Alfonso Soriano open to being traded to contender
BY JOE COWLEY email@example.com June 3, 2012 6:34PM
“If they want to trade me, I hope it is to a team that’s a contender because it’s about trying to go for that ring. . . . But like I said, it depends on them. I don’t control the situation.’’—Alfonso Soriano, on the possibility of being traded
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:19AM
SAN FRANCISCO — At 36, Alfonso Soriano constantly is reminded by his legs about how little time he might have left in baseball.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the standings constantly remind him about how his chances of winning a World Series ring are diminishing.
With a 2-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, the Cubs fell to 18-35.
That’s why if the Cubs do find the right dance partner and decide to trade Soriano to a contender, he would welcome it with open arms.
“I’m 36 years old, so, yeah, I would like to have the opportunity to ... if they want to trade me, I hope it is to a team that’s a contender because it’s about trying to go for that ring,” Soriano said before the Cubs’ third consecutive loss. “You want to feel good, feel like maybe you got a chance for that if we don’t have a chance here. But like I said, it depends on them. I don’t control the situation.”
That’s not entirely true. He does have control over making himself an attractive commodity to a contending team by continuing to produce.
Even after going 0-for-3 on Sunday, Soriano is hitting .263 with eight home runs and 31 RBI. He hit .290 in May.
“He goes about his business as the ultimate professional,” manager Dale Sveum said. “He works on his outfield play every day, his offense, he does the same stuff every single day. It’s been impressive since the start of spring training how hard he’s worked to try and make himself a better player at [his] age on legs that don’t feel that good.”
There is one huge obstacle blocking Soriano’s exit strategy from the North Side. Actually, there are about 45 million obstacles, thanks to a contract that will pay him
$18 million in each of the next two seasons. He’s making $18 million this season.
The list of contenders that could use 20-plus homers and 80 to 90 RBI is long. The list of contenders that would be willing to take on that kind of salary without the Cubs picking up most of it is very short. Make that nonexistent.
The Cubs had to pay the Miami Marlins to take Carlos Zambrano last offseason. They would have to do the same for Soriano.
Not that there isn’t any incentive to do so. Sveum said that when Anthony Rizzo is ready to be called up, the logical move is to shift Bryan LaHair to left field, handing Rizzo the every-day job at first base.
Soriano’s presence makes that difficult, considering the left fielder is limited as to where he can play.
If the Cubs know that Soriano isn’t their future, is eating, say,
$35 million over the next 21/2 seasons worth it to have him elsewhere?
Until that decision is made by team president Theo Epstein,
Soriano will remain just another trade rumor.
“It used to be tough,” Soriano said about hearing his name in trade talks. “Now, you know, I’m better at it, my 12 years, and I try not to pay attention to it. I just try and do my job every day. Whatever happens just happens because I don’t have control over the situation, but I don’t know what they want to do. I know I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to put that extra pressure on myself. I just want to go out there and do my job.”
Soriano got to play in two World Series when he was with the Yankees, losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001 and the Marlins in 2003. He hit a combined .234 with two homers and four RBI.
No wonder he thinks there’s unfinished business.