After losing left fielder Melky Cabrera to a 50-game PED suspension, the San Francisco Giants will be searching outside the organization for another reputable bat.
On Wednesday afternoon, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com announced via Twitter that the 36-year-old had cleared waivers:
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) August 15, 2012
Soriano's triple-slash line is .263/.320/.488 in 2012. He has slugged 21 home runs—all since May 15—and driven in 71 runs. With eight outfield assists and zero errors, he is enjoying his best defensive year since 2007.
Alas, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reported that Soriano would likely exercise his 10-and-five rights and veto any trade to the Bay Area:
"San Francisco is not good weather to play in. It's on the West Coast and I've never played on the West Coast. We'll see what happens if they call. I'll talk to my family then and see. It's not my call. i know it's 50 percent of my call, but it's my family's (call) too. I'd talk to my family and see what happens."
I think the Giants should plead for his services.
The only other left fielder to clear waivers this August has been Carl Crawford (yuck). Lingering elbow issues compromise his defense, and Crawford admitted to ESPNBoston.com last month that he'll likely undergo reconstructive Tommy John surgery in the not-too-distant future. And oh yeah—his ginormous contract runs through 2017.
Soriano, meanwhile, can be dismissed after 2014. He is owed $40-plus million in the interim, but the Cubs would certainly eat the vast majority of that in a potential deal. They are in rebuilding mode and "desperate" to flip their biggest financial commitment for a couple high-ceiling prospects before injury or ineffectiveness devalues him.
If Soriano doesn't cooperate, the Giants could make a big splash by snatching Josh Willingham from the Minnesota Twins.
His .917 OPS this season is actually better than Cabrera's .906. Given Willingham's consistent production since becoming an everyday player, his salaries of $7 million in 2013 and 2014 aren't the least bit outrageous.
A week prior to July's non-waiver deadline, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports was told that the Twins wanted a lot for their top slugger:
One GM on the availability of #Twins' Josh Willingham: "He's out there if you want to pay, like, forever."
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 24, 2012
Every decision that Giants management has made this summer suggests that the club plans to perennially compete for championships. That's why I expect GM Brian Sabean to offer whatever desirable prospects he has left to complete a Josh Willingham blockbuster.