Soto is another potential trading chip because of his age (27), hitting, defensive adequacy and cheap price tag: $3 million (with two arbitration-eligible seasons before free agency).
And if the Cubs are committed to Welington Castillo or Steve Clevenger for full-time duty, Soto would be an upgrade for most teams.
In four seasons, he's been Rookie of the Year and an All-Star (2008), showing 15-25 homer power and sporting a .348 career OBP.
He's also well-liked in the clubhouse. “Everybody loves him,” said friend and fellow trade bait, Randy Wells.
Of course, everything that makes Geovany valuable to other teams make him a good fit for the Cubs, too.
To move Soto, Hoyer & Co. must be fully invested in Castillo and Clevenger. Or seriously considering Jason Varitek as a platoon catcher. (If the Varitek rumors are true we know Cubs catchers make Team Epstein yawn).
That said, Soto could work for the Angels, who are looking for an upgrade at catcher and are rumored to have interest in him.
If the Cubs don't get Prince Fielder, they wouldn't mind help at first base, and Kendrys Morales doesn't have a job with Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo hanging around.
But Morales isn't enough for Soto (see earlier slide).
Los Angeles has pitching to deal, since landing C.J. Wilson to go with Jered Weaver at the top of their rotation.
And Ervin Santana isn't a great fit for Chicago, even if it's a reasonable trade.
Dan Haren is just too steep—the Angels won't pay that.
But if Chicago is going to move Soto, who still has some excellent and affordable years ahead, they need a serious player in return.
While these two teams are still a good bet to do the trade tango this offseason, they might not have the right packages at the right time.
The Cubs don't seem to mind alternative scenarios: keeping Soto, inserting Castillo or Clevenger as the ML backup and the other starting at AAA.
So Chicago probably believes catcher is a position of strength, as having three guys who can play made it easy to non-tender Koyie Hill. (That and Hill's 0-for-34 with runners in scoring position last season. Yeesh.)
Since the Cubs don't have to make a deal, they'll move one of their backstops only if the price is right.
Likelihood of that happening: like snow in Florida, Carlos Zambrano calming down a teammate or Soriano drawing a base on balls. Technically, it's possible.