alfonso soriano hittingOriginally in the lineup for tonight, Theo Epstein reportedly has told Dale Sveum to pull Alfonso Soriano because a trade is close. We’ve been following this for days now, and it has seemed like Soriano to the Yankees was an inevitability for a while.

We’ll keep following as the details come down.

UPDATE: Sveum told the media that the deal is 99% done, which is not a lock, but is obviously enough to get Soriano out of the lineup.

UPDATE 2 (6:45pm CT): Just a thought – Alfonso Soriano deserves to be applauded on the way out of town. Whatever you think of the contract, he worked hard and led by example. He was a huge part of the 2007 and 2008 teams, which is what he was brought in to be. From there, he worked his ass off and helped mold the Cubs’ young players. The Cubs are ready to move on, as they should, but he’ll be missed.

UPDATE 3 (6:53pm CT): Buster Olney reports that it’s a “lower-tier pitching prospect” coming to the Cubs, assuming the deal is completed. It will be interesting to see how much salary the Cubs are eating if that’s the case.

UPDATE 4 (6:57pm CT): Olney adds that the Cubs are eating the “bulk” of the $25 million remaining on Soriano’s deal. To me, that simply doesn’t comport with “lower-tier pitching prospect,” but we’ll get there when we get there.

UPDATE 5 (7:07pm CT): One more from Olney: “The bottom line on any Soriano deal: Epstein/Hoyer have had their hands tied by his no-trade clause. Any salary relief would be good.” What Olney is suggesting is that the Cubs ran into a bit of a Dempster situation – albeit a quieter one – where Soriano pretty much wanted to go to the Yankees, and that was that. Emphasis: we don’t know that for sure, but that’s what Olney is suggesting. My response? Unlike with Dempster, where you had an expiring contract and you could get value even with your hands tied, the Cubs don’t have to trade Soriano. I am fascinated by this, and wish I could have been a fly on the wall to see how it all played out.

UPDATE 6 (7:14pm CT): Like I said on the podcast earlier today, we also have to remember on this: if there was really not much of a market for Soriano, and the Cubs simultaneously wanted to clear the deck and give Soriano a chance to win (sometimes, teams are good to players like that – seriously), then that could explain a really soft return. You can only get what you can get, and I don’t want to make it seem as though I’m pining for the top prospect that Soriano was never going to land, no matter how much money the Cubs ate. I just hoped the Cubs could land a decent relief prospect, for example. We’ll see what happens. The difference between a decent relief prospect and virtually nothing is extremely small, so I’m not really going to grouse either way.

UPDATE 7 (7:24pm CT): Olney amplified what he meant by “lower-tier pitching prospect” in his replies on Twitter (h/t Danny), say that he meant a “third tier, Grade B-/C+ type.” The grading system different folks use is a little flabby, because a B- prospect for Soriano would actually be a “whoa, seriously!?” kind of return (in a good way). So I don’t really expect that, but even if it’s a C+ – which is a legit prospect, albeit a flawed one – I’m probably going to be happy. I tend to think Olney means something lower than that, though, based on his “third tier” comment. Hooray for over-parsing of tiny sentences!

UPDATE 8 (7:49pm CT): I think the whole thing with Olney has just been semantics (and kudos to him for digging on this – no criticism here). He says his guess is that the Yankees would be taking on $5 to $8 million of Soriano’s deal, leaving $17 to $20 million for the Cubs. To me, “bulk” is like $22 or $23 million of $25 million. If the Yankees take on, say, $7 million (which is what I would have guessed: they pay this year, Cubs pay the $18 million next year (gives the Yankees a nice luxury tax benefit), that’s not a bad savings for the Cubs. This is why I said “we’ll get there when we get there.” Never good to react too strongly too early in these things.

UPDATE 9 (8:07pm CT): Bob Nightengale says the Cubs and Yankees have agreed on the pitching prospect in the deal, so we’re probably nearing an announcement.

UPDATE 10 (8:35pm CT): Nothing final just yet, says Carrie Muskat. She also reminds us that the Commissioner’s Office has to approve the transfer of cash. I wonder if we might not see the official announcement until tomorrow.

UPDATE 11 (8:55pm CT): Josh Norris, who covers the Trenton Thunder (Yankees AA) for the Trentonian, says he hears from a source that the pitcher in the deal might be Corey Black, a short but very intriguing righty at High-A. That seems like a plausible return, and the kind of guy the Cubs would take a chance on in a deal like this. Don’t take this as gospel, obviously – just one sourced report.

UPDATE 12 (9:02pm CT): Jon Heyman doesn’t think the deal is getting done tonight, given the Commissioner approval requirement. He also phrases the money as the Cubs paying “more than half” of the $25 million.

  • Cubbie in NC

    Sori had nothing but great things to say about Rivera and Bernie Williams when he came up. That is why he took Pie and Castro under his wings because that is what those Yankees did for him. I am glad that he can be a part of Rivera’s last year as a Yankee.

