Alfonso Soriano has been a Chicago Cub for the past seven seasons, but the 37-year-old outfielder is moving on to greener pastures, as the Cubbies have dealt him to the New York Yankees for minor-league pitcher Corey Black (via CBS' Jon Heyman) ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported the deal and provided some financial details.
The Yankees made the deal official on Friday:
UPDATE: Friday, July 26, at 4:40 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
YES Network announced the Yankees' lineup for Friday night's game:
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UPDATE: Friday, July 26, at 12:37 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman confirms the prospect coming to the Cubs in exchange for Soriano:
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Joel Sherman of the New York Post provided more details on the deal and the Yankees' thought process behind it.
The seven-time All-Star is having a strong 2013 campaign in Chicago as he is hitting .254 with 17 home runs and 51 RBI. With the Cubs well out of the NL playoff race, however, it made perfect sense for president Theo Epstein to trade Soriano to a team that he could potentially help lead to the playoffs.
Despite the lack of success that the Cubs have had since Soriano signed with them prior to the 2007 season, he has remained loyal to the organization. The Cubs attempted to trade Soriano to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants at last year's deadline, but Soriano rejected the deal, according to Wittenmyer.
Soriano likely felt as though it was time to move on this year, though, as the Cubs are moving in a different direction. Soriano was very productive for Chicago, but the Cubbies are in the middle of a complete rebuild, and they simply don't have much use for players like Soriano at this point.
With that said, Soriano brings a lot to his new team despite that fact that he is obviously well past his prime. Soriano hasn't made the All-Star team since 2008, but he has had plenty of solid seasons since then, including last year when his .262 average, 32 home runs and career-high 108 RBI were enough to net him a 20th-place finish in NL MVP voting.
Soriano isn't quite on the same pace this season, but he is still a reliable, right-handed power hitter who will be much better off away from Chicago. Soriano will never again approach a .300 average, 40 home runs or 40 stolen bases, but he has proven to be one of the most consistent sluggers in the game over the past several years.
He's three home runs shy of extending his streak of hitting at least 20 home runs to 12 straight seasons. During the streak, Soriano has six 30-homer seasons to his credit, so there is no doubt that he knows how to hit the ball out of the ballpark.
Soriano was once considered to be one of the best players in baseball. That was certainly the case when he was the second baseman for the Yankees back in 2002. Soriano had one of the most prolific seasons by a second baseman in MLB history as he narrowly missed out of the exclusive 40/40 club that year.
The Dominican star hit .300 with 39 home runs, 102 RBI and 41 steals that year for the Bronx Bombers. He was traded to the Texas Rangers after the following season in a deal that brought Alex Rodriguez to New York. Soriano had two solid seasons in Texas before being dealt to the Washington Nationals and hitting 46 homers in his only season there.
It's unlikely that Soriano will be viewed as a Hall of Famer once his career comes to an end, but his career numbers are certainly impressive. Soriano is just 11 home runs short of 400 for his career, and he has 1,086 RBI and 280 stolen bases to boot.
Soriano has been a fixture in the middle of MLB lineups for 15 seasons, and he still appears to have plenty left in the tank. Not only should Soriano provide a big boost for the playoff push, but he is signed through next season as well.
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