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Will the Chicago Cubs Be Able to Move Alfonso Soriano?

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Will the Chicago Cubs Be Able to Move Alfonso Soriano?
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With Saturday's trade (via latimes.com) between the Red Sox and Dodgers, the Cubs lost a possible suitor for Alfonso Soriano

But with the month Soriano has had thus far, the list of possible teams seeking to procure the services of the rejuvenated left fielder may have expanded.  In the month of August, Soriano has belted four home runs, knocked in 16 RBI and stolen three bases, though his batting average for the month is only .221.

After clearing waivers on August 15, Soriano is sure to again be the target of trade speculation as the MLB season enters the stretch run. 

What held up moving Soriano prior to the July 31 deadline was the fact Alfonso Soriano is a ten-and-five player, meaning that even without the no-trade clause he would still hold the right to reject a trade to any team—as he appeared to have done before the non-waiver trade deadline in a proposed trade to San Francisco. 

As much as the Giants need a corner outfielder to replace the bat lost by Melky Cabrera’s 50-game suspension, Soriano accepting a move there does not seem likely.  Unless the weather there changes:

“I don't think so, because San Francisco is not good weather to play...”

In an article by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, Soriano did say the only West Coast team he would accept a trade to would be the Los Angeles Dodgers.  This possibility was rendered moot by the Dodgers after their deal with the Red Sox and an earlier trade that brought Shane Victorino to L.A.

Two possibilities down—unless Soriano has a change of heart regarding San Francisco.  How many to go?

When Victor Martinez tore his ACL in January 2012, the Detroit Tigers were hopeful he would be able to return to the lineup by mid- to late-August.  But Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reported on July 31 that V-Mart has not yet been able to run, nor put his full weight on his leg.

In that same report, Knobler noted the Tigers wanting to trade for another bat–preferably a right-handed one—to fill the DH role.  He included Soriano as a consideration but then labeled that move as “unlikely”.

The most likely trade partner is an East Coat team which plays in a climate hospitable to Soriano’s wishes. But even that trade option is still dicey.

The Tampa Bay Rays were on the majority of lists of possible fits for Soriano.  Although in Evan Longoria’s absence the Rays managed a dismal team line of .223/.304/.351, trading for Soriano does not seem likely at this juncture.

Adding a rejuvenated Alfonso Soriano (.262/.318/.492) to the lineup would definitely represent an offensive upgrade over the current options in left field.  In doing so, however, the Rays would have to figure out a way to split playing time between Soriano and Jennings without throwing a wrench into Jennings’ development.

That problem could be solved by spotting Soriano at DH when Jennings plays left.  For the immediate future, however, Jeff Keppinger and Evan Longoria will alternate in left field as Longo continues to recover from his hamstring injury.

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Once Longo moves back to his full-time role as the Rays’ third baseman, however, an opportunity to rotate Soriano between left field and DH would open up.  It’s simply unknown how long it will take for Longo to fully recover from his torn hamstring and re-establish himself as the starting third baseman.

If the Cubs were to strike a deal with the Rays, they would most likely have to pick up a big chunk of Soriano's remaining salary—a move they would be willing to make if the right deal materializes. According to ESPNChicago.com:

“The Chicago Cubs would be willing to absorb a high percentage of left fielder Alfonso Soriano's contract if the right trade offer came along...”

This is a claim echoed in the aforementioned article by Jon Heyman.

“He's still a productive player, one competing GM said, noting, "It all comes down to how much the Cubs are willing to pay his contract down. If they'd pay him down to $1 (million) to $2 million a year, I'd think a lot of teams would be interested.

One source suggested before the deadline the Cubs offered at least one team to pay Soriano's $18-million salary down to $3 million. Soriano's contract runs through 2014.” 

What the Cubs have going for them is that the playoffs are getting closer and games to play are becoming fewer and fewer. 

As September comes around, and the playoff push comes into full swing, the Rays may make a move for Soriano’s bat if they are still within striking distance of the Yankees for the AL East crown.

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