If Yankees want Cubs OF Alfonso Soriano, they need to be prepared to offer value

If Yankees want Cubs OF Alfonso Soriano, they need to be prepared to offer value
Alfonso Soriano

The big buzz just before I stepped out yesterday was the injury (broken arm due to a HBP) to Curtis Granderson that will have him out 8 to 10 weeks.  It has started the Alfonso Soriano rumor mill again and Jon Heyman is among the first to suggest the Yankees trade for Soriano.

It makes sense but I can't help but feel a bit skeptical about whether it can get done.  The Yankees have not been willing to give up anything of value for Soriano in the past.  They've wanted the Cubs to pay nearly all the freight and take back a marginal prospect in return.  The Cubs have no interest in making that type of deal, nor should they.

The Cubs have said they're willing to pay most of Soriano's salary but they will only do so if they get value in terms of a prospect or young player.  It's not hard to understand why.  Soriano still has value to the Cubs.  He has value in the clubhouse as a leader and his work ethic makes him a role model to many of the Cubs younger players.  But it's not just those kind of intangibles -- he also has value on the field.  He is easily the team's best source of RH power and his improvement in LF has made him more than adequate defensively.

Soriano is also not blocking any prospects right now.  Jorge Soler is a couple of years away and the Cubs want to give Brett Jackson some time in AAA -- even if he's not willing to concede that himself right now.

There is no reason for the Cubs to trade Soriano right now unless they recoup that value he currently brings to the team.

“If we can get him to a winner and get a good package back we'd consider it. We haven't even been tempted yet,'' Cubs president Theo Epstein said. “He's a valuable guy here. He's more valuable to us than anything we've been offered … by far.''

So if the Yankees really do want him, they're going to have to come get him.  And they're going to have to be willing to offer fair value.  The Cubs don't need to do them any favors, and if the Yankees think they can still compete in the AL East with the likes of Ichiro Suzuki, Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz as their outfielders, then more power to them.

They're certainly going to need it....at least for a month.

On the Yankees side, you have to wonder how much this really changes the picture for them.  Granderson was hurt early enough in spring training where he won't actually miss much of the regular season, perhaps he'll only miss April.  If that's he case, I don't see them changing their philosophy on trading prospects for a short term fix.

The greater opportunity to trade Soriano will be mid to late season, when such an injury could be potentially devastating for a contender.  It would also mean less money would have to change hands, which is the biggest obstacle to dealing the highly paid veteran.  It's a lesser commitment for the buy team so it cuts down the risk as well.  Lastly it's more likely that Soriano will approve a deal later in the season when he sees the Cubs are out of contention.  He wants to be part of a winning team in Chicago and believes there is a chance they can contend this year.  If the Cubs are not competing for a title, as most people expect, he's more likely to move on at the end of his contract to a team that has a chance to help him get that first ring of his career.

Filed under: Rumors/Speculation

Tags: Alfonso Soriano

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  • fb_avatar

    John, I think Cashman is too used to getting what he wants, he'll have to pony up or the Yankees can flounder even faster, screw them

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Have no desire to do them any favors. I'd much rather have Soriano on this team than trade him for nothing. If they want them, let them call and make a serious offer...but I'm not holding my breath on that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I put little stock in anything Heyman has to say. Just don't see it happening. Yankees have gotten old fast. While Soriano would be an improvement to that outfield, I just don't see the Yankees adding to that problem. Also, aren't the Yankees trying to get under the luxury tax cap for 2014? They've been unwilling to sign anyone to a 2 year deal. Why would they then trade for one? Unless the Cubs pay all the salary for 2014???

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Just to let the Stankees know what we think, Id say lets ask for Austin Romine.

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    ^absolutely. God forbid the Yankees don't get what tey want..

  • Yankees are also trying to work their payroll down the next two years. Not sure how it works, but even if we paid them cash to cover a significant portion of his salary, wouldn't that salary still sit on the Yanks' books for luxury tax calculation purposes?

    If so, even more than not being able to offer us valuable pitching prospects, I think this potentially makes a deal with them almost a nonstarter.

