs’? All things equal, we know he’d prefer to stay in Chicago, and, for all we know, the Cubs really do hope to be competitive by 2014. So maybe they’d like to keep Soriano anyway, rendering this whole discussion moot.

As the world turns …

  • Spencer

    I don’t think he was joking.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It was a mix of joking and possibly serious – he said he was joking, implying that he always feels tired at the end of the year and figures he’ll be ready to be done when this contract is over. He might mean it, he might not. Wasn’t really the point.

      • Spencer

        Oh, I didn’t see/hear the whole quote. I was just thinking that he may well be too old/worn down at the end of this contract and he’s gonna have to decide if he wants to take a significant pay cut and probably play DH (which he said he thinks would bore him), or just retire with boat loads of cash.

        It will be interesting to see if he starts to get impatient with the Cubs and actively requests a trade. If he does, I think it may imply he does want to retire after this current contract.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Yeah, he very well might – it can’t be easy keeping an already bum knee in shape over the course of a long, long season. I bet he works extremely hard in the offseason just to be in playing shape.

  • Wall

    What purpose do you really have in keeping him aside from winning a few extra games? They won’t mean anything. I expect to have a season slightly better than this year, but by no more than 5-7 games. Just eat all or nearly all of his contract and send him to a team with a legit chance at a title. What are we going to do with that money the next two years? Theo already said he’s sticking to the rebuild process. Are a bunch of young guys going to command that money. Just use it as a sunk cost and move on. We have enough money for a large payroll, we just don’t have the players or the strategy to use it at this point.

  • Mick

    Important offseason dates:

    Immediately after the World Series
    Eligible players become free agents

    Sixth day after completion of World Series
    First day that Major League and Minor League free agents may sign contracts with teams other than their former clubs

    12th day after completion of World Series
    Midnight ET, last date for a player to accept arbitration from former club

    November 30, 2012
    Midnight ET, last date to tender contracts

    December 3-6, 2012
    Baseball Winter Meetings, Nashville, Tenn.

    December 6, 2012
    Rule 5 Draft, Nashville, Tenn.

  • BD

    I think they tried to trade him- he didn’t want to cooperate.

    • Timmy

      Yeah they tried to trade him like 6 weeks ago and he turned it down! What has he lost all of his short term memory?

  • Master Dan

    Soriano should of accepted the trade to the Giants. Now he’s going to cry and joke about it? He should of thought it through right then and there. Obviously, the Cubs will be rebuilding for awhile. They won’t be world series contenders for at least another 3 years. Lets get some young players with value from him and move on.

    • wilbur

      It might have been a fast track to the WS, but few hitters volunteer for SF …

  • Featherstone

    I’m actually glad to hear this for 2 reasons.

    One, it allows the FO much more flexibility in finding a trade partner for him. Hes coming off a pretty good year for the cubs and played above average defense for once. He definitely has trade value and I firmly believe the FO can garner some value for him if they are allowed the ability to so most unrestricted.

    2nd, for all the negative attention Soriano gets for his contract and his supposed work habits, I firmly believe he works really hard to produce as best as his body will allow him and he’s always been a class act even when the public sentiment was firmly against him. He deserves a shot a winning a ring and I certainly hope he gets the chance to do that while in turn netting the Cubs a legit prospect.

    There is definitely a win-win situation available here if things shake out well, but I do wonder how bad lineup will be if you subtract Soriano’s production from it…. Yikes.

  • The Dude Abides

    Good for Soriano, leave on your terms or stay whatever your pleasure. He has been bad mouthed and slammed ever since he signed a contract offered to him. There was no gun involved and he didn’t do anything that any other person wouldn’t have done. For his sake I hope he goes to a contending team in the AL where he can finish up a pretty decent career. If not stay in Chicago but more than anything do what you want.

  • rich

    soriano is so full of it and so full of himself . he could of been traded but the jerk used his no trade rights which would have been ok if he would’nt of said he would accept a trade to a contender . he cares abput only his stats that about it ! go away jerk !

    • Tommy

      I don’t think it’s fair to call someone a jerk for doing something that is fully within his rights (no-trade clause). I would have liked to have seen him moved, but we don’t know his reasons for wanting to stay or not go, whatever the case may be.

      He was far from a bum for us this season, and you only hear positive things about his work ethic and club house presense. If you don’t like him, you don’t like him, but he’s not the first player to use a right that he’s earned.

      • Master Dan

        He did say he didn’t want to go to San Francisco because of the weather…

        • TWC

          Bah! It’s 65° and clear today. Crappy weather my foot.

  • http://WavesOfTalent.webs.com tim

    Hammer, not the nail, baby.

