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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.

  • Jp3

    OH! More than half huh, that could be 13mil. No wonder we’d be getting a less than stellar prospect back

  • Jp3

    Buster onley says we’ll eat the majority of the deal? I guess more than half is a majority but I guess I have a different train of thought majority is in this scenario.

  • cubchymyst

    This move likely frees up a 40 man spot, which could be helpful for a trade near the deadline.

  • Kramden

    Norris Tweeted that ONE name he heard mentioned was Corey Black. Might there be TWO for Soriano?

    • The Dude Abides

      The only one I’ve heard who knows all the details is Assman and he is not sharing his information until the deal is officially announced…

  • CubsFaninMS

    In other news, Baez hit a 3-run homer tonight.

  • Alex

    Here is a scouting report on Corey Black from River Ave Blues.

    http://riveraveblues.com/2013/01/prospect-profile-corey-black-81140/

    Looks like he has a very good arm.

  • BT

    The one scouting handbook I have liked Black quite a bit going into the season, putting him (very roughly) on par with CJ Edwards.

  • Carne Harris

    Well if reports were true in the offseason that they were set to pay all but 5 mil for Domonic Brown, wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees are paying 10 for a lesser prospect in return.

  • Believe in 2015

    Javy Baez with his second homerun tonight!!!! Wow

    • another JP

      Wow is right. This Baez kid is starting to feel it at AA,

      • hansman1982

        I swear to God, if he proves me wrong…I’m gonna be pissed and happy at the same time.

        • ssckelley

          If it makes you feel any better he also struck out twice

  • Jp3

    He Ks about half the time but still awesome.

    • Believe in 2015

      C’mon dude! How can you not get excited about him? 25 homeruns this year and he is only 20 years old in AA.

      • Jp3

        I’m ecstatic dude but just hesitate and wonder if the bottom is about to fall out. I’m definitely on the Baez bandwagon, I’m just going to make sure my seatbelt is fastened.

        • Kramden

          Interesting that the Cubs have a couple of seriously talented and electric yet equally flawed prospects in Lake and Baez who will likely be in the same lineup someday.

          Could be interesting while making us all schizophrenic from one game to the next at the same time!

          • turn two

            I see lake more as a utility guy. Runs well, a littler power, can play multiple positions. Everyone who watches him allot says he is too inconsistent to be an everyday guy long term.

    • Kyle

      The K’s bothered me a lot when he was putting up pretty good numbers at A+.

      When he’s putting up 80-level power numbers at AA at the same age, the K’s scare me a bit less. 9 HRs through 83 PAs at AA as a 20-year-old middle infielder.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Particularly when we’ve already seen this movie. If the script holds, one of these days the coaches will convince him to stop swinging for the fences all the time and to just play baseball. And then (if the pattern holds) the strike outs will go down, the contact will go up, and his overall production will spike.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          Just hope they lose his “B” sample so they can’t find the juice!

        • hansman1982

          Dang, that contact is a getting to be a concern. Sure he can smash the ball but the dude struggles to hit .300 in the minors.

          But that IsoP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            Not so sure about that.

            He had no trouble hitting .300 in the stretch for Daytona when he stopped trying to kill every pitch, I think.

            Can’t say for sure the same will happen with Tennessee, of course.

            • hansman1982

              There were 120-140 PA in Daytona that have me cautiously optimistic he is better than I fear; however, we have A LOT of other PA with a couple major flaws.

              • Mr. B. Patient

                Don’t fear, friend. Embrace. He’s going to be fun to watch. He’s not Miguel Cabrera, but he could be a Mark Trumbo (with a better glove), and that will help most teams.

                And think about this. They say power is the last thing to develop. So think about when his power is FULLY developed.

              • Rebuilding

                No, I think your instincts are right my friend. He will be moved sooner rather than later. His raw power is amazing, but you can’t teach what he doesn’t have

                • Hawkeye

                  I don’t think you move raw power like this without getting A TON in return. His age works greatly in his favor.

          • Mr. B. Patient

            No doubt he has to get that strike out thing under control. If he can k 25 % of the time, he’ll hit .280. If he can k <20 %, he'll hit .300. Big ifs. But don't forget, currently in the FSL, there are 4 players hitting above .300. In the Southern League, there are only 2 players hitting above .300. Both leagues are good pitchers leagues.

            Fun Fact:
            Baez is 3rd in the FSL in home runs.
            Baez is in the top 20 in the Southern League in Home runs. In 73 PA's.

      • http://vdcinc.biz 70′scub

        I just saw the Smokies play this past week-end, 3rd. SS and especially 2nd look like future pro players. The 2nd base player ripped from both sides of the plate, SS hit a ball on an smooth easy swing that hooked about 20 feet for a double, 3rd. base made plays and got some good hits. Is this an example of the farm depth the FO craves to supply a long winning Cub run?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Christian Villanueva (3B), Javier Baez (SS), and Arismendy Alcantara (2B) are probably the players you saw.

