alfonso soriano hittingUsually, when Nick Cafardo (or any other person covering a beat) says something generic like this

Alfonso Soriano, LF, Cubs — Always on the trading block, Soriano could still be moved before spring training, as teams like the Orioles and Rangers look to make last-minute moves to improve. Soriano belted 32 homers and knocked in 108 runs for the 101-loss Cubs, who continue to be willing to assume the bulk of the contract for a fair return.

… I don’t take too much note. It looks like he’s just offering some thoughts, as opposed to reporting things he’s heard. Interesting, I suppose, but connecting Soriano to the Rangers and Orioles in a this-could-make-sense kind of way doesn’t really take much digging.

But when, seemingly out of nowhere, Carrie Muskat picks up the story, I start to listen. From Carrie:

There were reports Sunday that the Orioles and Rangers were interested in adding a right-handed bat, and that they have inquired about Alfonso Soriano. The Boston Globe reported the interest by the two teams in the veteran, who turned 37 earlier this month, and who would be a good fit for an American League team, which could use him as a designated hitter. Soriano does have a full no trade clause, so he would have to approve a move. He has two years remaining on his contract.

Just stirring things up on a slow Sunday? Just happened to see this Cafardo piece and thought she would share?

Maybe. It has been my experience that Carrie is generally reluctant to jump feet first into the rumor game, particularly where something looks as thin as what Cafardo said. Not only did Carrie highlight and repeat the Cafardo report, she ostensibly added that the Rangers and Orioles “have inquired” about Soriano. Given the broad range of front offices’ efforts in the offseason, I have no doubt that’s true. The question is whether this is just Cafardo-driven chit-chat, or whether Carrie has heard whispers that she is disinclined to describe in too much detail.

Ultimately, I can’t say. As we’ve discussed here before at length, Soriano makes a great deal of sense for the Orioles, who’ve done very little to upgrade their luck-driven playoff roster of 2012. The Rangers make a touch less sense, given their depth of hitters (deep enough to possibly push Mike Olt out of the mix), but they, too, have had a thin offseason.

With the addition of Scott Hairston, the Cubs have some increased cover for trading Soriano, though the resulting outfield – Hairston-DeJesus-Schierholtz – would be among the weakest in the bigs. A more interesting scenario has the Cubs trading Soriano, moving David DeJesus to left field, and signing Michael Bourn to play center field. I don’t think such a sequence is likely or necessarily advisable, but it is certainly interesting.

I think the Cubs will continue to shop Soriano, hoping to land actual value for the 37-year-old left-field who’s coming off one of his best seasons in recent memory. Although dealing Soriano would probably be a major hit to the teams’ chances to be competitive in 2013, I’m still not convinced 2013 is really the focus. I also don’t really think Soriano makes the difference between a competitive team and a non-competitive one. (Another also: we don’t know what the Cubs might get in return for Soriano – it could conceivably represented a roster neutral move, depending on the personnel.)

  • 2much2say

    I am sure the Cubs will have no problem finding a 30+ 100+ over the next 2 years even if he is 2nd baseman (Cano)

  • Tyler Brown

    When It comes to Soriano I feel like we should let him go, but then again its Alfonso. He sure knew how to gain his way into are hearts!

  • Nickydee

    Rangers might be looking for another outfield bat for 50 games or so, with Nelly Cruz being linked to the PED scandal out of Miami…

    • MichiganGoat

      He has to test positive in order to get suspended. This Miami story will not result in any player being suspended and there are questions about the validity of that report. Nobody will be suspended because of it… Maybe humiliated or hurt but MLB will not suspend them based on suspicion.

      • cubbiesOHcubbies

        that isn’t true. They were speaking of this exact thing this morning on the Mike and Mike show on ESPN and they named three players, Manny Ramirez being one of them, that have been suspended for 50 games for substantial proof of ped usage. While none of them actually FAILED a test, they were all suspended after an MLB investigation found sufficient information to beleive they had indeed used. I am not sure the specifics but according to the radio this morning, there is a past history, granted a small history, of suspensions without an actual failed test.

  • Die hard

    Upcoming drug suspensions will open up mkt for Sori

  • Dale

    Moving Soriano would be a mistake , if we are going to pay a team to take a proven and productive player with good offensive numbers who is a leader in the clubhouse and can help the younger cubbies with their game , and lord knows they need a leader , Theo , get your head out of your a$$ , Soriano has 2 years left on his contract and it makes no sense to pay a team to take one of our most valuable offensive weapons and get nothing in return. I don’t see the logic in even considering such a move.

    • DarthHater

      Whoever said anything about getting nothing in return? There is zero evidence that Theo is willing to trade Soriano for a poor return.