The Chicago Cubs didn’t make a mistake when they signed Alfonso Soriano in 2007. Soriano has been an impact player who could hit for power and had the ability to steal many bases. The mistake the Cubs general manager, at that time Jim Hendry, made was the length and the guaranteed money that went into his contract.
Without Soriano the Chicago Cubs would not have won the National Central Division in 2007 and 2008. That being said, since signing with the Cubs in 2007, he has only played in around 140 games per season. He is a streaky hitter, when he is on there is almost no one in baseball that can hit better. When he is slumping he’ll swing and miss at everything in sight. Soriano does not steal bases the way he use too before he came to the Cubs either. That can be blamed on injuries to legs which have increased as he has gotten older.
Other than his 3 years left on his guaranteed contract worth about 54 million dollars, Soriano biggest liability is in his fielding. For this reason alone the Cubs hopefully are trying to find a team that is willing to make a deal for him. He has never been a good outfielder, but when he was hitting well it hid some of his outfield miscues. Soriano’s playing has lead to the Chicago Cubs losing games they could have won by his poor decision making in the outfield. The Chicago Cubs fan base is tired of holding their breath whenever a ball is hit in the area where Soriano will have to make a play on it.
The Cubs have to be willing to make the decision they made when they traded Carlos Zambrano. They have to be willing to eat up most of his salary; there is no way around this for the Cubs. They should look to get some or at least one quality pro player or a top prospect at least in any trade they do with Soriano. If the Chicago Cubs do not trade Soriano by opening day, there is no doubt in my mind a team looking for an extra bat in their lineup will be open to dealing for Soriano by the trade deadline of July 31st. Most likely it will be an American League team that will want him more for his bat to be used as a designated hitter, rather put him in the outfield.
If the Cubs cannot trade Soriano they should just release him and eat his money. This is not an easy decision for Theo Epstein but the Chicago Cubs are going in a youth movement that will take some time to show promise. The Chicago Cubs do not have an outfielder that will replace Soriano’s bat in their lineup however; David Dejesus, Reed Johnson, and Tony Campana, can play the defense that Soriano cannot.
The bottom line is these players I just mentioned are short term replacements for Alfonso Soriano the Cubs will need to bring up a player from their improving farm system or bring in a player via trade or free agency that can better replace Soriano. The Chicago Cubs have to rid themselves of Soriano, the Cubs will be better off in the long term. That is what Theo Esptein is telling the Chicago Cubs faithful. That he and his staff will make the decisions they have to in order to make the Chicago Cubs successful long term. Making a deal or releasing Alfonso Soriano will go a long way in accomplishing this goal.