Why the Chicago Cubs Need to Ride Alfonso Soriano's Hot Streak Then Trade Him

Paul GrossingerAnalyst IIApril 14, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 11: Alfonso Soriano #12 of the Chicago Cubs bats against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field on April 11, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Brewers defeated the Cubs 2-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Cubs fans, I'd like to take a poll. How many of you expected Alfonso Soriano to be hitting over .300 after the first week of the season?

I'd be shocked if more than 10 percent of you said yes.

Nonetheless, Soriano has been the most impressive Cub this season, outside of young superstar Starlin Castro.  He has been an offensive catalyst for the team while batting .302 with six RBIs and a stolen base.

Soriano historically starts strong and then fades as injuries catch up to him and limit his production. But he looks healthier than usual (even at the start of the season) and is benefiting from new manager Dave Sveum's penchant for running the base paths.

Now, the Cubs need to ride Soriano's hot streak while looking for the right opportunity to trade him to a contender.

He will not keep up this kind of production all season but could keep playing at a high level while healthy.  If he can also show other teams that he still has the speed to steal some bases, then his value will shoot up.

Soriano's play could open up trade opportunities that looked like long shots during the preseason.

Before now, teams saw Soriano as a low-average player whose speed was long gone; basically, to them, he was just a power guy.  He may still be that, but, if he keeps his average above .280 for a while and continues to steal bases, that perception will change.  

And the Cubs desperately need it to change so they can deal him off the roster and convince a team to pay some of his salary.

Which teams might be willing to do that?  

Some interesting options may open up. The Boston Red Sox outfield is a disaster, and it is showing in their 2-5 start.  Cody Ross and Mike Sweeney are manning the corners and neither of them has the hitting ability to be a starting outfielder.

Soriano could be a fit, mixing left field with days at designated hitter. The Red Sox certainly need his offensive production with all their question marks across the diamond.

The Chicago White Sox are also intriguing.  

The Sox are playing fairly well to start the season, which means they might take on salary to contend after dumping millions in contract obligations in the offseason. Current outfielders Alex Rios and Dayan Viciedo are disasters in the early going, so the team may want Soriano's 30-plus home runs at the right price.  

Whatever happens, Cubs fans should be excited about Soriano's hot streak.  If nothing else, it gives the franchise better options moving forward.