There are apparently a bevy of scouts today in Mesa to watch the Cubs take on Team Japan (to which I say: well, how many of them are there to watch prospective Japanese imports?), and Nick Cafardo implies that many of them are there to observe Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano. Cafardo goes so far as to say that the Yankees and Phillies are “on the radar” for Soriano, although there haven’t yet been any substantive talks.
That the Yankees and Phillies would be “on the radar” in Soriano trade talks is not surprising, as we’ve discussed them as fits for Soriano for quite some time. The Yankees have needed a right-handed power bat in the outfield/at DH for quite some time, and the urgency has ticked up in recent weeks as they’ve seen Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira both go down with relatively short-term injuries. The Phillies have arguably needed Soriano all offseason long, as the only right-handed power bat they landed for their outfield hole is Delmon Young, who is injured and unpredictable.
That all said, it’s fair to wonder whether Cafardo’s report will be impacted by the simultaneous news, according to multiple sources, that the Yankees have agreed to terms with recently-released outfielder Brennan Boesch. The lefty made sense for the Yanks given their injuries, but does he really fill their full season need like Soriano could? It’s tough to say, but I’d think their urgency would pull back a bit. I guess we’ll find out more in the coming days.
Soriano is under contract with the Cubs through 2014 at $18 million per year, but the Cubs are believed to be willing to eat a substantial portion of that money in order to get talent back in trade. Soriano has full no-trade rights, but could be willing to accept a deal to the right team. He has suggested, however, that he’d rather wait and see how the Cubs do in the first few months of the season before agreeing to a trade.