alfonso soriano hittingAs expected, when Curtis Granderson’s forearm buckled under a fastball kiss, the Alfonso Soriano/Yankees rumors exploded almost as immediately as that piece of bone. Granderson is expected back in just 10 weeks, though, so the rumors say as much about the time of year – there are usually relatively few rumors right now – as they do about the likelihood of an actual trade.

Still, the possibility of a Spring Soriano trade is on the table, and that possibility ticked up slightly yesterday.

  • Soriano was asked about the possibility of a trade to the Yankees after the Granderson injury, and he said he wasn’t sure what he’d do. “I don’t know,” he told the media. “[Granderson’s injury] happened today, and I don’t know if they want to call or not. If they call for me, I have to think about it. I don’t want to make a quick reaction and say ‘yeah’ or say ‘no.’ I want to think about it. I’m 37 years old so I have to think first what’s good for me and for the team and for my family, too …. I don’t want to say no; I want to think about it first. There isn’t a contender yet. There’s a lot of good teams that have an 80, 90 percent chance to make the playoffs. We’ll see. Today is the second game of Spring Training, and there’s a lot of games and a lot of days to go, and I believe we have a better chance than last year.” To me, that sounds like a guy who actually would give pretty strong consideration to accepting a trade to the Yankees today if it came before him. But he still might say no.
  • That said, Soriano emphasized – as you would expect him to – that he wants to give this Cubs team a chance to win, first. “At the Trade Deadline last year, there were six, seven teams that were contenders. Now, it’s 2013, and no contenders because the season hasn’t started yet. I have to see how we play first, the Cubs, and after that, maybe a couple months, if we’re not playing good, they can decide what they want to do with me …. The first thing for me is to see the Cubs in the playoffs this year. I’m not thinking about another team; I’m not thinking I want to get traded. I just want to stay here and make the playoffs and go to the World Series with this team …. I want to give it one more chance. I want to win here. It’s been a long time not winning. I signed here to win and I prepared my mind from the first day I signed the contract to win a World Series here. If I go somewhere else, I want to feel good, but my dream is winning here.” It’s hard to blame him, given that it’s still just March and the Cubs do look at least a little bit better on paper this year.
  • That all said, Jon Heyman wrote an incredibly strongly worded piece about the Yankees’ current need for Soriano. It’s a long, thorough piece, but the gist is this: the Yankees need Soriano, they’ve needed him even before the Granderson injury, Soriano is underrated, it’s ridiculous that the Yankees wouldn’t part with a “good” prospect for Soriano, and the Yankees should try to get a deal done right now, rather than waiting things out. Keep in mind that Cubs rumors and Yankees rumors move the needle, and when a national writer has the opportunity to pair the two, he’ll take it. So you have to regard Heyman’s forcefulness about a trade with some level of caution. Still, all of his points are legit.
  • (I’m still waiting to see someone – preferably a New York writer – take on the money issue, though. Heyman notes that the Cubs are willing to eat $26 million of the $36 million Soriano’s owed, which is all well and good, but are the Yankees really able/willing to take on that other $10 million? In order to get under the $189 million luxury cap in 2014 – which the Yankees are eager to do for many complex financial reasons that go beyond the scope of this post – the Yanks are really, really going to have to scrimp and save at the margins next year. $5 million owed to Soriano could actually be a serious problem, as crazy as that sounds.)
  • If the Yankees are half as desperate as Heyman makes them out to be, the Cubs should set about convincing Soriano that heading to New York right now is the right move. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not eager to see the Cubs trade Soriano right now, and certainly not just for the sake of trading him. But if the Yankees are desperate, and the Cubs are being honest about their 2013 chances, this might be their best opportunity to maximize Soriano’s value. The Yankees already had a need for a right-handed outfield bat (and part-time DH), as, even with Granderson, they go with three regular lefties in the outfield (and not a lot of power).
  • But, if the Yankees aren’t desperate, and if their offer wouldn’t be of the kind you can’t refuse, then I have no issue with the Cubs continuing the course: hold onto Soriano until the Trade Deadline, at least. Maybe his value increases by way of his performance or by way of other teams’ needs. Maybe the Cubs, with Soriano’s help, are miraculously within a stone’s throw of contention.
  • Keep in mind: the Yankees would probably have to convince Soriano that he would not have a severely reduced role once Granderson returned from injury, too. Plenty of wrinkles to this, even if it seems so obvious on its face …
  • Bill Shaikin says, by the way, that the Yankees probably won’t be interested in Vernon Wells as a short-term substitute and long-term righty complement. This doesn’t really mean much in the Soriano market, I’d think, because Soriano is the far superior player.
  • beerhelps

    Is it possible for the Cubs to pay all but $9 million this year, then $1 million next?

