Alfonso Soriano is Thinking Things Over, and Theo Epstein Suggests Now Might Be Right Time for Trade

alfonso soriano hittingAlfonso Soriano received a day off yesterday, in part to clear his head and think about the next step for him. The 37-year-old outfielder has met with Cubs management, and is in the process of formally informing the club of the teams to which he would be willing to approve a trade. Having such a list would help the Cubs negotiate deals involving Soriano on a going-forward basis, although many believe a deal to the Yankees is inevitable.

President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein spoke to the media about the situation last night, and he was, as usual, strikingly candid.

“There was really no talk of a list,” Epstein said, per CSN. “We just kind of outlined the different options for Sori. He asked for two or three days to think things over. [He’ll] let us know where he’ll go – if anywhere –  and then at that point it’s up to us if we want to go forward with finalizing a deal …. We told him how much we respect him and appreciate everything he’s done here, and that sometimes there’s a natural time to move on to clear opportunities for younger players [and] get him into a pennant race.”

From there, Epstein went on to reiterate that he’d told Soriano that this might be the right time to move on, particularly in light of Junior Lake’s emergence and other players soon returning to the outfield, including Ryan Sweeney and Brian Bogusevic. You can read more of Epstein’s and Soriano’s thoughts in CSN’s account, Bruce Levine’s accountCarrie Muskat’s account, as well as the Tribune’s account.

If I’m reading Epstein’s words correctly, and inferring no more than reasonable, it sounds like the organization has bluntly explained to Soriano that they’d like to start getting longer-term looks at younger guys, and that if he wants a chance to win in the next year and a half, he would be advised to accept a trade now. Although that may sound harsh, I tend to believe that the front office really is thinking of Soriano in the process, even if the organization’s needs are the priority. This may well be Soriano’s last chance at a playoff run, and all sides would probably like to see him get that chance, if the Cubs can send him somewhere he is comfortable. Even Soriano suggested he would like another playoff shot, and it doesn’t look like that will happen with the Cubs.

It feels like – based on nothing more than how this situation has developed, and the rumors that have emerged – Soriano will be headed to the Yankees soon. It’s possible that the market for Soriano is not as robust as we might like, and it’s also possible that Soriano is willing to go to fewer teams than we might like. In that situation, and assuming the Cubs do believe they have an organizational interest in moving on and seeing other players this and next year, the return in a Soriano deal might not be all that exciting. I do think the Cubs should hold the Yankees’ financial feet to the fire on this one if the luxury tax benefit is legit, but I would understand if the Cubs get little more than a little bit of a salary relief and a decent relief prospect. That would make me wonder, however, what the plan is for 2014, given that Soriano remains relatively productive, and a great veteran presence in the clubhouse.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, as there isn’t even yet a deal to report and dissect. For now, all we know is that discussions are ongoing with the Yankees and perhaps other teams, and the Cubs seem to be nudging Soriano in the direction of a trade (for their own benefit, and for his).

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

229 responses to “Alfonso Soriano is Thinking Things Over, and Theo Epstein Suggests Now Might Be Right Time for Trade”

  1. David Price

    Maybe I’m being to quick to give up on castro now that I think about it actually…..But that OBP and Fielding % really bothers me

  2. Fishin Phil

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I need a Lukewarm Stove right about now!

    1. Jp3

      I feel like this must be the calm before the storm. It seems too quiet to be right before the trade deadline.

      1. On The Farm

        I am really questioning how many more peices will move at this point. I saw a story today on MLBTR that Boston is content with their bullpen depth. It just seems like a very quiet year in general.

  3. David

    I would add Soler.

    Soler, Castro, Volgenbach for Price. Throw in Hendricks?
    Let’s assume we’ll have a top 3 minor league system by the end of the year. If we trade the above guys, what will that make us? #8, #10??? That’s not so bad.

    Will getting Price get us to the playoffs in 2014? No. We need to shore up the bullpen and get a lot better on offense. That may come as soon as next year with Bryant, Lake, another year of maturity from Rizzo, late in the year call ups: Alcantera?

    2015 would look really nice….

    1. Chef Brian

      Did someone let Hendry back in the building? We just got a lot of these players and people are already selling them off before we even figure out what we have in them. You don’t gut tourer farm system for one player until you have quite a few more pieces in place at the Major League level. Adding Price to this group for that amount of high ranked prospects and Castro would do more damage to the team than good.

  4. William

    I do not care about Vogelbach, but why would you give them Castro and Alcantara? Alcantara will be a stud and If you trade someone like Castro, you trade him in a separate trade to maximize your return and get even more pitching.

  5. William

    My reply was a little late. Haha

  6. William

    Why do so many Cub fans want to get rid of Castro?

    1. On The Farm

      I don’t care what Cubs fans think, I care what the front office thinks. If they look at Castro and think that he is an undiciplined at the plate, and a defensive mess, but others look at him with a higher value than we do. Sell.

      I am a Castro fan, but you have to think this front office like their own toys and Castro might not fit in and if they can move him for a TOR, maybe that’s what they would prefer with Baez and Alacantra in the wings.

      1. willis

        It doesn’t help his cause that he has regressed since the new regime took over. But like you said others may view him as a budding superstar still, and if that nets a top of the line starter, do it.

