The Cubs can’t get offense out of Alfonso Soriano (hitting .214 through nine games this year, not to mention the .241 average that he boasted in 2009). Defense is out of the question (two embarrassing outfield gaffs on Wednesday alone, causing Lou to yank him late in the game; he led all leftfielders in the Majors in errors in 2009).
Will Chicago eat his $18 million a year contract and release him before it expires after the 2014 season? GM Jim Hendry, speaking to MLB Network Radio this morning, says “no.” Due to the size of the contract, a trade is out of the question….and who would want Soriano anyway?
Cubs fans thought all of the same things about Milton Bradley last year. But, lo and behold, the Seattle Mariners came calling…and so far, that trade looks to have worked out for both sides (Milton’s production is up in Seattle, although his attitude is unchanged; Carlos Silva has been outpitching Carlos Zambrano on the Northside).
If no one comes a-calling for Soriano, though, the Cubs should drop him from the 25-man roster…but not release him from his contract. I know there are clauses in MLB contracts which would prevent them from doing this, but I’m sure the Cubs could find some way around them for the amount of money involved.
Jim Hendry should keep him around and make him work off that $18 million a year as a batboy. Sure, he Soriano wouldn’t hustle to fetch the bats, which would slow games down and make umpire Joe West angry. I could also see fans booing Soriano for every bat that he drops on his way back to the dugout… Actually, that might not work out after all. Whatever happens, don’t expect the Cubs to be content with letting their one-time franchise player drive his Bentley off into the sunset with over $60 million left on his contract.
Soriano injured his right leg while making a routine catch in leftfield. The injury occurred in the first inning of Tuesday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds. The Cubs are calling the injury, which happened when Soriano made his trademark “hop,” a “right calf strain.” It’s a good thing that the Cubs held onto leftfielder Matt Murton in the offseason. Murton may not hop around after catches, but he’s a durable replacement with a career .296 batting average–.15 points better than Soriano’s, by the way.