    • Danny Ballgame

      I was thinking the same thing. There should be a way around the Yankees pay roll issues

    • Brett

      Contracts, for luxury tax purposes, are calculated at their annual rate (less any money you receive from a trading team). So, my understanding is no. It wouldn’t matter. The only way to keep less than $5M on the Yanks’ books in 2014 for Soriano is for the Cubs to include more than $26M.

      • MightyBear

        Here’s a question: Can the Cubs pay 10 million of Soriano’s salary in 2013 and 0 in 2014 and thus keep the money off the Yankees books in 2014 for Luxury Tax purposes?

        • Brett

          No. That’s what I just answered. $10M in 2013 and 0 in 2014 is $5M annually for luxury tax purposes.

          • MightyBear

            Oh sorry. I was posting that as you answered and didn’t read everything before I posted. We were in cross cyber space.

            • Brett

              No prob – your question was apt.

      • 2much2say

        The Yankees could also defer Sorianos payments over 10 years

      • CubFan Paul

        So, whatever money the Cubs don’t pay ($10M) is divided evenly over 2013 & 2014 ($5M)?

        So, to make Sori a major league minimum player in 2014 the Cubs would have to eat $34M, leaving $1M for ’13 and $1M for ‘2014?

        • Brett

          That is my understanding, yes. MLB doesn’t want teams playing games with the luxury tax cap, so they’ve tried to avoid situations like this.

          • CubFan Paul

            Damn. I was thinking Theo&Co would have to make Sori a $3M a year player ($5M in ’13 & $1M in ’14) because of age/risk.

            • Brett

              They could structure the payments that way, I believe, but, yeah, for luxury tax purposes, it doesn’t matter.

              • CubFan Paul

                Thanks. That helps to better identify Sori’s market.

  • Morken

    Soriano isn’t going to the Yankees.

    The Yankees are budget conscious now, more than ever. Taking on Soriano for a few seasons simply because Granderson is out for 30-ish regular season games, doesn’t make much sense.

    Besides, a trade with the Yankees doesn’t make much sense for the Cubs, either. The Yankees will refuse to part with any prospect even remotely considered valuable.

    • Bigg J

      It makes a lot of sense. The Yanks have no power in the OF. They have an aging Ichiro and speedy Gardner. They no right handed power either with ARod going down. 5 mil for a power bat like Soriano is a steal (look how much Ross got). The Yanks are only looking at budget this year so they can get under cap for 1 year and then spend huge next year. I am guessing if they add a major prospect the Cubs wouldn’t mind eating more salary.

      • Morken

        Soriano would also qualify as “aging”.

        Granderson is only out for 30 days, not the entire season.

  • someday…2015?

    If the Yankees are desperate but not willing to give away Gary Sanchez i would like to see the Cubs go high risk, high reward and go after Banuleos and Betances.

  • cubsin

    I don’t really expect the Cubs to look like serious contenders at the trade deadline, but I think they’ll be within shouting distance of .500 and well-placed to get full value for any of their veteran players. I don’t think we’ll see a repeat of last year’s yard sale.

  • lamron

    “rumors exploded almost as immediately as that piece of bone”. You feel good about yourself after writing that Brett? Kind of a bitchy thing to say, no?

    • Brett

      No? And no?

      In what way is it bitchy? I’m not celebrating his injury, rather remarking on how quickly folks seize upon injuries as rumor fodder.

      • lamron

        seems a bit sarcastic, no?

        • TWC

          Seems like you’re unfamiliar with what is and what is not sarcasm, no?

        • miggy80

          How about “poetic”? So go ahead and fling your comments toward the naked unmolested comment board like hot bowl of spaghetti

      • cubsnivy56

        Bitchy…nope, sarcastic…..nah, I thought the visual of the bone shattering in comparison to the immediate explosion of trade rumors was …..kinda right on, corny….maybe.

        • TWC

          Corny? From Ace? ::shock::

          • Brett

            I’ll take corny.