  • Jason Powers

    lower tier pitching prospect buster olney….

    • Jason Powers

      I am slow…

  • FastBall

    I don’t take much stock in Buster Olney. Mel Kiper of baseball.

  • kmr1453

    Low tier pitching prospect and eat 25 million of Soriano’s contract

    • willis

      If true, that sucks monkey shit.

    • Jason Powers

      Hopefully eat 50% of next year – 9 mil and 25% of the remainder of this season: 1.5 mil ish.

      I wanted to see maybe C JR Murphy and RP out of the deal. But that’s wishing.

      • Rebuilding

        I think we’ll eat a very large portion, if not all, of next year. For the luxury tax reasons Brett has pointed out

        • Jason Powers

          What’s 5 million between Magnates, right?

  • willis

    Let’s hope this crap isn’t quite all true. They dump him, pay almost everything and get jack shit? I’d love to see people try and defend that. May as well keep him.

    • Rebuilding

      I know what you are saying, but I think it was just time to move on. For his sake and where we hope to go. It’s the final, clear break from the past.

      • Jason Powers

        addition by subtraction. He’s not horrible as a leader, so don’t get me wrong, but they have a plan…Double top secret plan.

      • willis

        Well yeah but they need hitting, he’s a power hitter, and he’s just fine on the team…it’s time to move on but not for moldy peanuts.

        • Jason Powers

          You are going to have to fill his boots anyways – in 2014, or thereafter.

          The FO may like Ellsbury. And can claim just about anyone off waivers that can get a .280 OBP – and do it for cheap. Any cost savings, can be spent on the next FA OF – Shoo, et. al.

        • Geo

          They don’t need production this year, they need to play the young players tank a few more games for better draft pick & save millions in the process.That fits in with thier master plan.

    • Bigj2197

      i also do not think it would be fair to keep him here as a part time player just because we could

  • Tobias

    I, like many who have commented so far, have appreciated what Soriano has done for the Cubs. The last couple years have been the most enjoyable that I have had watching Soriano because he worked his ass off in becoming a better outfielder. He proved that no matter how old you are getting that there is always something that you can work on and improve your game.

  • Aaron

    You can’t eat $25 million in salary for a quality RH power bat and only end up with a “low-level” prospect. That doesn’t make any sense.

  • Jp3

    That’s funny…”jimmy Clausen is the most NFL Quarterbaaaaaak in this draft”. One of my favorite kiperisms.

    I hope it’s a starting pitching prospect and not some BS relief pitcher.

    • Carew

      Please don’t mention Clausen’s name. At least we got Newton.

      Alright I’m good now, but I’ll miss Sori

      • Jp3

        Yeah I live in Durham so I cringe when I hear his name yoo

        • Carew

          bull city baby

          • Jp3

            Home of DPAC and Tyler’s taproom.

            • Carew

              hey the DBAP is really nice as well. Outside of those 3 though…

              Btw the AAA all-star game is there next summer

  • nkniacc13

    maybe it is a low level pitching prospect if so I hope there is IFA$ coming or that they aren’t eating all that contract

  • Joey

    Cody Ransom batting cleanup, yikes

  • Kyle

    “lower tier” can mean not very highly ranked, or it can just mean in one of the lower minor league tiers, i.e. A ball or rookie ball.

    • Jp3

      That’s what I’m hoping. A young high upside pitcher that’s probably had some success early.
      I’m hoping for Rookie Davis because he’s been great and of course he’s from my home town….population about 50

    • Augiepb

      Thats what I was thinking, hopefully this is the case…

      • turn two

        Typically lower tier means based on prospect rankings, if he had said lower level I’d expect high upset a baller. This is olney saying its a lower quality prospect pretty clearly.

        That is not to say he is necessarily right or wrong.

  • Hansman1982

    Sigh, goodbye Soriano. I am genuinely sad you won’t be a Cub anymore. I honestly loved his swing, just looked so effortless.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      …and had a delightful randomness to it as well!

  • Josh

    I will be extremely disappointed if the Cubs don’t get a decent prospect. Soriano was a great player to have on the team. He was our best bat and best leader. Its a shame he will he leaving. Would have loved to see him hit HR #400 as a Cub. I may actually find myself cheering for the Yankees down the stretch because of Rivera, Ichiro, and Soriano

  • Stevie B

    I am guilty of hating on Alf a few times. Only until recently did I step back and visualize myself aging, trying to live up to a contract that was basically force fed to him.
    At the end of the day, he had a decent tenure, some decent numbers, and man did he have a fantastic smile.

    Good luck old man…we should have treated you better. Maybe we all learned a little something about ourselves.

    • http://Bleachernation Jay

      ‘Because I love you, my heart’s an open door’. Thataboy, Stevie B! My sentiments exactly!

  • Kramden

    Great to see the Cubs move on. Soriano’s contract was an albatross to both the Cubs AND Soriano as he never was the type of player that would be able to live up to it. The expectations far exceeded the reality of what he was capable of.

