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Going into the Winter Meetings last week, you’ll recall reports that the Cubs were going to meet with teams about left fielder Alfonso Soriano. Coming off a big season at the plate and in the field, the 36-year-old Soriano had new-found trade value, and the Cubs, steeped in a rebuild, could be looking to cash in on that value.

The team mentioned specifically in those reports was the Philadelphia Phillies, who are known to be looking for a right-handed power bat to insert in the middle of their lineup. Perfect fit for Soriano, right?

Well, according to Jon Heyman, the two sides did discuss a specific deal, which would have sent Soriano and a load of cash to the Phillies for former top prospect Domonic Brown. The 25-year-old outfielder hasn’t had the breakout success in Philly that was long expected of him – he sports a .236/.315/.388 career line over 492 plate appearances – but he was the number 4 prospect in all of baseball to Baseball America before the 2011 season. His talent is unquestionable. Whether it will translate in the bigs remains a bit question. His numbers have been huge in the minors, until the last two partial seasons at AAA. Most believe he’s a corner outfielder at this point, although he played all over the outfield in the minors.

Heyman adds that Philly really likes Soriano’s bat, but still questions his defense. They may prefer to go the free agent route, Heyman says, possibly with Cody Ross. The Cubs, according to Heyman, are willing to eat all but $10 million of Soriano’s deal to up the return in prospects.

Soriano on a two year, $10 million deal looks like a steal in this market, and, indeed, the Cubs should demand a quality return if that’s the offer they’re putting on the table. Would Brown, alone, be enough, considering his slightly-stalled-out status? He’s a high upside flyer – perhaps higher upside than any other player the Cubs could reasonably acquire – but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the hangup involved the Cubs asking for more, as unreasonable as that might sound.

Don’t take it for more than my own sense of these things, but this report feels like the kind that is leaked by one side to try and put pressure on a free agent like Ross to sign a deal – or to put pressure on the Cubs to lower their asking price on Soriano. That is to say, it feels like it’s coming from the Phillies, who may be frustrated at their inability to consummate a deal with the Cubs or with Ross.

In other words, a deal involving Soriano and Philly might still happen. But it might not be the Phillies’ preferred route.

As always, Soriano’s no-trade rights are a hurdle, but Philly falls into the general category of team Soriano has said he’d be willing to accept a trade to – East Coast and very competitive.

UPDATE: From Jayson Stark, who presumably spoke to a Phillies official who wanted to get the message just right: Phillies were initially uninterested when Cubs approached them on Soriano. Now kicking it around but a long shot to actually happen.” That’s pure Philly spin, but it also sounds like it is probably accurate. Distill it for what it says: the Phillies are interested, but a deal is unlikely. That’s what the whole thing sounds like to me. Most trades are unlikely.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Really surprised Arizona sent out Bauer for Didi Gregorious. They really sold low on that guy.

    • Marcel91

      I guess those concerns about his makeup we’re legit. To think, people were saying there was no way to get Bauer without giving up Castro, Baez, or Almora.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Indeed, I would call that a really dumb trade. Bauer really should have been a chip in acquiring a front-line MI, not someone like Gregorius. Still, it should be fun: the crowd can start chanting in polyphony whenever he bats….

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Really don’t understand what AZ is doing here. The got back a no-bat decent defensive shortstop, Lars Anderson (who can’t play first since Goldschmidt is there) and decent lefty reliever.

        For Bauer and two relievers.

        This makes no sense. Unless AZ is just smitten with Gregorius, the Cubs could have smoked this offer without even trying. Barney+Russell, for example. Lake+Bellaveau+Rohan.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Well, part of it has to be cost-control. They want someone cheap who they will have under their control for a while. And at 22, they can tell themselves that Gregorius still has a lot of time to develop. My guess is that they’ll be trying to convince themselves of that when he’s 24, then when he’s 26, etc…

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            His minor league slash lines are just bad.

            As in, Tony Campana looks amazing compared to this guy bad.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Is it possible that the two relievers provide the real value for AZ? (I’d heard of Didi, but not of those two guys.)

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Whoops, flipped things: the reliever and the 1Bman….

        • King Jeff

          Arizona must have really soured on Bauer since he was called up. This is crazier than the KC/TB deal.

        • ncsujuri

          Luke, with AZ trading two relievers as part of this deal would you say this increases the likelihood that Peralta sticks with them and we lose him permanently?

        • terencemann

          I’m really surprised, too. They could have gone after someone who seems like closer to a first division starter with Bauer.

  • Twiz

    Cubs really could have done Barney for Bauer.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Probably not. Gregorius is thought to be a very good fielding SS, and he probably will have a bit more pop than Barney. Gregorius is an out-machine, but he probably will not be as big an out-machine as Barney is. And, of course, he’s only 22 and gives his team 6 full years of control, whereas Barney is 27 and “only” 4 years of team control. That said, AZ should have gotten more than Gregorious (and yet again more than Barney) for Bauer.

      The big probable loser in this is, once again, Texas! Well, at any rate, rumor had put them in with these 3 teams and with Upton going to Texas with Andrus going to AZ.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      Bauer really ticked off Kirk Gibson and the coaching staff. Word is he is a royal pain the ***. Prima donna city. Minor league coaches warned them. Wanted to keep pitching up in the zone like he did in college. Coaches tried to work with him, teach him that to get out major league hitters, he would have to change speeds more and keep the ball down. Pretty much told them to stick it, he knew how to pitch.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Good minor league pitching coaches know how to handle that. They see it all the time.