    • Bigg J

      Well I think we know who is being the little bitch here

    • Morken

      Eh, I could see you writing a piece scolding an opposing team’s fan base, had they written the same.

      It was a little much.

      • Brett

        My eyes just rolled out of the back of my head.

        • TWC


          • hansman1982

            Who’s the bitch now?

            • BluBlud

              My female Red Nosed Pitbull just got offended.

        • Morken

          How manly of you; an “eye roll”.

          Someone just got injured doing what they love, delaying their ability to start the job they love, on time, and possiblly decreasing their abilities for an extended period of time; coinciding with their last season before free agency… Maybe not the best time to use their injury as a descriptive.

          • Brett

            This is, perhaps, one of the more absurd criticisms I’ve faced – and I’ve faced plenty.

            To suggest that it is somehow inappropriate to write about the rampant Soriano-Yankees rumors that popped immediately following, and because of, the Granderson injury is bizarre, to put it kindly. Injuries are an important part of the game. I don’t celebrate them. I write about them. It happened. It could impact the Cubs. I wrote about it. And, as you say, I’m good at it.

          • miggy80

            Way to invoke your righteousness of protecting an injured player while demonstrating your ability to Judge a man by the gesture he makes. I would say that Bret is plenty manly just look at his gravitar.

      • lamron

        Thank You Dr. Morken

        • Morken

          You’re welcome, cuckold lamron.

          Does Brett ever let you join in?

          • Brett

            It’s possible I have. “lamron” has changed his name so many times it’s hard to keep up …

            • Morken

              Stick to writing about baseball; you’re good at it.

              Basketball, comedy, anything at all that deviates from baseball… Avoid!

              • Boogens

                “Stick to writing about baseball; you’re good at it.”

                The mighty Oz has spoken.

            • Bigg J

              Wait! Wait! Is morken larmon?

          • hansman1982

            Wait a minute…

            Either you just slandered his wife, outed his sexual preference on BN or are the same person.

            Obvious Troll is Obvious.

            • Cubbie Blues

              I was thinking the same thing. Although, I doubt he actually knows what it means.

          • Tommy

            Nothing like picking some nits. Last I checked, this is Brett’s site. If you don’t like what he writes, feel free to not read it. Having an opinion is one thing – being a jerk is an entirely different matter.

            • Morken

              Brett’s “cuckold minions” are out in full force.

              Playing on a person’s injury in order to convey a descriptive, is in poor taste. If Granderson was in the room, would you voice such a statement? Of course not.

              Everyone understands that you were trying to express how quickly trade chatter goes into motion. It was HOW you expressed such sentiment that was in poor taste.

              I do like your BASEBALL writing; you’re quite knowledgeable. However, you struggle when you stray from the path. Stick to baseball!

              • Bigg J

                Damn, do you ever just shut up? Why don’t you do what you do and stop critiquing everything he does. He can write whatever he wants to write on here and if you 2 dont like it then go somewhere else and write about your own stuff, then you can include anything you want.

              • TWC

                So if folks here think that you present yourself as an argumentative, whiny douche who nitpicks Ace’s innocuous asides they’re “cuckold minions”?

                Perhaps you should look into getting the fuck over yourself.

    • Cubbie Blues

      lameron, have you read much of Brett’s writing? He in now way is “bitchy” about subjects. (Unless you want to start talking about popped collars.)

  • MightyBear

    Whether they trade him or not, Soriano is a very classy individual and I like his comments about the Cubs. Moreover, I believe he is sincere when he says he wants to win in Chicago with the Cubs. I don’t think he’s giving the fans lip service like some other players who shall be nameless.

  • Bigg J

    If the Cubs get a good prosepect then I would jump all over it. I wouldn’t give him away either. On other hand I don’t want to hold onto Soriano because we all know how he can destroy his trade value real quick. He had a great year last year and his trade value is as high (I believe) as it can be currently. The only chance the Cubs have this year is to be the Orioles or A’s of last year and that is not a good way to look at the year. If the trade is there then go for it.

  • DB Kyle

    Only way I’m interested in trading Soriano in spring training is if they are ready to give Jackson the CF job and move DeJesus to LF. Otherwise, there’s no need to create a hole before the season even starts. You can always firesale in July.

    • Chris

      Soriano’s value might be at an all-time high for his Cubs tenure right now. If you wait until July, you run the risk of his performance falling back to previous levels, or that of a 37ish player with a history of leg problems.

