The Chicago Cubs need to trade Alfonso Soriano and the two-years, $36 million left on his contract and he will only accept a trade to six or seven teams. Not surprisingly, the New York Yankees are on that list. Interestingly enough, the Yankees would be a perfect fit for the 37-year-old outfielder.
The Yankees are in desperate need of a right-handed bat in the outfield. Ichiro Suzuki, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner are all left-handed hitters. On the bench the Yankees will see Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera battle it out to replace Andruw Jones. The Yankees designated hitter is slated to be another left hitter in Travis Hafner. Adding Soriano would give them a right-handed bat to balance the lineup when necessary.
I can hear the groans from Yankees’ fans already. Those groans will be louder when you have Chris Stewart or Francisco Cervelli coming up in big hitting situations and the only options to hit for them are Matt Diaz or Juan Rivera. Not exactly overwhelming.
The Cubs have expressed a willingness to pick up a large portion of Soriano’s contract. If the Yankees can get the Cubs to pick up all but $6 million per year then only $6 million would count against the Yankees’ luxury tax cap of $189 million. Even with the Cubs picking up a large portion of Soriano’s deal it won’t cost much in terms of prospects.
Soriano has played in New York, has played in World Series’ in New York so he is no stranger to the city or the Yankees’ clubhouse if any of that really matters.
We can all agree that Soriano is entering the twilight of his career. However, he still put up a .262/.322/.499 line with 32 home runs and 108 RBIs. We all know Soriano will strike out too much, 153 times last season which was third highest amount in his career, can’t run anymore and is a little bit of a liability in the outfield these days. However, let us not forget that the Yankees were willing to play Raul Ibanez in the outfield and he might be one of the few who is worse than Soriano.
The Yankees are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They are without Alex Rodriguez and his power bat, whatever is left of it these days, until July at the earliest. Russell Martin and his 21 home runs from the right side are gone. The Yankees need pop from the right side of the plate. They need some balance in their lineup.
Is it an ideal marriage between Soriano and the Yankees? No, I would be lying if I said it was. However, sometimes in baseball you don’t need ideal marriages, you just need partners to agree to stay together for a little while. That is what a Soriano-Yankees marriage would be, a convenient relationship with a hope of winning a World Series.
Right now, on an average day the Yankees right-handed hitters are Derek Jeter, Kevin Youkilis, Francisco Cervelli or Chris Stewart and switch-hitter Mark Teixeira. Adding Soriano would give the Yankees some legitimate pop from the right side and add balance to the outfield/DH spot. If the Cubs want to foot most of the bill the Yankees need to move, especially if they are faced with the possibility of losing Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson and the 70+ home runs they provide each year.
Soriano is the best bat on the trade market. The Cubs have a limited number of teams they can deal with. They are willing to pick up a large portion of the bill. This is a trade that needs to happen, Soriano’s warts and all.