  • Cheryl

    This is somewhat related to Soriano and the cubs rebuilding but I think there comes a point where there’s so many trades and new people coming and going that the cubs risk losing their kong-time cubs fans because they no longer feel there’s anyone they can identify with,
    Granted rebuilding is necessary and granted management and players look upon it as a business, but there have always been those that intangible aspect to it that I’m afraid they are losing. How many others feel this way?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      I root for laundry, myself. (And I’m someone who was a Kong time Cubs fan, by the way! :-))

  • http://WavesOfTalent.webs.com tim

    I identify just fine. With Castro. And Rizzo. And Baez, Soler, Almora, and the guy we’ll take with the Second Pick in the Draft in June. And the International guy we get a month later. I even identify with Sheldon McDonald and his 85 MPH fastball, but I’m funny that way.

    And Vogelbach, and Barney, and……

    • Cheryl

      Yes, these players are promising and I look forward to seeing them – but when you look at whose left from a year-ago – there’s Barney, Castro and Soriano, not many others. Thatt’s quite a shift.

      • http://WavesOfTalent.webs.com tim

        Ummmmmmmm…… Good.

        Not missing Carlos Pena much.

  • Dustin S

    Just kind of funny that a (at least) 36 year-old on a 101 loss team is giving advice that they might want to trade him. Soriano’s a nice guy but not exactly a brain surgeon.

  • Doug Dascenzo

    That’s a surprising answer, given how he didn’t want to be traded this year to a contender. I don’t think Soriano got the Cliff Notes of Theo’s press conference when he was hired here. But it’s encouraging that he’s publicly said he wants to go a winner now. I hope the list is a little longer next time around.

  • Frank

    He had his chance to go to a contender, unless he’s already forgotten abiout the whole blocking a trade to the Giants thing.

    He had a great season, and I don’t think that it was a fluke, but the fact of the matter is that he’s going to be 37 and his knee problems are a secret to nobody. I’m not sure if the boat was missed more by Soriano or the Cubs FO, but the prime time to trade him would have been a little over 2 months ago.

    This time last year, I’d have happily traded him for 5% salary relief, a 19-21 year old lottery ticket, and a few 24-27 year old fringe prospects. Wouldn’t want to do that now. Maybe next July depending on the cicumstances.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      One thing people are ignoring is that players clearly view within-season trades and between-season trades very differently. And that makes sense: during the season, they are focusing on playing, and anybody who has ever moved can tell you what a distraction that is.

      • King Jeff

        I think he blocked a trade to Baltimore last offseason. He has every right to do so, but saying he wants to be traded if the Cubs are going to continue rebuilding is a reversal of what he has said and done in the past.

  • DarthHater

    So he blocks all the trades that the team is able to negotiate and then says they should trade him? That’s it. He’s officially a douchenozzle.

    • http://WavesOfTalent.webs.com tim

      Hendry signed him. Hendry sent Lilly to LA with Theriot for DeWitt and others. Sori was hoping for that.

      Sorry, Sori. Not happening.

  • jim

    Sori said no to sanfran cuz cold n damp on his knee. He correct bout cold n damp summer eves.

    • TWC

      Is it really that hard to type complete words and/or sentences, Jimbo?

      • DarthHater

        2 hard on brain

      • Stinky Pete

        He savin tym cant find link to sket

      • Carne Harris

        Maybe he’s communicating by telegram. Or the Hulk.

        HULK SMASH STOP.

        • DarthHater

          Puny grammar.

  • ruby2626

    Sounds funny but if we play the what if game, despite 101 losses Theo almost had us in playoff contention this year. Where do you think the team would have been if we had somehow acquired Chase Headley (rumor had us going after him big time) rather than Ian Stewart and had we not come in 2nd in the bidding for Cespedes. That would have added about 60 homers and 200 RBI’s had they both stayed healthy. With those 2 we probably wouldn’t have made the trades we did at midseason, everything would have been different.

    Any chance we resign Dempster after this season, one of the biggest games of his career last night and he layed an egg, 5 runs in only 3 innings. Doubt if he is a top priority for Texas.

    • Timmy

      I hope that Dempster never sets foot in Chicago again.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      if we had somehow acquired Chase Headley (rumor had us going after him big time)

      Rumor had the Cubs and about 10 other teams going after Headley big time. The rumor mill heated up even more before the trade deadline. Chances are pretty good that this was fueled partly by assumption: the Pads usually trade guys like Headley before they start making too much money, however much they might protest to the contrary. In this case, they seemed to be telling the truth.

  • MightyBear

    I still think Soriano needs to be in the AL. His defense was much improved this year but there were a lot of balls he didn’t get to that young legs would’ve. In the AL he can DH and play some outfield and keep his legs fresher.

    • Zulu

      There might have been a few balls that younger legs might have gotten to but there were a lot of homers and RBI’s that came off that big bat!!! Team leader.

  • MichaelD

    What might be more worrisome is whether this attitude extends to other free agents. Are players not going to want to come to the Cubs at all because they will be rebuilding?

  • 2much2say

    Soriano to the Astro’s best fit.
    or White Sox move Viciedo to third and platoon Dunn and Soriano

    • Drew7

      Sori doesn’t need platooned.

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