The Texas Rangers are having some pretty big questions in the outfield, and they are mostly about center field. Going for the newly-available Alfonso Soriano doesn’t answer the center field question, but it will answer the question of who will replace the production of Josh Hamilton quite nicely.
Soriano had a resurgent season last year after going through a pretty steady decline, and that resurgence was enormous. 32 home runs, 108 RBIs with a .500 slugging percentage – and that was in pitcher-friendly Wrigley Field. Imagine the stats he could put up in hitters paradise Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
In Texas, Soriano could go back to his 40 home run production the way he did for the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals. I have not heard any rumors about what the Chicago Cubs would want back for Soriano, but pitching seems necessary in Chicago.
What needs to be remembered is that Soriano did not play to his career averages during his two years in Texas in 2004 and 2005 but back then, he was just a young player coming off his first trade. I believe if the Rangers were to bring back Soriano for the next two seasons, he could do for the Rangers what Lance Berkman did for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011. He could be the missing piece for the Rangers like Berkman was for the Cardinals.
The Cubs have also stated that they are willing to pay all but $10 million of the remaining $36 million on Soriano’s contract. As long as the Cubs do not come out with an asking price that is far too high for only two seasons of an aging, poor defensive outfielder, this seems like a fantastic deal from the Rangers point of view.