The 14-year veteran had his best season with the Cubs in 2012, but it took six years for him to start to live up to the exorbitant contract given to him after his 2006 season. Soriano has been a much-maligned player in Chicago for his failure to live up to the lofty expectations that accompany the $136 million contract he signed, and wouldn’t you know he has his best season in a 101-loss season.
Soriano led the team with 32 home runs and had a career-high 108 RBI, while playing in 151 games. The hope is that Soriano gets out to a hot start and can be traded for a young prospect or two and will pay a healthy portion of the remaining dollars on his contract to get a deal done.
Despite nixing a trade to the San Francisco Giants last season—the eventual World Series Champions—Soriano would welcome a trade if it’s to a contender. One contender that could use a right handed power bat is the Detroit Tigers who could platoon him with left-hander Andy Dirks and also use him as a designated hitter to preserve the health of his legs.
More teams will emerge during the first two months of the season as injuries mount and teams get a better feel for their own players in their farm system that may not be ready to contribute thus necessitating a trade.
Soriano won’t just be a salary dump, however, as he has been producing at a very high level and is a beloved figure in the Cubs clubhouse. He may prove to be more worthy to the Cubs because he can provide protection for Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo in the lineup, so if the Cubs don’t get any offers to their liking they can elect to keep him for another year.
However, I think the likelihood is that Soriano’s tenure will be coming to an end here in Chicago in the next three and a half months. Hopefully he brings back a young arm and a quality third base prospect.