As referenced in this morning’s stream of updates to the overnight report from the New York Post that the Cubs and Yankees were “close” to completing a trade that would send Alfonso Soriano to the Yankees, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer was on MLBN Radio this morning and addressed the rumor directly.
“We’ve had discussions with different teams about [Soriano], but there’s nothing close at all,” Hoyer told Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette. “That’s one of those rumors you wake up to and you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s interesting, I didn’t know we’d done that.’ [Talks] aren’t as advanced as those reports make it seem.”
Hoyer probably wouldn’t tell the world even if the Cubs were close a trade involving Soriano – it’s not really in the Cubs’ interest to do so – but, for now, we’ve got to take him at his word. Discussions are likely ongoing, and a deal could theoretically be struck at any moment, but we may not need to be on pins and needles on this one.
Hoyer added that he was conducting the interview from the airport, where he was waiting for his flight to Arizona to join the team. He indicated, when asked about whether he’s talked to Soriano about any deals specifically or generally (Soriano has no-trade rights), that he would probably talk to Soriano once he got to Arizona. That certainly makes you think that, whether it’s this Yankees deal or something else, the Cubs do feel like trading Soriano is going to be a near-term possibility.
Hopefully, more teams than just the Yankees are involved, giving the Cubs a variety of options. Soriano has been as hot as any player in baseball for the last few weeks, so it would be unsurprising – assuming the Cubs eat salary – to find that a few teams are interested in adding his bat.
UPDATE (1:25pm CT): I don’t necessarily expect to be doing rolling updates on this for the rest of the day, but Joel Sherman shared a bit, so I’ll at least do one update … according to Sherman, one player in whom the Cubs have previously expressed interest is infielder David Adams. He’s got an unusual story, being that he’s already 26 and is at AAA for the first time. As a college draftee, he got a late start, and then missed time in 2010 and 2011 with a serious ankle injury. He then missed time in 2012 with back spasms, but made up for it a bit in the Arizona Fall League. He was a roster casualty in early 2013 (Vernon Wells – the Yankees preferred to have Vernon Wells on the 40-man roster), so he’s already been derostered once. On the upside, he has pretty much always hit when healthy, especially for a guy who can play second base. But this is a fringe roster guy, not a prospect. That is not to say he’s not a guy you’d love to get on a minor league deal, but he’s not the kind of guy you make the focus of a trade involving Soriano and a ton of cash (especially given how advantageous this deal could be for the Yankees, financially). Sherman concedes that he’s not sure if Adams would be involved in this deal.
UPDATE 2 (1:50pm CT): Maybe this will become another rolling update piece … Peter Gammons (noted Boston connections, cough) reports that not only is Jed Hoyer headed to Arizona today, but so is Theo Epstein. Gammons says the two men are going to speak with Soriano about a possible deal, and that, eventually, a deal with the Yankees is likely. There’s still a “ways to go.” If both Hoyer and Epstein are going to the lengths to head to Arizona so they can meet with Soriano face to face, you can book it that they’ll be having a serious conversation. That does not necessarily mean they are seeking his approval on a specific trade. It could mean that the conversations with the Yankees – or other teams – have reached such a level that finding out where Soriano is willing to go is now necessary. That’s a conversation you want to have face-to-face, especially if you feel like the trade will be important for the future of the organization.
UPDATE 3 (2:25pm CT): Phil Rogers makes a very good point: because the Cubs had some difficulties last year navigating Ryan Dempster’s 10-5 no-trade rights, they don’t want to have that same issue this year. What exactly happened with Dempster varies depending on whom you ask, but we can be sure that the process probably helps Epstein and Hoyer this time around. Unless there’s a specific deal for Soriano to approve today when they meet with him – and indications from Hoyer are that a deal hasn’t reached that stage – the front office will make certain to find out exactly which teams Soriano would accept a trade to (or which teams the Cubs need to ask him about on a case-by-case basis), and under exactly what circumstances he’d accept a trade. They’re going to know what’s what before they actually finalize a deal.
UPDATE 4 (3:37pm CT): Nick Cafardo’s sources tell him a Yanks/Cubs deal on Soriano is just 50-50. Other teams remain involved, even if the Yankees are the favorite.