Source: Cubs talking with several teams regarding Soriano, Headley still in play

Source: Cubs talking with several teams regarding Soriano, Headley still in play

Following up on the Will Carroll tweet that said,

"Looks like the Cubs have a firm grasp on a Soriano deal"

A reliable source of mine tells me that the Cubs are not close but they are talking with a few teams about a deal for Alfonso Soriano.  Surprisingly, one of these teams is the Oakland A's.

Surprising because Oakland is in a small market.  The implication here is that the Cub are going to eat a substantial portion of Soriano's salary.  Both Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have stated owner Tom Ricketts has given them to eat salary as they see fit.

As we've talked about here, Soriano must be considered a sunk cost.  He has produced close to the level of a replacement player in two of the past three seasons, including last year.  Even if the Cubs eat 80% of his salary, we're talking about paying $14.4M per season.  That would allow the Cubs to open up a roster spot for Brett Jackson.  The choice that then plays out is this: Since Jackson will make about 400K his rookie year, would you rather pay $18M to see Soriano in LF or would you rather spend $14.8M and have Brett Jackson out there?

Most, if not all, of us would take the second choice.  Jackson certainly isn't worth the theoretical $14.8M, at least not yet, but if he simply plays at the level of an average starter then it's preferable to pay that price for similar to better production than what Soriano gave us last year.  What's more, the Cub will upgrade their defense, OBP and add another lefty bat.  And, of course, they'll develop a player who will be here for the long haul.

This same source also told me that Chase Headley is still a possibility for the Cubs.

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  • All Cub fan are hoping that this happens. How can the trade be made
    if the league (Bud) has a limit on how much cash can be included
    in a trade.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I'm not aware of any such limit at the major league level. I know there will be some limitations when it comes to trading part of your designated international signing money.

  • Maybe I'm thinking of many years ago, when Finley tried to sell
    his top players for mostly cash.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Oh yeah...I do remember that but I think that was more about him trying to save money and not attempting to put a competitive team on the field. That was blocked in the best interests of baseball.

  • John, I absolutely love the pic you have with the title for this article. That is Soriano in a nutshell right there!! :)

    I would be SOOOOOOOOOO happy if we could get this deal to go through. I don't think I can bear another season of Sori swinging at low outside sliders when we need a big RBI instead of just taking the walk.

    As always, keep up the good work John!!

  • In reply to Still Love the Cubs:

    There's some people saying the Cubs are working on it, most notably Will Carroll of SI. I think his lack of plate discipline and defense really means that the Cubs will do whatever it takes to trade him.

  • In reply to Still Love the Cubs:

    And thanks!

  • John,

    Now that the Cubs have landed DeJesus, and he provides the veteran influence that Byrd also brought, what is the likelihood of moving Byrd? If they are able to move him, who would consider him? I like how hard he plays, but it was painful watching him try to drive in runs last year.

  • In reply to supercapo:

    I think the likelihood of moving Byrd is low. If the Cubs upgrade their OF to where they have 3 new starters (DeJesus, Jackson, and ??), then Byrd would make an excellent 4th outfielder and an insurance policy for Jackson. His low salary makes him tradeable, but it also makes him valuable to the Cubs in term of depth and defense.

  • I read in an article (I think in the Tribune) where Hoyer said they would probably sign another OF bat from the right side.

    "Hoyer said DeJesus was not brought in to platoon in right, though they probably will add a right-handed hitting outfielder who can play the corners."

    I'm not sure what kind of sense that makes if they really see Brett Jackson on the opening day roster.

  • In reply to Still Love the Cubs:

    A RH bat...hmmm. They've already got one in Marlon Byrd. It could mean that they want a bench bat to spell DeJesus and Jackson every few games. Or maybe they want starting caliber? Like Cuddyer?

    Let's say it's Cuddyer, for the sake of argument (and for that we have to assume that Soriano is indeed on his way out). You could still have Cuddyer and DeJesus in the corners and Jackson in CF with Byrd as your 4th OF'er. Or you could simply let Jackson develop for another 1/2 season in AAA.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Or maybe Willingham. The Cubs need to replace some power and Willingham's got it. Either him or Cuddyer would mean sacrificing some defense for a more bat.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah I definitely thought that was strange (the RH bat comment by Hoyer). It seems like it means another 1/2 season in AAA for Jackson to me.

  • John ... Matsui is 37, made $4.25mm last year, and is a FA. The A's have also said they will not re-sign Willingham ($10mm).

