The Cubs are not going to win the World Series this year. In fact, they are currently on pace to fall short of 60 wins for the season. With new President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein being famously unsentimental, they will probably try to trade everything in Wrigleyville short of the Ivy to improve the team.
Dealing Alfonso Soriano—their veteran left fielder—will be a challenge. He is having a decent season, but he is getting paid $18 million this year, next year and in 2013. To be clear, that is $18 million each year. That was a blockbusting disaster of a contract by former General Manager Jim Hendry—who went all in before the 2007 season.
Soriano might have some value, but not that of an elite player—and power hitters entering their late 30s like Soriano do not have the same value as they used to have before the Mitchell Report.
So are the Cubs looking at dragging Soriano out to left field for the next two and a half years? Perhaps, but perhaps not. The key to dumping a rancid contract is to find a partner who is desperate and in need to make a quick decision.
Remember how the Blue Jays gave Vernon Wells a horrific contract that owed the fading left fielder more than $20 million for four more seasons? They must have hypnotized the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to pick up most of that tab and send some quality players back in return.
In fact, the Angels were in a desperate need to show their fans that they were going to improve their offense. They thought they were going to sign Carl Crawford from Tampa, but he went to Boston—who are now desperate to unload his deal. Wells was available and the deal was made.
The Cubs should realize that there is a potential suitor that has a sense of desperation for a hitter. The Los Angeles Dodgers could be the suckers they are looking for.
A month ago, the Dodgers had a seven-and-a-half game lead and looked poised to run away with the west. They went into San Francisco this week and not only were swept, but they did not score a run the entire series. Now after last night's loss to the Mets, they have fallen from first place completely.
The team's offense is not overly healthy—with injuries to Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier—and needs a jolt. They have been held scoreless for 38 of their last 39 innings.
The new ownership wants to show Dodger fans that the bankruptcy days of Frank McCourt are over. They are about to sign Yasiel Puig—a Cuban defector who has not played a day in the minors—to a $42 million deal. They are willing to throw money around.
The question is: are they willing to flush it down the toilet like their nominal neighbors—the Los Angeles of Anaheim—did with Wells? Are the Dodgers so eager to put a winner on the field and clinch a winnable Division and instantly become a legitimate pennant contender that they would relieve Epstein of Hendry's blunder?
Now is the time to ask. Now is the moment of desperation where they can be convinced that a change of scenery for Soriano and an influx of new blood in Los Angeles could be a lethal combination—similar to the arrival of Manny Ramirez in 2008.
Earlier this year, I suggested that the Dodgers should acquire Ichiro Suzuki, and I stand by my reasoning. But this is not a plea to the Dodgers but rather to the Cubs.
Offer the Dodgers Soriano and ask for little in return. A few Dodgers dogs and an autographed picture of Magic Johnson should suffice. There may never be a better time to unload him to a deep pocketed sucker than now!