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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.

  • Tobias

    I think everyone is forgetting that Theo and Jed are very familiar with the Yankees farm system being in Boston so long.

    • JBarnes

      Huh? Don’t understand the connection there…because they’re rivals then they automatically are familiar with the others prospects?

      • Rebuilding

        We are probably more familiar with the Cardinals prospects just because they impact us more. So the Yanks/Red Sox maybe know a little more about each others systems

        • JBarnes

          Cardinals prospects don’t impact the Chicago Cubs whatsoever until they are STL Cardinals. Yes I’m sure they know some things about Taveras, Martinez, Wacha etc. but making it a point to be familiar with an organizations overall prospects just because they’re in your division and MIGHT be on the big league team in a few years is a waste of resources. Like the other person said, I’m sure scouts know about them but doubtful that the team President/GM know a whole lot.

          • Rebuilding

            Ok. Believe what you wish. If you don’t think the Red Sox are more familiar with the Yankees depth chart/system/philosophy than they are with the Brewers than I won’t convince you

            • Andrew

              Sorry but theo and Jed’s connection to Boston has zero impact on their knowledge of the yanks farm system.

            • JBarnes

              Never said they were completely ignorant to other teams farm systems. But Theo is the President and hasn’t been in Boston for 2+ years and Jed (the actual GM which I think people forget sometimes) hasn’t been there in almost twice as long as that…to say those two personally are familiar with the Yankees lower farm system is a stretch in my opinion.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      How would someone who hasn’t been in that division for a couple of seasons know that much about another team’s A level prospects who probably came in last year, or weren’t known much before last year? Curious of that. Scouts might? But Jed and Theo? No.

      • Rebuilding

        I’m sure you could name most any prospect in a team’s Top 100 and Jed and Theo would know a fair bit about them. There are just some teams you are more interested in than others

      • cas-castro

        They have scouts all over and are probably familiar other teams prospects. The scouts reports to their bosses. I would not doubt they have a list of prospects they like from each team or atleast have access to info. There is a lot we don’t know that goes on behind the scenes..

    • Andrew

      I would hope they are as familiar with the yanks farm system as any other teams system. There is no connection here at all. Only farm system thy would be more familiar with then others would be ones they worked in(Boston/sd).

  • rockin’ dawg

    Well, we should be able to get a top 3-4 draft pick next year with Soriano’s bat out of the line-up the rest of the year….

    • Rebuilding

      Doubt it’s going to make any difference. Might actually help our record

  • turn two

    Except of course that there I’d a decent chance the kid we are getting was not in there system when Theo was in Boston

  • Hansman1982

    It would have been nice to have him go out at Wrigley to a standing ovation.

  • FastBall

    Send us A-Rod … They eat his contract and we make baseball history by giving him his unconditional release and then he is gone from baseball for good. Cubs and Theo get credit in baseball lore for wacking A-Rod. This might even break some kind of curse :)

    • rockin’ dawg

      ….or we could just put him at 3B!

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        God no!

  • Carne Harris

    Be nice if we applauded Sori on the way out of town. Way too much negativity thrown at players when they leave, like the reports that suddenly surfaced that Garza was immature and annoying to teammates after he was traded. Some kind of weird “We didn’t want him anyway” human compulsion akin to calling a girl lesbian when you unsuccessfully hit on her at the bar.

  • Eternal Pessimist

    If the Yanks don’t eat a big chunk of the contract, and the Cubs get a ridiculously mediocre prospect it would be better to keep him. He has far more value to the Cubs next year than a garbage prospect.

    I like Sori’s attitude and wish him nothing but the best, but he got paid his, and then some. Would be nice for him to give back to the Cubs instead of limiting their options so much (if that’s what happened).

    My priority wouldn’t be for a soft landing for him…it would be to continue to send the signal that we won’t be fleeced of our talent for peanuts.

    • Andrew

      Have to free up space for the youngsters to play. No point having a 38 year old outfielder on a rebuilding team

      • Andrew

        Don’t see how it’s a fleece. He’s 38 and batting 250. Set to make 18 mil next year. Don’t know what you expected. This isn’t fantasy land

        • Carne Harris

          Forgot to change your user name.

          • Carne Harris

            Sorry, think I misread that. I just so wanted someone who talked about “fantasy land” to be having a convo with themself.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          He makes his 18 million regardless of where he plays. If we get sufficient salary relief or a good enough prospect then we should trade away.

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=grouse‎
    Word heard mostly in Australia’s 2nd largest city, Melbourne meaning something wonderful, amazing.

  • nkniacc13

    so what is the 25 man roster move?

  • Patrick W.