    I don't know how much $$ Oakland is willing to spend for Sori (given as how, even with revenue sharing) they lost money last year. But he is 3 yrs younger than Matsui, for what that's worth.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    That's a good point Moneyboy. They're going to be short on DHs and power, so it may make more sense than it does at first glance.

  • Soriano going to Oakland is the best thing that could happen to him. he gets out of the limelight and goes to a smaller market and he goes to the American league . With his diminishing defensive skills, he needs to go the AL to extend his career by becoming a DH more and more. If this happens, this is good for both the Cubs and Soriano

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Tough ballpark for HRs though but he's not going to be a FA anytime soon so not that big a deal. As long as the Cubs are footing the bill, the Athletics could also turn him around and deal him to a contender.

  • Off topic, but is Bosio being named pitching coach? From Gordon Wittenmyer:
    "Former big-league catcher Jamie Quirk, who spent the last two seasons as the Astros’ bullpen coach, told Houston media he has accepted the bench-coach job on Cubs manager Dale Sveum’s staff, and local sources confirmed that.

    Pat Listach, the Cubs’ bench coach last season, is expected back as a base coach. Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo also has been asked to return, and bullpen coach Lester Strode is being retained by the organization.

    The Cubs plan to unveil Sveum’s staff late this week, including Chris Bosio as the pitching coach. "

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    It looks that way. Seems like Sveum's first choice, or at least one of them, and it appears Bosio is interested as well.

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    A bigger questions is if the Cubs should eat almost all but a mil or 2 and get a better prospect or save 4-5M and get nothing of value. I think Theo/Jed would rather get something in return for him versus getting nothing, and if other teams hear the Cubs are willing to eat all but a million or two then teams might be willing to start bidding for his services.

  • In reply to MichiganGoat:

    A little extra money will get us a slightly better prospect, but honestly Goat, I'm not sure we'll get anything to get excited about. Still, if it gets us a B or C prospect instead of organizational filler, then I agree I'd rather do that.

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    This just in per MLB Radio. The Rockies have sent catcher Chris Ianetta to the Angels for rhsp Tyler Chatwood.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    And that means no Soto to Angels

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to MichiganGoat:

    That depends. It's possible, though not likely, they acquired Ianetta to be their backup catcher, but even if that isn't the case, there is still a market for Soto.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I can't see how that move makes much sense for the Angels. For a guy who played half his game in Denver, Ianetta's numbers are sad. Scioscia is known to like defensive minded catchers, but the Angels really struggled at the plate last year, this move doesn't do much to improve that.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I saw that. We've talked about Chatwood coming here. So much for that. And this all but ensures the Cubs will be keeping Soto. No team wanted a catcher more desperately than the Angels.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John, is it possible they acquired Ianetta with the intention of trading him to the Cubs?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    No...Angels need a catcher and Ianetta has good plate discipline and power. Hit .172 away from Coors, though, so it'll interesting to see how he adjusts.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Although maybe they trade Conger now?

  • Ohh...that bites, I was looking forward to the Cubs dealing Soto to the Angels. I am not a fan of Soto....too inconsistent and so so defense, drat!

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Thinking the Cubs didn't like Chatwood. Command is only so-so and Hoyer talked about guys with low walk rates.

  • John, I totally agree with your comment about rather paying Jackson Soriano's money. Before seeing your comment, I just made a similar statement about DeJesus at BN. Thanks as always for your great work.

  • In reply to johnbres2:

    Thanks..and agreed, you could make a similar statement with DeJesus considering the salary is so low.

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    Felzz, do you think Bobby Valentine will come to his presser tomorrow dressed as Colonel Sanders

  • If this news is true, then it's gonna be one of those, "I hate to see you go, but here let me get those bags for your Sori."

    What are the chances of the CUBS paying $12M instead of $14?

    Also read a nice Q & A with Tim Dierkes (MLB Rumors) on Bleacher Nation. I'm sure you probably already read it, though. Some good info from another life long CUBS fan.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Those chances would depend on an unexpected bidding war between 2 or more teams. I could see one offer for the Cubs paying more money and getting a better prospect vs. another offer where the Cubs pay less of the salary and get a fringe prospect. It'd be interesting to see which they would choose if that were the case.

    I did read that. From what little correspondence I've had with Tim,he seems like a genuinely good guy -- and a Cub fan to boot. He deserves that success.

  • Hey John,

    Great site! It is my new favorite go-to site for all Cubs baseball news and analysis. One thing I wanted to ask that I haven't seen anyone mention anywhere is this: Why isn't Castro being considered as a third baseman? He looks to be ready to develop good power and he is obviously a great hitter, but he seems to lack both the consistency and instincts to be a good shortstop. So, wouldn't it be better to move him to 3B and let him develop there rather than live with the 25-30 errors a year at one of the most important defensive positions on the field?

