Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano says he’s open to waiving no-trade rights
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org July 19, 2011 10:40PM
Outfielder Alfonso Soriano would waive his no-trade clause if the Cubs want to deal him. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: October 27, 2011 12:32AM
No-trade clauses are of so little concern to Alfonso Soriano that he doesn’t even know he has one.
‘‘I do?’’ said the Cubs left fielder, who has had a full no-trade clause since the day he signed his eight-year, $136 million contract before the 2007 season. ‘‘I have to talk to my agent.’’
Point is, unlike Derrek Lee at this time last year or Aramis Ramirez now, Soriano won’t stand in the way if the Cubs decide that trading him helps achieve their long-term plans — and if they find a way to eat enough of the $61 million left on his contract to make it work.
‘‘If it was a contender, yes,’’ Soriano said of waiving the no-trade. ‘‘Of course, I want to win. I want to win here. But if not here, then somewhere else. . . .
‘‘First of all, I don’t want to leave here. I want to stay here because we’ve got to win it. But if they want to trade me, I think the team they would want to trade me to would be a contender that I could help.’’
The bigger questions involve the Cubs’ ability to match him up in a trade and the appetite ownership has for eating cash by the millions.
Don’t believe every ‘‘unconfirmed rumor’’ you read about the New York Yankees having interest in Soriano. His contract makes him impossible to trade, even to a team with deep pockets, in a simple value-for-value deal.
But general manager Jim Hendry vowed to be ‘‘aggressive’’ approaching the July 31 trading deadline and made it clear that every player not in the Cubs’ plans for next year and beyond is a candidate to be moved.
With this season having collapsed into a smoking pile long ago, that could mean extra efforts to move even the hard-to-trade, big-money guys, especially if it frees up a position opportunity for a well-regarded prospect.
Coincidence or not, Hendry is in Iowa this week watching the Class AAA Cubs, where top prospect Brett Jackson, an outfielder, recently was promoted.
Soriano at least becomes an intriguing Cub to watch as the trading deadline looms, along with Ramirez, first baseman Carlos Pena, left-hander John Grabow, right fielder Kosuke Fukudome and possibly another two or three guys.
In fact, the San Francisco Giants, who are said to be looking for a corner outfielder, had two scouts in attendance Tuesday night, though some of their duties obviously include advance work for next week’s Giants-Phillies series.
For Soriano, who turns 36 next January, winning is starting to take on more urgency.
‘‘I’m 35, and I want to win again,’’ he said. ‘‘I had a good time with the Yankees when we went to the playoffs [2001-03]. I had a good time here the first two years going to the playoffs [2007-08]. That’s what it’s all about. We prepare our minds to play good in the regular season to make the playoffs.
‘‘Whatever they want to do, I’m open. I’m a professional. I’m a soldier. ...”
He still would like to take a shot at turning things around with the Cubs, he said, although he admits he has no illusions about how quickly the Cubs might pull that off.
‘‘I don’t know. I hope next year, because I’ll be 36 next year, and I came here to win,’’ he said. ‘‘My first two years we made the playoffs. The last three, like, horrible, so far. So I hope we can turn it around next year like we did in 2007 [after a 96-loss 2006 season].’’
Unlike that offseason, there are no $300 million spending sprees on the horizon this time around.
Either way, Soriano is taking all the talk and rumors in stride.
‘‘It’s my 11th year, and probably my eighth year of trade rumors,’’ said Soriano, who has been traded twice in his big-league career. ‘‘So it’s nothing new to me. Especially the last two weeks of July, always rumors.’’