    The Cubs have at least a few guys they need more info on that are outfielders… clearing the space held by Soriano so that it helps you with playing time for guys like Vitters/Jackson/Lake has at least some marginal value, no?

  • Cheryl

    Brett, I have a suggestion. Since Soriano is leaving the cubs when they are playing out of town and some are regretting that it didn’t happen while he was in Chicago why not have his name read over the loudspeaker when the cubs get back in town and the fans could give him that standing ovation when his name is read? What do you think?

    • turn two

      Reminds me of someone saying yesterday we need to raise money to take an ad out to say goodbye to Garza. We can’t give everyone a big farewell.

  • Cedlandrum

    tough break for Vitters who apparently just hurt his leg rounding first. Wow. Tough year.

    • Patrick W.

      Like I said, clearing space for Jackson/Lake has some marginal…

  • JUICED1

    how about some intl signing cash. do the Yankees have any left Brett. I’d love to put that story to bed.

  • 5412

    Hi,

    The crime of this entire situation is Jim Hendry had Soriano committed to a five year deal and got on a plane to fly home from the west coast. He got off the plane and Kenney and McDonough had upped it to 7 years and a luxury suite on the road and Hendry had to take the fall.

    We all knew it was a terrible contract when it was signed and eventually the Cubs will have to eat a lot of money. Ricketts also knew it when he bought the team ahd likely factored it into the purchase price offer.

    If we get anything for Soriano we are lucky. Under Sveum he has improved and we caught a break. It could just as easily got to the point like some of the other huge contracts they inherited, they would just DFA him and eat the remainder of his contract.

    While I have been critical of Soriano a good bit, I must tip my hat to him and say “Thank You”. He has done everything he could in the last two years to earn his money both on and off the field. That is very professional in m opinion.

    What galls me is this. Why the hell is Kenny still on the payroll? Hopefully once the deal with the city is done he will be moving along.

    Regards,
    5412

    • JUICED1

      I never heard that Kenny was responsible for the sixth and seventh years…. where did you hear that?

      • Kyle

        It’s been a strong local rumor for years. I don’t think it’s ever been conclusively confirmed.

      • 5412

        Hi,

        Sorry, I did not see your question before I made my post. I got it from a beat writer and confirmed it from someone within the organization who would know. It has been in the papers a couple of times a few years back also as I recall.

        regards,
        5412

    • 5412

      Hi,

      I screwed up, I meant 6 and 8 years. I got that data from a beat writer by the way.

      regards,
      5412

    • MoneyBoy

      Well said 5412 … on all counts.

      I have heard the Sori/Hendry/McDonough tale. I had heard 6 and 8. Sadly, Hendry seemed to have the market read just right.
      I’ll confess to not having heard of Clown Kenney’s involvement.
      Sori’s improvement under Sveum is an indictment of Sleepy Lou and CueBall.
      The man deserves a ton of credit for getting/keeping his legs under him. He’s been more of a base stealing threat than kids 10-15 years younger than he is this year.
      Theo went out of his way to compliment DDJ on his demeanor on his rehab in AZ.
      Much the same could be said of Sori these last couple of years.
      I too will wish him well !!!!

    • Rebuilding

      Sorry, sounds like an urban legend to me

      • Rebuilding

        And if Ricketts factored Soriano’s deal into the equation – well, he isn’t as smart as he (or his father appear to be). They are going to have a cash cow that pays down their not personally liable debt and reap millions (eventually billions). Much better investment than stocks

        • 5412

          Hi,

          The Tribune paid $20 million for the team and three years later, with Dallas Green as president, they made $25 million, over 100% return on invested capital by the third year.

          In round numbers, the Ricketts family paid $900 million for the team, and will be putting another $500 million into it, much of it on the front end to be repaid from additional revenue etc. They have one hell of an investment.

          Check Tom Ricketts busienss backgroud and he knows and understands things like venture capital etc. It will be a long time before they start seeing what the Tribune did percentage wise because they have a hell of a lot more invested.

          When they have a winner, cash will flood cash the front door. Good for them and good for us.

          I can’t wait!

          regards,
          5412

      • BT

        Wittenmeyer and Sullivan confirmed it. AFTER Hendry was gone of course, and they had spent his term mocking the deal. Then he leaves, and they start saying what a stand up guy he was and how everyone behind the scenes knew the extra 2 years were Kenney/McDonough’s call, not Hendry’s, Hendry never called them on it either.

  • Derek

    Vitters jusy came out of I Cubs game

    • Dustin S

      Noticed that, good chance it’s him coming up.

      • Cedlandrum

        He hurt his leg.

        • ssckelley

          Did it look serious? I was hoping he would get a call up.

          • Cedlandrum

            not at game tonight, but Tommy Birch said he was helped off the field so I’m guessing it isn’t great news.

