According to a report from Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com, Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano is willing to waive his no-trade clause to join a team that wants his power bat, so expect the rumor mill to include the 37-year-old slugger's name for the majority of July.
While rumors about Soriano's departure from Chicago are a yearly endeavor, 2013 may be different than past years. With just one year remaining on his long-term contract, Soriano becomes cheaper by the day to acquire. In fact, with less than half of his 2013 salary of $18 million remaining, along with another $18 million coming his way in 2014, Soriano becomes more movable by the inning.
At this point, it's not crazy to assume Chicago eating almost every dollar of his salary to receive back a realistic prospect haul for a player of Soriano's caliber.
While Soriano is producing predictably poor plate discipline numbers (.289 OBP, 77/10 K/BB), his power (13 HR, .459 SLG) can help many contending teams in need of a right-handed bat.
If a trade is to finally commence, landing Soriano on a contender and away from the rebuilding Cubs, here are the teams that likely will be most interested.
Any team that brings in Jeff Francouer for offense is in need of a serious boost of run-scoring ability. Due to a combination of poor play and injuries, San Fran has received just a .683 OPS from their collective group of left fielders this season, good for the fifth-worst mark among the positional groups in the sport.
As their pitching staff suffers through an uncharacteristically down year, smart money has them pursuing an arm to solidify the staff, but adding a bat like Soriano could ease the pressure off Buster Posey and slightly soften the blow if Hunter Pence departs as a free agent in the offseason.
After acquiring Scott Feldman from Chicago last week, it would seem to reason that Baltimore has upgraded themselves enough to not warrant another trade conversation with the Cubs, especially on the offensive side.
With Manny Machado and Chris Davis enjoying breakout seasons, the Orioles boast one of the best offenses in baseball, but if there's one spot in the lineup that can be improved, it lies at designated hitter.
If Brian Roberts' return is a boon, count the Orioles out of any discussion of designated hitter types, but if he falters or finds himself back on the DL, adding Soriano on the cheap would give Baltimore the deepest, most fearsome lineup the AL has seen in years.
With an organizational mandate to fall below the $189 million tax in 2014, taking on salary, especially for the spot Vernon Wells was traded for to fill in 2013 and 2014, would seem to be out of character for the New York Yankees.
Yet, if any team knows the strengths and weaknesses of Soriano's game, it would be the organization and general manager who saw him rise through the farm system. The former Yankee could return to give the team the boost, especially against left-handed pitching, that they've lacked all season.
While it would seem that there's little room for a player like Soriano if Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson return to fulfill the team needs for right-handed pop, designated hitter at-bats and left field play, respectively, a set back from one or more of the group isn't just possible, it's actually likely.
Odds are, Soriano plays out the string once again in Chicago, but if the marriage is finally over, multiple teams will be interested.
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