Chicago Cubs fans have to be wondering what they did to hinder Alfonso Soriano. Since he reunited with the New York Yankees on July 26, Soriano has looked like the type of hitter the Cubs expected to get when they signed him to a team-record eight-year, $136-million deal.
Before going to Chicago, Soriano’s numbers were staggering. Hitting for average has never been his forte, but he could do it all. Prior to joining the Cubs in 2007, Soriano averaged nearly 35 stolen bases and 37 home runs per year. At 37-years-old, the Yankees certainly don’t expect him to steal bases with regularity, but they look like geniuses for picking up his hefty contract and revitalizing the aging slugger.
Since his move to the Bronx, Soriano has hit eight home runs, compiled 24 hits and scored 18 runs in 19 games. He also tied a major league record on Saturday by racking up 18 RBIs over his last four games.
It’s not like he was a horrible player while with the Cubs, but Chicagoans had lofty expectations for the star, which may have been the reason for stunting his growth. Soriano stopped stealing bases at the same rate once he moved to Chicago. It may be a product of being a bit older, but he averaged just over 11 stolen bases in six and a half seasons in Chicago.
His power numbers dipped with his move to the Cubs as well. His numbers were pretty consistent, but you might expect someone who was slowing down on the base paths to be adding bulk and power at the plate. Soriano never hit more than 33 home runs for the Cubs, which happened his first year with the team.
It’s not like he was ever a terrible player in Chicago, but the fans there expected so much of him because of the eye-popping numbers he put up prior to joining the team. That said, it appears that joining his old team has revitalized the Dominican.