        • RoughRiider

          But apparently the major league pitching coach and the catcher didn’t know how to handle it. I’ve been expecting Bauer to be traded since the season ended.

          • JR

            I would be all for the Cubs trading for uber talented, royal pain in the ass type players. I am so sick of hearing about locker room chemistry, and good club house guy. Who cares?? I want studs, and could care less if they’re dbags. The Dbacks are just stupid for trying to trade talented players because they aren’t getting along with managers.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              I like Keith Law’s comment: the DBacks are confusing intelligence with bad makeup.

              • JR

                I like Keith Law’s comment: the DBacks are confusing intelligence with bad makeup.

                Yes, it seems the Dbacks take everything way to personal. I would be so pissed if i was a Dback fan right now. Gregorius blows offensively.

                • JR

                  I need to work on my quotes. Got them mixed up. ha…

            • hansman1982

              The only thing you need to remember – the 2004 Red Sox that drank every game were a loose bunch of guys – the 2011 Red Sox that drank every game were a lose bunch of guys.

  • ssckelley

    This makes no sense, we would be all over the FO if the Cubs could get an outfielder with that production for 10 million over 2 years. Instead they are going to PAY another team to take that deal only to get very little in return. If Soriano was a free agent he would get more then that. He is healthy, improved his defense, and is coming off a MVP type season.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Hey the Phillies have Ben Revere, Domonic Brown and Darren Ruf. Why would they ever need a hitter like Soriano in that power packed outfield? Nice bluff Amaro, don’t think Theo and the boys are buying it. They don’t sign a Ross or Swisher, they have a AAA outfield.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Now the Rangers say it’s “highly unlikely” Upton gets traded… The dominos seem to be falling into place for an Olt to Cubs trade. Just got to get Garza back and healthy.(or do Shark for Olt and Buckel right now…)

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      *Diamondbacks, not Rangers.

    • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

      What are you smoking someday…2015??

      • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

        Not anything stronger then what the Royals and Diamondbacks GMs were smoking…

        • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

          Well, they are smoking a much better farm system and overall team then we are. Not sure this front office is going to trade for Olt after re-signing Stewart, maybe this summer if Stewart doesn’t pan out. I wouldn’t want to trade Shark just yet.

          • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

            I agree with you on Shark. My thought is that Garza could get healthy, pitch to his potential in spring training/regular season and the Rangers could overpay to get him.(Maybe Olt and Buckel) The Rangers are closer to a world series then the D-backs and Royals. They might be a team to overpay in a trade to put their major league team over the top… Especially if they can’t re-sign Hamilton.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    WOW the Reds just acquired….Trevor Bauer. I don’t want him pitching in our division for years to come. AND they got shin-soo choo. They won out big time

    • ssckelley

      I think Cleveland got Bauer.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Nvm, my b

  • ryan

    The indians got bauer, not the reds.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Bauer is going to the Indians with Drew Stubbs.

    • Brad

      Where does it says Stubbs

  • jesus zuniga

    Pay what have too.but get brown.

  • http://facebook #1cubsfan2013

    correct me if im wrong but since the dbacks traded bauer for Gregorius they have there SS now wouldnt it be easyer to trade for upton now

  • http://facebook #1cubsfan2013

    thank about this trade offer J. Samardzija,B.Jackson,D.Barney, C.Villanueva for J.Upton,Matt.Davidson and David Holmberg

  • http://facebook #1cubsfan2013

    how about we eat alot of marmol’s and soriano’s contracts and trade them for George Springer Carlos Perez

  • steve

    Wow Bauer for that return? I’m sure we cooulda gave them Lake, Marmol, and a boatload of cash for Bauer and a mid tier prospect. This guy is gonna be good with some experience in the majors. He, Shark, Wood, Baker, and Feldman would look good to go into the season with. Hell with a deal to get Bauer, then the Soriano for Brown deal, and then Garza for Olt, we’d be looking young, with a promising core. With Rizzo-Barney-Castro-Olt-Castillo-Brown-DeJesus-Schierholtz seems promising with a lotta potential to be extremely good in a year or so.

    • ssckelley

      I think the key players for the Diamondbacks to get in return was Gregorius who is considered one of the top shortstop prospects and is MLB ready. Lake is a much better hitter but still needs work defensively and is now considered more of a 3rd base prospect. I would have loved for the Cubs to get Bauer but I think the Diamondbacks would have wanted Castro in return.

      • JR

        I just looked up Gregorius’s numbers in the minors and they suck. That dude doesn’t even run. He must have an Ozzie Smith type glove to make up for that weak bat… How do the Cubs get in on some of these stupid trades? I am looking at you Arizona and K.C.

        • ssckelley

          I agree, his defensive numbers are solid so perhaps that is what the D-Backs are looking at. He only had 18 errors between AA and AAA in 501 chances.

          Seeing Gregorius get Bauer makes me wonder what Castro would fetch.

  • http://Cubs John78154

    Brett…the stars are aligned. Is today (12/12/12) the day the Cubs deal #12?

  • OlderStyle

    Philly questions Soriano’s defense? UZR says that Soriano was better than Mike Trout last year.

    • NCMoss

      We do have a smaller outfield. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when he wouldn’t accept a trade to San Francisco. The outfield there is huge.

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