      • DB Kyle

        His value right now is a kind of interesting prospect, presuming we eat most of the salary. I’m willing to risk losing that for the production he brings to the lineup in a season in which we are not yet out of it.

      • Edwin

        Plus, the closer it is to the trade deadline means the less games Soriano will be able to play for a potential suitor. The Cubs plan on eating a large portion of Soriano’s salary regardless of who they trade him for, so unless he starts the year hitting even better than last year, his value has nowhere to go but down.

    • CubFan Paul

      The best hitting coach (sveum) is on the major league staff and BJax’s new swing does look like it’ll translate, so I’d be interested in a Sori/Yanks deal now.

      Theo&Co will firesale in July regardless.

    • Rcleven

      Got to agree. Al will have much more value at the trade deadline.
      Jackson should have no bearing though.
      Loss of production out of left I think is more important. Where does that production come from? Guess I can learn to live without if for July thru Sept.

      • DB Kyle

        Ideally, it comes from DeJesus. That’s why Jackson being able to start in CF would be so nice. DeJesus is playing out of position in center and would fit much more nicely in LF.

        • Cubbie Blues

          DeJesus would make up for the loss of Soriano’s production?

  • JR

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think the Yankees are going to suck this year? That team is full of old dudes whose best days are way behind them. Not much there to get excited about other than Cano.

  • Mike Taylor (no relation)

    CF Gardner (L)
    RF Suzuki (L)
    1B Teixeira (S)
    2B Cano (L)
    3B Youkilis
    SS Jeter
    C Cervelli / Stewart
    DH Hafner (L)
    IF Nunez
    IF Joseph (L)
    CF Almonte (S) [hit 21 HR, .277/.322/.487 in AA ’12]

    If they’re going to go the free agent route, I’d say Scott Posednik, Carlos Lee, or Bobby Abreu would be cheap enough to add to their roster. I saw that Eduardo Nunez has played a handful of games in LF for the Yankees, so that may be a possibility.

  • Stu

    Cubs could put Hairston in LF, DeJesus in CF and Schierholtz/Sappelt in RF.

    Jackson call up in July if new swing working. Soriano for salary relief and a B-level prospect. Sounds like a good plan.

    • Cheryl

      I’m not so sure about Jackson. He coud be part of a future trade.

  • Farley Flash

    Castilo Put this future lineup together

  • Die hard

    Need a sweetener- this could be heresy here but Soriano and Soler to Yankees with Yankees paying entire Soriano contract and give Cubs 4 top prospects from AA

    • David

      Why would they do that?

      The Cubs aren’t looking to dump salary. They’re trying to acquire assets and are willing to pay a huge amount of it in order to get more assets. Throwing in Soler to get them to eat more salary would be horrific beyond words.

    • BWA

      Yankees are trying to cut payroll and soler is expensive.

    • Rebuilding

      Why in the world would the Cubs ship Soler anywhere? If its Soriano for their catching prospect Sanchez then ok, but the Cubs aren’t anywhere near trading prospects to dump salary. In my mind Soler is really underrated given the success Cespedas had last year. To me he’s a Top 15 prospect on an aggressive, bus possibly advantageous contract

  • nkniacc13

    Soler is likely to be better than any prospect the cubs would get back

  • Rebuilding

    Right now… Based on projections you have:

    C – Castillo
    1b – Rizzo
    2b – Barney/Watkins/Lake
    3b – Baez
    SS – Castro
    LF – Jackson
    CF – Almora
    RF – Soler

    SP – ?
    SP – Smardj
    SP – Appel/Mannea
    SP – Jackson
    SP – Johnson/Blackburn/Maples/Paniagua/Surprise

    RP – we can build that when we compete

    Point being – will they all work, of course not, but given the cost control we’ll have we can fill the holes

    • Rebuilding

      This team is going to be sick in two years. If Almora/Soler/Jackson work out then the amount of cost controlled taken we will have is second to none.

      • Bric

        Unless the admin makes some major moves in the next two years, even if Almora, Soler, and Jackson pan out and are added to Castro and Rizzo we’ll still be left with the Brewers of about 3 years ago. Pretty powerful lineup and a bunch of question marks on the mound.

        Seriously, right now at all levels of this team there is not one pitcher that you can look at and say “oh yeah… that’s a win”. Sick is good word for what it will look like.

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