NEW YORK — Alfonso Soriano misses the city and his old friends. But there’s little about the way the last few years of scaled-down baseball went that he misses from his nearly seven years as a Cub.
“Yeah, that’s the worst part of Chicago,” he said of the deconstructed rosters and constant losing that prompted him to use mind tricks to convince himself the team could contend.
“At my age, I just want to win. I don’t want to be a part of the future. I want to be a part of the present. And with the Yankees, it’s all about the present. It’s about going to the World Series. Chicago, the way they go is for the future, and at my age, I want to think about the present.”
That was part of the deal when he signed the eight-year, $136 million contract — two owners, one front-office regime and three managers ago. He’s still the highest-paid player on the Cubs’ payroll with the team picking up $13 million of his $18 million salary in the final year of his contract.
He holds no hard feelings for the way things played out those last few years in Chicago, saying he loved playing every day and enjoyed his time there. But he’s admittedly very happy to be back with his original team, back on a roster of All-Stars, if faded in several cases, and with a chance to add to the biggest haul of World Series titles in history.
He used to tell teammates in Chicago, “You can be God in the city” by pulling off just one title. And he was sure they were about to make it happen when they won back-to-back division titles his first two seasons.
“After that, I don’t know what happened,” he said. “It’s sad that we didn’t win. But at least we tried. I tried.”
Despite widespread optimism when Theo Epstein was hired to take over the front office after the 2011 season, Soriano said he wasn’t sure how much success the Cubs could expect any time soon.
‘‘A team gets better when it gets a good player,” he said. ‘‘But you hire a manager or fire a hitting coach, I don’t know. The only thing that’s good is when you get a good player to make the team better. That’s the only way I can see that can help the team to win.”