Nearly every major player associated with the underachieving Cubs of the Jim Hendry/Lou Piniella era is no longer with the team.
Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Zambrano and Kosuke Fukudome will all be playing elsewhere in 2012. Longtime pitcher Ryan Dempster has only one year left on his contract.
The lone exception to this trend? Alfonso Soriano.
After posting good numbers in his first two years with the team in 2008 and 2009, Soriano started fading fast. In '09, he hit .241 with an on-base percentage of .303 and just 55 RBIs. In 2011, his on-base percentage dipped all the way to .289.
He is not the player he used to be, and never will be again.
Still, Soriano has averaged 25 home runs per season in the last two years, so he still may have some value as a designated hitter.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are committing to a complete rebuild of the Cubs, and there is simply no room for Soriano in their plans.
Soriano has been linked to rumors involving fellow underachiever Brian Roberts of the Baltimore Orioles, and it is all but certain that the Cubs will try to shop him elsewhere if that deal does not materialize.