MLB Trade Rumors: Cubs Dangle Soriano; Ramirez Wants to Stay; Would Wood Go?

Phil GardnerContributor IIIJuly 22, 2011

The Cubs are reportedly willing to eat a significant amount of the $60 million owed to Soriano
The Cubs are reportedly willing to eat a significant amount of the $60 million owed to SorianoMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

With roughly $60 million and just over three years remaining on his contract, Alfonso Soriano is a difficult piece to move.

Add in the fact that he’s batting just .249 with an OPS of .736 and it’s even more difficult for the Cubs to entice teams to take him off their hands.

That’s probably why the Cubs announced that they would be willing to eat a significant portion of his salary if a trade were possible (Bruce Levine, ESPN Chicago).

The 35-year-old outfielder also has infield experience from his time with the Yankees. Although defense was never his strongest attribute, he was a prolific hitter and was only one home run away from batting .300, stealing 40 bases and blasting 40 home runs in a single season.

This season, he’s still hitting lefties very well, posting a .319 average and a .945 OPS. He could potentially be a good pickup for a team looking for right-handed power.

The announcement on Soriano is interesting given Cubs GM Jim Hendry’s comments regarding their approach to the trade deadline.

As Hendry told Rick Brown of the Des Moines Register:

“Why would we trade anybody who we think is going to help us next year or the years after?  I would say if we move anyone it would be somebody we clearly knew wouldn’t be back.  We’re not going to move people that we think are going to help us."

Clearly, they don’t see Soriano as a player they would like to keep around for the remainder of his contract.

Another player the Cubs might be willing to move would be third baseman Aramis Ramirez. He’s been in the MLB ten years and has spent the last five with the same team—this gives him a full no trade clause.

His agent revealed to Ken Rosenthal that it appears likely that Ramirez would exercise this right and block a trade that would occur before the trade deadline.

The driving force behind that is the fact Ramirez doesn’t want to uproot his family during the next few weeks.

However, this could change after they move back to the Dominican Republic in August. At that time, a trade could become possible; he would just need to clear waivers before he could be traded.

Out of the Cubs bullpen, Kerry Wood figures to draw a lot of interest. John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR in Phoenix tweeted that the Diamondbacks were interested in acquiring Wood as a seventh inning bullpen option.

The difficultly in acquiring Wood comes with his full no trade clause. While a winning team may be able to persuade him to approve a trade, it’s important to note that he turned down longer contracts with more lucrative salaries to return to the Cubs. He even turned down such a contract offered by the Cubs' cross town rivals, the White Sox.