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    Thanks for reading and the kind words...

    There's a few reasons the Cubs want to keep Castro at SS. The first is that you get tremendous value if you can get that kind of offensive production from a SS. Players that can hit like Castro does at the most premium position in baseball are rare. You're getting top notch offense from a position where you don't normally expect to get a whole lot. It's why the Yankees kept Jeter at SS for so long even though he's never been a great fielder either.

    The second thing is that the Cubs do think he has the instincts to play there but that he lacks focus. Part of it is something they'll chalk up to his age, we forget a lot of players are at A ball at the age he played last year, but he also needs better instruction -- especially since he missed out on some as he tore through the minors. He has all the tools to stay there: range, arm, and he has soft hands.

    I think he'll cut his errors down a bit but he may always make more than average. The hope is that he makes up for it with superior range and play-making ability. If he does that you live with say, 18-22 errors a year considering his offense and his ability to make plays with his range and arm.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks for the reply, I have never seen a site with such great reporting and analysis that also has the kind of interaction that you do with your readers. I will promote you to all my cub friends and family.

    I agree with everything you said about production from the SS position and you are probably correct about his youth and needing more instruction. I am sure willing to wait and see if he can cut down on the errors this year, but if that doesn't happen (he showed no improvement between rookie and sophomore year - 27 in 123 games as rookie and 29 in 158 games last year) do you think it will be considered or do you think they will just live with his defense there as long as his hitting continues? At what point do runs given up by his defense become greater than production lost by moving him to 3B and putting a better fielder there?

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    Also, how do you think Campana fits into things next year? Do you think he can improve his hitting enough and get on base enough to ever justify him playing everyday or at least in a platoon? I like having a guy with his speed on the bench at the very least, but I felt like "the Quad" misused him. He would pinch hit him in the 6th or 7th rather than save him as a pinch runner to steal bases in the 8th or 9th if you get someone on.

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    The Quad misused a lot of players. It's tough for guys like Campana because they're small and lack the ability to make pitchers fear the extra base hit. That combined with his speed mean pitchers are going to throw him strikes and say, 'Here, hit it..but I'm sure as heck not going to give you a freebie and walk you". Because of that a good OBP will always be difficult for him. He'd have to hit .300 or better to justify playing him more.

    Campana's best role is exactly what you said at the end there, use him late where he can be a game-changer in close games. Spot start him for an occasional spark but the more he plays the more his weaknesses will be exposed.

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    Thanks I appreciate that! It definitely keeps me busy. The readers here are thoughtful and baseball savvy, so it's actually fun to respond. It makes for great dialogue.

    I think if he doesn't show progress then it becomes more of an issue. Needless to say, nobody should want that to happen. Sveum has said he'll deal with physical errors but not mental ones. So if we see more of that wandering around unfocused, or if he doesn't make the call on pop-up as when Quade called him out, then I can see his play becoming a problem. If the focus is there and he still makes 25 errors next year because he's just trying to make plays, then I think the Cubs can live with that, especially considering his offense. I'd focus on his growth mentally at SS and the kinds of mistakes he makes, rather than the amount of errors.

    The other thing that could move him off of SS is physical growth. Castro is quick now but he's still young. If he continues to fill out as he ages, he may lose a step or two as far as range. The good part about that is if he fills out, he'll be stronger and hit for more power.

    One more thing to consider, by the way, is organizational depth. Flaherty, Vitters, Lake, and Baez all project as 3B. Cubs have another kid in Dustin Geiger. That depth doesn't exist at SS where the Cubs have one prospect I really like in Marco Hernandez. And shortstops are very expensive to get from outside the organization. My thought is that the Cubs will be very patient with Castro. It's his job to lose for the next few years.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks for the insight. I didn't realize the depth they had at 3B and lacked at SS. I really hope you are right about his improvement, he would be a really great asset at SS for a long time to come. Hopefully, the regime change will also increase the player education and training on fundamentals and "smart" baseball. I can live with my team losing because they are less talented or still young, but nothing is worse than watching the underachieving, selfish, and undisciplined baseball that Cub fans have been treated to the last couple years.

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    I hope I'm right too ;) And I couldn't agree more with that last sentence. Well said!

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    Interesting. And even more so with the addition of Sveum. I think his offense is going to improve tremendously with Sveum here. I know we still have Rudy Jaramillo as our Hitting Coach, but something tells me that Sveum is going to take Starlin aside and work on improving his all around game.

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