      2. Ivy Walls

        this is like reading a map, though I think it comes over the winter or next year when the Yanks really need to begin rebuilding

  7. sven-erik312

    Price is not worth betting the farm, what little we have.

  8. William

    I know and I get that, but why not trade him in a seperate deal? We could get Price without giving him up and trade for him separately for even more pitching.

  9. Eric

    If you trade Castro right now you are selling low. It makes no sense to do that. Let’s see if he can keep up his July numbers throughout the rest of the year.

    And as exciting as Baez and Alcantara are at this point they are not sure things yet.

    1. On The Farm

      Well you wouldn’t trade for Price until the offseason because Tampa is still going to want Price for their post season hope this year. No one is suggesting we trade Castro by the deadline this year.

    2. Kyle

      You’d also be buying low on Price.

      1. Eric

        I highly doubt Friedman will sell low on Price.

        1. YourResidentJag

          Yep, he’d ask for guys like Almora, Soler, and eventually Bryant. He’d see the walk percentages of guys like Olt and Baez and be concerned. Since this team has put effort into getting and developing these guys (Bryant and Soler, ie), what’s the point of getting Price.

  10. Satch Dobrey

    Soriano says he doesn’t want to play only 3 or 4 times a week. Guess what would help him decide to waive his no-trade clause? Tell him if he refuses he will ride the pines 7 days a week. That’s all they have to do.

    1. frank

      Because that would be a retaliatory benching, the player’s union would have a problem with it. And if you want to draw good free agents (eventually), you don’t want those kinds of problems with the union.

      1. Scotti

        Actually, the Cubs are full within their rights to play other players whom they feel are a part of their future. This obviously doesn’t include Soriano, so Soriano becomes a pinch hitter. There’s nothing wrong with that. The Cubs have no contractual obligation to play Soriano regardless of the situation. There’s also nothing wrong with Soriano deciding to stay and make $18 million coming of the bench. Both parties would be 100% within their rights.

        Should the Cubs threaten him? Of course not. Should they inform him? Of course they should since all parties need to be fully informed to make the best decisions possible.

  11. William

    We could part with some of our top prospects and trade Castro for prospects to replace what we gave up.

    1. On The Farm

      Well if you have to trade Baez+ to get Price, it wouldn’t make sense to trade your current young SS and your SS of the future, just to reload the system, all while you are making a push to be competitive.

  12. William

    I agree that now is the wrong time to trade Castro. Let’s hope Castro finishes strong to increase his value and see where Baez is at first.

  13. William

    You’re absolutely correct, it would be insane to trade both of them.

    1. On The Farm

      Well then I don’t understand what you are saying when you said we can part with some of our top prospects, and then trade Castro in a seperate deal to replace what we gave up?

  14. William

    I think we could get it done without giving up Baez.

    1. On The Farm

      He is currently our highest rated prospect, at a premium position, has great power, in AA. Who do you Tampa is going to want more than that?

      1. X the Cubs Fan

        Castros more valuable than Baez.

        1. On The Farm

          Right, but under the this senario we are operating under the assumption Castro is off the table for Tampa Bay (possibly staying, the other option he is traded to re-stock the system) my question then would be who else could be a centerpiece as a prospect?

  15. William

    You could part with both if you get a legit SS in one of the deals.

    1. On The Farm

      Not sure where you could find one of those and stay competitive in 2015.

      (also it would be way more helpful if you hit “reply”)

      1. William

        Okay, thank you for the reply tip. It would depend on what all you can get for both. However, I think Castro will turn it around and be on this team for a very long time. Ideally, they both will pan out and one can be moved to the outfield or third.

        1. hansman1982

          Castro has already turned it around. In the last month he has an .823 OPS with a BABIP that falls in line with the first two years of his career. After he signed his extension last year he had a .839 OPS.

          He is signed for a long time at a solid contract (that could quickly turn into an amazing contract) and has had a LOT of success in the Majors before the age of 24. We are looking to acquire MORE Starlin Castro’s, not trade them away.

      2. William

        Heck, even if we sign a decent shortstop who can field really well you could trade both. It all depends on what return you can get and if offense develops in other places. I am not saying trade both of thrm this off season because that would really set us back.

        1. jpeck

          Why dont you 2 get a room already.

        2. hansman1982

          Who out there can the Cubs reasonably acquire that is:

          23, under-team control for a long time, has had a ton of success in the majors, provides decent defense and is an above-average bat at SS?

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  17. TonyP

    I think this is Sori’s last game tonight, I think when the team heads to SF, Sori will be heading to NY…

    1. cubsin

      Yeah, we all know Sori doesn’t enjoy playing in SF.

  18. Jeff K

    @CarrieMuskat: #Cubs have a lineup change tonight. Stay tuned

    1. Kygavin

      #SoriTradeWatch

    2. MichiganGoat

      Yeah more trade drama!

    3. Rebuilding

      Guess they are avoiding the bro hugs

      1. Kygavin

        Kinda upset I wanna watch the brohug fest during the game

    4. Rebuilding

      This will turn a page. It’s now fully the Epstein era

  19. Tobias

    Sveum confirms that Soriano is out of the lineup and trade is close with Yankees per Bruce Levine.

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