          • Boccabella12

            At the game. He Stopped running halfway to 2nd on what would have been a double. Got tagged out standing still. Hope it was just a bad cramp, but it looked bad.

            • ssckelley

              That sounds worse than a cramp. This is horrible news.

              • AB

                Felix Pie syndrome, tons of little bangups and injuries

                If a guy can’t stay consistently on the field in his early 20′s, have a hard time seeing him being a significant contributor

        • Jp3

          Yeah, that dude is built like a China Doll

  • Derek

    I’m late and can’t spell

  • another JP

    I’ve seen Joel De La Cruz and Chase Whitley in the deal. That’s not the best but not bad if the Yanks are paying > $5M, and it appears that’s it’s just as much about getting Junior Lake in the everyday lineup than it is for the prospects coming back to the Cubs.

    • Patrick W.

      Chase Whitley literally just entered his AAA game so he is out.

  • ssckelley

    So a pitching prospect and international spending money as well?

    • Tommy

      Speaking of international money, anyone heard anything on Jimenez? I expected that deal to be done by now. What’s the hold up?

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        August 1st or 2nd. Brett had a nice write up on that a couple of days ago. Dude has more information to cover this month than an Encyclopedia.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    It will be interesting the hear the which pitching prospect. It would kinda see Soriano go for a nobody relief prospect.

    • nkniacc13

      its to be signed Aug 1 or 2 so cubs have a chance to aquire more IFA

  • Assman22

    Done deal…return better than what some of you had guessed…great move by the FO and for Fonzi…

    • nkniacc13

      is it better than what Angles got for Wells?

    • Jp3

      What!?!? How if its a lower tier prospect? I’m just trying to trick you into telling me a name😀

      • Assman22

        Bet on Black…Schierholtz next up…

    • another JP

      I was bumming about what’s been speculated to be coming to the Cubs, so thanks for the heads up and hope you’re right as usual Assman-

  • Brian

    What about Delin Betances? Having a rebound year in AAA. Still decently young and wouldn’t be a bad buy low guy.
    Banuelos either for that matter, since we seem to be okay taking chances on Tommy John guys.

  • Diamond Don

    I am guessing the return will far exceed what was expected. International pool money will make the deal a good one for the Cubs!

    • JUICED1

      pool money makes sense.

  • Cedlandrum

    Dang Baez just hit another bomb.

  • ssckelley

    Baez just hit a 3 run homer for Tennessee, his 24th home run of the season.

    • Crockett

      23k in 67PA? Yikes. Hadn’t realized it was that bad.

      • ssckelley

        It was high when he first got to Daytona as well. Hopefully he will keep making adjustments along the way.

    • another JP

      Three run bomb off Jungmann… pretty good pitcher to homer on. Baez OPS over .800 and rising–

  • Cedlandrum

    Interesting, could be nothing but Alcantara and Watkins are both off tonight. Watkins getting called up and Alcantara sliding up to Iowa? Probably not but fun to think about.

    • Cedlandrum

      Ah Alcantara just pinch hit in Tenn. so there goes the theory.

      • Jp3

        The FO is just messing with us right now. Even if we suck next year the possibilities for callups are endless this time next season. Good to know there is a little light at the end of the tunnel soon

  • Frat Rats

    De Paula works for me.

  • Afinch

    The last one left from the good 07′ division winning team and the great 08′ division winning team. I hope he does well in NY but I hate the Yanks so hope he doesn’t get to play in October.

    • MoneyBoy

      Memo to Afinch:

      “Good ’07 division winning team” and “great ’08 division winning team” mean nothing!

      The goal is World Series wins!

      • Afinch

        Just pointing out a fact.

      • Rebuilding

        You do realize that the playoffs are the ultimate small sample size crapshoot, right? You might as well roll dice. The goal is making the playoffs enough to work in your statistical favor

        • Afinch

          All I did was point out how he’s the last guy left from those two teams. Not sure why I’m being lectured for that.

  • Cedlandrum

    Starlin has hit in bad luck the last few games.

  • http://a-rodminorsavg.324hr/yr7 cub2014

    seems like Baez is hitting a homer every night

  • Jp3

    A 5’11″ pitcher that’s mediocre in high A. Phenomenal. I’ll hold off freaking out yet

    • Believe in 2015

      He can run his fastball up to triple digits. Got to like the potential for a solid bullpen arm

    • Kramden

      Agree, but I’m trying hard by rationalizing that the Cubs are really trading Soriano for Lake only because the Cubs would never have benched Soriano in favor of another player.

    • JBarnes

      Ever heard of Tim Collins from the Royals? 5’7 and can throw in the mid to upper 90′s, has had success out of the pen for a generally bad team…size isn’t everything.

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