  • Tommy

    http://riveraveblues.com/2013/01/prospect-profile-corey-black-81140/

    Apparently this Corey Black guy has hit 100 on the radar gun a few times in the past. Right up this FO’s MO. They love the guys that throw hard.

    • Tommy

      Sorry, just noticed Alex posted the same link a bit ago.

  • Jason (Thundermug)

    How come we can find out stuff like Jimmy Johns fast when it has to do with other teams but when a prospect is coming to the Cubs the news is slower than a Turtle running a Marathon just saying !!!

  • Alex

    For what it’s worth, John Sickels at MinorLeagueBall.com ranked Corey Black as the 12th rated prospect in the Yankees system this past winter.

    http://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/12/21/3790880/new-york-yankees-top-20-prospects-for-2013

  • Fastball

    They did sign Sean Camp with his 73 mph bee bee that he chucked up there. So they need 4 100 mph guys to make up for that scrub.

  • Cheese Chad

    Does Lake lead the league in bunt singles yet? Jeeez, I love it.

  • Jono

    Just got back from a 5 day trip in the back country. Did I miss anything?

  • Ivy Walls

    Corey Black was ranked 29th some NYY blog http://yankeesfansunite.com/2013/02/05/2013-top-40-prospects/

    29) Corey Black – RHP, 21 – HiA – 2016

    “A 4th round pick this year, Black can bring the heat. Though just 5’11, 180 pounds he can throw the ball from 96-99 MPH with some movement. He made 12 starts across 3 levels, limiting hitters to a .222 BA and struck out 50 in 52 ip. His breaking pitches lack consistency but he has a nice Changeup which is his #2 pitch. He could rocket up the system with his FB/Change combo as a reliever but the Yanks will likely try to develop him as a starter since they are flush with RH relievers.

    Borrell: “We had him at 96-99 in Charleston, although reports were he got up to 100 mph, I didn’t see it he has a special arm and for our scouts to get a guy like him in that round (4th) is impressive.””

    • Ivy Walls

      sounds like a reliever in the making

  • Scotti
    • Ivy Walls

      irony

      “What has been the best moment of your professional career so far?”

      “Throwing the five hitless innings in Daytona has been my best moment so far”.

      • Mr. B. Patient

        Let me guess, he struck out Baez 3 times.

        • Ivy Walls

          nice try but mathematically impossible….May 30th

          Player IP H R ER BB SO HR
          Corey Black (W, 2-6) 5.0 0 1 1 4 7 0

          No DeVoss did, Baez twice to him, but Baez hit his 8th HR after he left the game but struck out later for the 3rd time

          Daytona Bottom of the 1st

          Zeke DeVoss strikes out swinging.
          Ben Carhart grounds out, second baseman Robert Refsnyder to first baseman Casey Stevenson.
          Javier Baez called out on strikes.

          Daytona Bottom of the 2nd

          Jorge Soler grounds out, shortstop Carmen Angelini to first baseman Casey Stevenson.
          Dustin Geiger called out on strikes.
          Chadd Krist walks.
          Taiwan Easterling grounds out, third baseman Dan Fiorito to first baseman Casey Stevenson.

          Daytona Bottom of the 3rd

          Wes Darvill flies out to right fielder Eduardo Sosa.
          Tim Saunders strikes out swinging.
          Zeke DeVoss strikes out swinging.

          Daytona Bottom of the 4th

          Ben Carhart pops out to first baseman Casey Stevenson in foul territory.
          Javier Baez strikes out swinging.
          Jorge Soler pops out to catcher Francisco Arcia in foul territory.

          Daytona Bottom of the 5th

          Dustin Geiger grounds out, second baseman Robert Refsnyder to first baseman Casey Stevenson.
          Chadd Krist walks.
          Taiwan Easterling walks. Chadd Krist to 2nd.
          Wes Darvill walks. Chadd Krist to 3rd. Taiwan Easterling to 2nd.
          Tim Saunders grounds into a force out, fielded by third baseman Dan Fiorito. Chadd Krist scores. Taiwan Easterling out at 3rd. Wes Darvill to 3rd. Tim Saunders advances to 1st, on a throwing error by third baseman Dan Fiorito.
          With Zeke DeVoss batting, Tim Saunders steals (15) 2nd base.
          Zeke DeVoss strikes out swinging.

          Daytona Bottom of the 6th

          Pitching Change: Manny Barreda replaces Corey Black.
          Ben Carhart strikes out swinging.
          Javier Baez homers (8) on a fly ball to left field.
          Jorge Soler pops out to first baseman Casey Stevenson in foul territory.
          Dustin Geiger flies out to right fielder Eduardo Sosa.

          Daytona Bottom of the 7th

          Chadd Krist called out on strikes.
          Taiwan Easterling strikes out swinging.
          Wes Darvill strikes out swinging.

          Daytona Bottom of the 8th

          Tim Saunders singles on a line drive to left fielder Jose Toussen.
          Zeke DeVoss out on a sacrifice bunt, pitcher Manny Barreda to first baseman Casey Stevenson. Tim Saunders to 2nd.
          Ben Carhart homers (2) on a fly ball to left field. Tim Saunders scores.
          Pitching Change: Charlie Short replaces Manny Barreda.
          Javier Baez called out on strikes.
          Jorge Soler flies out to center fielder Ben Gamel.

