Alfonso Soriano has had the appropriate conversations with Chicago Cubs management about the possibility of a trade, and the 37-year-old outfielder is apparently now on board.
Soriano, who is sitting out tonight – purportedly on a regularly-scheduled day off – met with Theo Epstein and Dale Sveum last night (Carrie Muskat) and confirmed that he was willing to accept a trade to certain teams, one of which is the New York Yankees. That, of course, is notable, because Soriano/Yankees rumors have been swirling since the wee hours of Tuesday morning.
With only one more year left on his contract with the Cubs, and seeing that the team is not going to compete for a playoff spot this year – and maybe not next year, either – Soriano told the media that, while he’s comfortable in Chicago, “sometimes we have to move.” (Patrick Mooney) When asked about how serious a trade possibility now seems, Soriano wouldn’t call it 100%, but said it’s the closest it’s been in recent years. (Carrie Muskat)
Although it may not happen tonight, it now very much sounds like Soriano will be dealt before next Wednesday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline (though, with his contract, he’d be easy enough to trade in August, as well). The Cubs have been fielding calls from teams other than the Yankees, and it remains to be seen – if ever – what teams are on Soriano’s list. We know, for now, only about the Yankees. And, let’s be frank, trading Soriano to the Yankees makes sense for so many reasons that they are probably the strong favorite.
UPDATE: Soriano tells the media (Carrie Muskat) that today’s day off was Dale Sveum’s idea, and was to give Soriano a chance to “clear his mind.” That strikes me as a very good, respectful approach.
UPDATE 2 (8:18pm CT): Theo Epstein tells Carrie Muskat that Soriano asked for a couple days to think things over before anything becomes official, so we won’t be hearing anything tonight (about Soriano officially being on board with a hypothetical trade, let alone the completion of an actual trade; that said, it sounds like he’s OK with a trade to the Yankees, even if he wants a little time to sleep on it). “He’ll let us know where he’ll go, if anywhere. At that point, it’s up to us if we want to move forward and finalize a deal,” Epstein told Muskat. So, there may or may not be a specific deal on the table with the Yankees. All we know is that the Cubs expect to know from Soriano within the next couple of days where he’ll definitively accept a trade, and the Cubs can finalize things from there – with whichever team – if they are so inclined. It sounds almost like a formal pre-approval for a trade – maybe it’s something the Cubs want after being burned by the informal nature of their discussions with Ryan Dempster last year.