Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano tells Theo Epstein he needs time
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org July 24, 2013 5:08PM
Should the Cubs trade Soriano?
- VIDEO – Cubs’ Epstein on Soriano trade situation: ‘We’re still relatively early in the process’
- VIDEO – Cubs’ Sveum on Soriano trade rumors: 'It’s part of this time of year'
Updated: July 25, 2013 7:30PM
PHOENIX — Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano said Wednesday he won’t use his no-trade rights to block a trade to the New York Yankees, but he also requested time this week before officially giving team president Theo Epstein the decision.
“There won’t be any official notification to the club until [Thursday] at the earliest,” said Epstein, who met with Soriano and manager Dale Sveum in Sveum’s clubhouse office at Chase Field after Tuesday night’s game.
“It was just kind of outlining the different options for Sori,” Epstein said. “We told him how much we respect and appreciate what he’s done here.”
They also made it clear that the timing might be right for a trade, which could come together quickly once Soriano makes his consent official. During a conversation with reporters Wednesday, Soriano twice said he won’t reject a trade to his original team, the Yankees, with whom he spent four seasons that included two trips to the World Series.
“I have a list [of acceptable teams]. The Yankees are on the list. Now we’re waiting,” said Soriano, who has talked with his family about a the possible trade.
“They support any decision that I make. It’s good to hear that from my family, especially my wife, because my kids are little and they don’t understand so far.”
Some of his six kids are too young to remember him playing for any team other than the Cubs.
Epstein would not discuss other details of the possible trade. But sources on both sides of the deal expected resolution this week, with the only issue remaining being how much of the $25 million left on Soriano’s contract the Yankees are willing to take.
His eight-year, $136 million deal runs through next season.
For the Cubs, the trade is more about clearing payroll and clearing playing opportunity for younger outfielders than haggling over the mid-level prospect they’re expected to receive in return.
“It seems like it might be an appropriate time if he is going to move on to do it now,” Epstein said. “We can keep [Junior] Lake in the lineup a little bit while he’s hot. We’ve got [David] DeJesus coming back from the DL. And we’ve got [Brian] Bogusevic getting ready to come back.
“So we’re in a mode where we’re looking to give opportunities to young players.”
They also discussed the postseason opportunities for Soriano in a trade compared to staying.
“I’d like to finish my contact here but at the same time I want another chance to be in the playoffs and the World Series,” he said. “I’d be more than happy if we started playing better and start winning here. But if not, I’m 37 so I want to have one more chance to go to the World Series.
“If they don’t have that in mind and they prepare the team for 2015 or 2016, then it’s too late for me. I try to be a champion here, but if not I’ve got to try to do that with another team.”
He also acknowledged the comfort level the Yankees would offer, including the presence of Derek Jeter, “my best friend when I played for the Yankees,” and good friend Mariano Rivera.
“I cannot feel better with [another team than] the Yankees,” he said. “I’m part of the family before with the Yankees.”
Soriano was out of the lineup Wednesday in part because of DeJesus’ return from a shoulder injury and Sveum’s desire to keep Lake in the lineup, and in part to provide what Soriano called “a break for my mind.”
He rejected a trade to the San Francisco Giants a year ago before trade talks progressed far, citing cool weather and his balky knee.
Said Epstein about the conversation this time around: “It’s pretty similar. It may have a different outcome.”