One of the big rumors heading into this week’s Winter Meetings is that the Chicago Cubs will attempt to shop Alfonso Soriano. This has been a rumor for quite some time, but nothing has ever materialized, with the closest the Cubs have gotten to trading him being a potential deal with the San Francisco Giants that he turned down.
There’s no doubt that Soriano’s tenure as a Cub has been one filled with disappointment. He’s been plagued by strikeouts and streakiness, not unlike former fan favorite Sammy Sosa. More than his performance, it’s his contract that has made him unpopular, and it’s his contract that the Cubs would like to unload.
Regardless of where Soriano ends up, the Cubs will still end up paying the majority of what is remaining on his contract. That’s especially true if they hope to get anything near a reasonable return for him. Even though his body has worn down and his numbers have been inconsistent, there is still value for a guy like Soriano, especially after last season.
Soriano had one of his better campaigns as a Cub in 2012. He was in the top five in the National League in RBIs and looked miles better in the field, with a bit/lot of coaching from Dave McKay. Without Soriano, it’s not hard to imagine the Cubs losing quite a few more games than they dropped in 2012, even if his WAR was only about two.
Theo Epstein has made it pretty clear that he’ll listen to offers for just about anyone on his roster, so it should come as no surprise that the Cubs would consider offers for Soriano. But would that be the right decision? After all, they already have one hole to fill in the outfield in this thin market, and dealing Soriano would leave an even bigger hole in the lineup, offensively.
Ultimately, the Cubs will probably discuss Soriano with quite a few teams. But it’s hard to see him being dealt this winter. The Cubs want value for him, this isn’t going to be a pure salary dump, especially considering that they’ll still be paying for him. If he is traded, a deadline deal makes much more sense. But don’t be surprised to see Soriano still in Chicago by the time the Winter Meetings draw to a close.