    • Jeff K

      It remains an albatross if we continue to pay the majority of his salary.

      • Kramden

        But at least his departure opens a position for younger prospects to compete for…. Which could not have happened with Alf blocking their way and who didn’t figure in any future plans for the Cubs.

        • Jeff K

          I agree. I’m not saying that trading him is necessarily a bad idea. I just respectfully disagree with you when you imply that his “albatross” of a contract is in the past…since we’ll still be paying for it, essentially.

  • nkniacc13

    maybe the Cubs can hit the Yankees for a 3rd PTBN?

  • notcubbiewubbie

    hey sorrie from me and a bunch of cubfans it is not godspeed but don’t let the door hit u in the ass on the way out!!!!!!!!one and a half uears of playing like a major leaguer doesn’t erase the first five years under jim hendry and lou(i kiss a lot of butt)piniella. now all u so called newer cubfans can rip me!!!happiest day of my 50+ years of being a cubfan. and in the words of lee elia I PRINTED IT!

    • Patrick

      I’m surprised someone with so much “wisdom” could be so ignorant. The guy may not have been 18 mil a year good but he was a solid aspect of the Cubs since he was signed. The fact that you proclaim this is the “happiest day” is just mind-boggling. How about when the Cubs finally got rid of Milton Bradley? That was much more relieving in my eyes.

      • Roggan

        Or Marmol, I mean come on 😉

    • MichiganGoat

      I see that in 50 years you still haven’t learned to spell so I’m not surprised this is the happiest day as a “Cubfan.”

  • Dustin S

    Random thought, but once the Soriano trade is done are there any Cubs left with no-trade rights? I can’t think of any off-hand but wondering if I’m forgetting someone. Edwin Jackson was the only one that I thought might of, but I checked and his contract didn’t include one.

    • nkniacc13

      no and theo doesn’t like them

      • Jason Powers

        And why would they? No-trade clause interrupt free market flows. It creates problems at the end of a players, shall we say, usefulness to an organization.
        It also gives too much leverage to a highly paid individual, who, at any time can decide not to be a ‘team’ player.

  • Bigg J

    If it is a lower tier pitching prospect then it is like the Marmol trade that helps in no way

  • Rebuilding

    Also, I think Soriano should be commended for what appears to be a completely clean career. I’ve never heard one whisper about him being on the juice. Of course no one knows, but 400HR and 300SB is a hell of an achievement if true

    • turn two

      A good observation

      • Rebuilding

        I really think it needs to be pointed out because Soriano on the juice, with just a .005 faster reaction time, maybe hits 50-60 HRs for 4 or 5 years. If you look at the leap others took its not that hard to believe

  • FastBall

    Which starting pitcher can we trade to the Braves. Hudson is out for the season with broken ankle. Maybe Villanueva ??? Maybe Jackson??? We might get some talent back for Jackson. I really don’t care if we just signed him this year.

  • Mr. P

    Is Buster the only one reporting that we are paying most of the contract, but only getting a low tier prospect back? This doesn’t add up to me.

    • rabbit

      i would be extremely disappointed if that’s the case

  • rabbit

    i really hope buster olney is wrong…to me it makes no sense to pay most of soriano’s salary and then trade him for absolutely no value…i would rather have soriano’s leadership in the clubhouse which is value you can’t put a price tag on

  • FastBall

    He is full of sh*t most of the time. Might as well listen to everything Carfardo says if you believe Olney’s BS.

    • willis

      That speaks for about anyone on espn.

  • SalukiHawk

    Could it mean someone like him:

    #12 prospect in NYY org. Low minors?

    • CF

      Campos is who I’m hoping for. A couple of years ago he was the #4 prospect in the Mariners organization and had an ace ceiling as an 18 year old in short season ball. The M’s gave him up with Pineda to get Jesus Montero. I’m not sure how much the injury last year drops his projection, but he seems to be a pretty high ceiling guy.

  • Derek

    Olney now says lower level pitching prospect

  • nkniacc13

    Could be a very quiet trade deadline or could be interesting depending on if the Cubs decide to move players under control for next year.

  • FastBall

    I agree. Why pay $25MM to watch him play in dark blue pin strips instead of light blue pin stripes. I find it hard to believe Theo couldn’t get a positive return on Sori. Not like we are dumping Sosa for Fontenot.

  • baldtaxguy

    Hoping we take back Dietrich Enns – Illinois boy, 19th round pick in 2012, lefty, promoted to A+.

  • nkniacc13

    if the Angles got a minor league OF and a minor league lhp for Wells id hope the cubs could get something close to that atleast

    • Jason Powers

      Yankees probably have fans too that want nothing to do with another older player… and NYC FO would be crucified if they give up anything that turns out in 2 years. I bet it will be an A baller or two. With plenty of statistical issues. But we must have scouted out 1-2 of them.