          Daytona Bottom of the 9th

          Dustin Geiger called out on strikes.
          Chadd Krist strikes out swinging.
          Taiwan Easterling strikes out swinging.

        • Mr. B. Patient

          I was way off. :-)

  • Jason

    Soriano threw my daughter a ball after between inning warmups during a game in April this year. There was a really nice gentleman who came up and asked her if she wanted a ball from Soriano, and with a little encouragement (she’s shy sometimes), she said yes. During the 4th inning, with this man’s help, Soriano spotted her and tossed the ball up to that guy who caught it for her. Soriano actually waved and tipped his hat to her when she yelled out “thank you”. She’ll remember that forever. So will I because I have it on video :)

    Very cool moment from a very nice guy. He definitely didn’t deserve the booing he got at the 2011 Cubs convention. Those who did boo him should be ashamed. He sounds like a class act all the way through, and we’ll miss you in our household! Best of luck Alfonso!

    • YourResidentJag

      Nice story.

  • Zach82

    Sounds like an intriguing prospect for Soriano. Sori could be frustrating at times, but I will miss him. He’s played hard, made no excuses, and seems like a quality guy. Good luck to him. One thing, is it me or do the Cubs need more lefties? It seems that a lot of our prospects, both hitters and pitchers are righty dominant. I was hoping the cubs would reel in a lefty starter or reliever. Can’t get enough of them!

  • PeteG

    Kind of off topic but can the Cubs bring back Ted Lilly? Class act and one of my favorite pitchers…

    • Jed Jam Band

      Not quite the pitcher he used to be and we’ve got plenty of starting options, so…..

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    If Corey Black is the player in Soriano deal it appears a statistic that Cub scouts and FO is targeting is a very low HR allowed rate from their pitchers. Along with CJ Edwards from the Ranger system who has yet to give up a HR in his professional career Black has only given up 3 in over 130 innings pitched in two years in the Yankee system.

    • Jed Jam Band

      Well, considering the nature of pitching in Wrigley Field, that might not be the worst strategy.

      • Jason Powers

        I thought that too. Prob their movement is good enough that no one squares them up. At least in A ball.

    • LWeb23

      Low home run rate pitchers and stellar defensive position players would be a good basis for a team.

  • Cubswin

    Sori on a plane to New York per Sharma. Now I wanna know for sure who were getting. Wouldn’t mind for it to be Black either he seems intriguing. Gotta love power arms

  • Corey

    Man, I’ll miss Sori. Thanks for the memories!

    • deej34

      The big contract was tough to swallow when the skillset diminished… but I always liked Sori cuz the effort and leadership around the youngsters was always there.

      I am happy a spot in the outfield opened up though, because I am high on Lake, DDJ and Sweeney and would be very okay watching that outfield this year and next as we develop players. I like Nate as well, but I think he could net a decent prospect and am I a little tired on the platoons.

  • YourResidentJag

    Leaving on a jet plane….Thanks for a solid career Soriano.

  • Ivy Walls

    Corey Black ‏@CblackNYY 28m

    Haven’t heard anything though gunna be tough to sleep

  • William

    I remember his three homer game in Atlanta. My little niece Sierra was teething that night and having a rough time. I told her after his first home run that Soriano would hit three just for her and when he did that really cheered her up. Thanks for the memories Soriano, it’s been real and fun watching you play!

  • Ivy Walls

    Notable comps of trading aging slugger,

    SF traded W Mays for $$$ and a 23 yr old RHP Charlie Williams, 8 yr MLB, 23-22,

    Reds sent Griffey to CHW for 27 yr old RHP Masset finished with 16-14 and 25 yr old utility IF named Richar 79 games

  • rockin’ dawg

    Corey Black is 3-8 with a 4.25 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP in High A this year. Strikeout numbers are decent, but not spectacular. Hopefully, those stats are misleading because they don’t sound all that encouraging to me.

    • Jed Jam Band

      It’s important to remember that the stats alone don’t tell the whole story for a prospect. Sickels had him ranked 12th in the Yankees’ system in the pre-season. He has a fastball that can touch 100 MPH. He strikes lots of guys out and is likely to continue doing so. Also, he’s going to get a chance to work with Derek Johnson, which is what gives me the most confidence. Not saying he’ll turn into anything, but that he’s a nice arm to have.

  • Funn Dave

    I guess that pretty much clears up that discussion people were having earlier about whether the Cubs are even trying to compete this year or next. Giving up Sori for what sounds like a pretty crappy deal is just resigning to defeat & giving up a known yet beneficial quantity in favor of giving possible future contributors a shot and freeing up some money for the future. Brett, nice to see you being critical in your analysis of the FO. I like most of what they’ve done this year but I’m not a fan of this trade, if it is what it sounds like.

    • Kyle

      Soriano isn’t very good at this point in his career. Clearing him out to open up a spot in the outfield probably helps our chance for next year.

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