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MLB Chicago Cubs

MLB Rumors: Alfonso Soriano Staying With Chicago Cubs

Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

One of the names you’ll see frequently in MLB Rumors this off-season will be Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano.

2012 was the slugger’s best season in years as he hit .262 with 32 home runs and 108 RBI. His defense also improved, and he reportedly has become one of the team’s best veteran leaders and clubhouse guys. These are all things I never thought I’d see or hear from Soriano ever again, as it seemed his best baseball days were behind him after the last couple of years.

Everything has changed after a very good season though.

Now it seems like a real possibility the Cubs could hold onto the veteran outfielder, even though at one time it was almost certain he would be moved.

Soriano has said he’d like to play in a World Series, and that’s really the only reason he would want out of Chicago:

“I have a lot of time to think about it. I’m ready to see my name in a lot of rumors, but we’ll see what they want and what they can do. I hope that we can be on the same page and see what happens.”

It’s come to the point where the Cubs will have to get some solid prospects in return to even consider a Soriano trade, simply because he does produce so much for them in the lineup.

Theo Epstein commented on the evaluation process of a Soriano deal:

“I think if teams pursue him in a trade we will consider it and see if it makes our future better and makes us a better organization going forward. But he’s got value to us because he helps us win games, he provides protection in the lineup, and he’s a great example for our younger players to follow in the clubhouse.”

What a difference a year makes. No one was saying anything of this sort last year, it wasn’t a matter of if the Cubs would trade him, it was a matter of when. That’s all completely changed.

So it seems like a real possibility that Soriano will remain in Chicago at least for the start of another season, unless someone comes knocking with an offer the team can’t refuse. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this because he is such a key part of the lineup, but it’s a last place lineup. Even with him on the current roster, the Cubs won’t make any noise.

With the focus on the future in Chicago, dealing Soriano is definitely the better long-term option, so if I had to choose, I would deal him for the best prospects a team is willing to offer.

Unless the Cubs are preparing to bring in a few more bats to surround Soriano, he’ll be better off somewhere else too, if in fact his goal is to play for a championship.

Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter @the_realfish