375 career home runs. 273 career stolen bases. Seven time all-star. Has any player accumulated such amazing figures and been less heralded than Chicago Cubs OF Alfonso Soriano?
While the Cubs are surely not aiming to contend in 2013 — and probably not 2014 either — they have made no secrets that all players on their 25-man roster are available, with the likely exception of SS Starlin Castro and 1B Anthony Rizzo.
The two most discussed trade chips are Soriano and RP Carlos Marmol. While both have gotten off to slow starts, Soriano’s start is not alarming. Though he had no home runs before May 14 in 2012, Soriano wound up with 32 long balls. After hitting two on May 4, Soriano is up to three in the 2013 campaign. No one will tout his defense at this point in his career, but the power is unmistakable.
The Pirates, for the second straight year, are early-season contenders primarily on the back of their pitching. Though they are getting strong production from OF Starling Marte, the Pirates have gotten by with only four qualified hitters with an OBP over .315. This abysmal offensive production will likely endure a small uptick as the underlying metrics get closer to their means, but the pitching will also likely regress.
To make a substantial improvement to the offense, the Pirates will need more than BABIP jumps. They could use Soriano.
The Pirates picked up Wandy Rodriguez from the selling Houston Astros last season, and they could make a similar move this year. In that deal, the Astros were asked to pick up much of Rodriguez’s salary to get Bucs OF prospect Robbie Grossman. With the Cubs, however, the Pirates may not need to offer such a high-level prospect, as Soriano has much more money remaining on his deal.
Few deals are made in May — and even June — so the Pirates will have time to gain more data, but it seems that an addition to the offensive repertoire may be necessary. Alfonso Soriano’s power may be the perfect piece.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.