  • In reply to TokyoCraig:

    I'm not exactly sure how that works to be honest. If salary is on their books then agree it's a non-starter -- but I'm not sure that's the case. Thought that money would still count against the Cubs.

    Anyone know for certain out there? If not I'll try and find out tomorrow. Too tired today :)

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    It's a good question......but the salary the player actually has, not what the club is paying, is what counts.

    So, for tax purposes, all of Soriano's $18 mil would count toward that target. Salary relief is just that, not tax relief.

    For this reason, among others, I don't see this happening.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Thanks Zonk.

  • The Cubs need pitching and maybe a catching prospect, so I hope that they can flip him for some valuable pitching pieces or a catcher.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    They have a good catching prospect in Gary Sanchez, but not sure he'll stick there yet.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Exactly! With the amount of position players, we could use more pitching and a true catching prospect.

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    Possible targets:

    Betances
    Sanchez
    Joba

    It could get interesting if a couple of weeks go by and Garza comes back healthy...It's no secret the Yankees are on the verge of blowing up the entire club and starting over. I think that will include Cashman being removed from his position. I don't think trading for Soriano is the kind of deal that could get him fired . Getting off to a bad start this season could.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    I'd add Banuelos to the list. I like him better than Betances and the Cubs can wait until 2014 for him to be healthy.

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    The Soriano quotes out there make it sound like he at least wants to start the season with the Cubs, so this appears a non-starter in several different ways.

    However, David DeJesus is much cheaper, doesn't have a no trade, and still provides them value when Granderson returns. Theo might be able to talk the Yankees in a wild card like Dante, Jr, for him. Further, if they think what we're seeing of Brett Jackson is real -- Carrie Muskat said on the radio today that he hasn't swung and missed all spring -- DeJesus will probably be shipped out in June/July, anyway.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    DeJesus may be a better option, though he can't really replace Granderson's power. He might give them better overall value with good LF defense and a solid bat to platoon with whichever one of their RH OF'ers wins a job this spring.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    jettisoning Kim Dejesus is not the better option

  • In reply to NateDHummel:

    True that,....

  • In reply to NateDHummel:

    Ha! Meant better option for the Yankees. So I think Kim only helps that!

  • In reply to NateDHummel:

    We had to jettison Heidi DeRosa a few yrs ago..... Sigh. BTW, the Cubs initially wanted DeRosa to succeed Brenley. He signed with Toronto instead.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Has Jackson seen a breaking ball yet?

  • In reply to TheFiveYearPlan:

    I'm sure he has -- but Jackson was missing more than just breaking pitches last year, so even if that's the case it's still encouraging. And the Cubs team struck out 14 times in first games, so players are still missing pitches. Just not Jackson so far.

  • Agreed - I would much rather see this team with Soriano manning LF to start out this season,.... and maybe even manning it like he did most of last season,....

    Than to trade him to the NYY for something that doesn't stand much chance of adding to Cubs success within the next few seasons.

    Soriano - while much maligned by many - when healthy is one of the best (of streaky) clutch power hitters available.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Yes...would much rather see him here than get another, say, bottom of the rotation pitcher or bullpen arm. I think the Cubs are stocked up on those.

  • The thing is though that Granderson is only out till May. Not sure they want to give up much for that little time. I wouldn't be surprised if they went in house or after a cheap utility type who can play the outfield. I heard someone say recently, and it makes sense, that AL teams are getting wise to the fact they need more utility type players to help them double switch now that the number of intraleague games is up.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Exactly....they don't need to panic right now.

  • While I understand the sentiment, I think the media is overreacting. Cashman has said many times they are trying to keep payroll down and they are also trying to groom what is left of their young players on a clearly aging roster.

    I don't see them shelling out for Soriano when they already have an aging team. Cashman is not like Steinbrenner. He is probably closer to Theo.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    I agree. I think this trade looks fun in the media but I doubt the Yankees are all that interested.

  • As much as Soriano to the Yankees makes sense , I don't see it happening. Cashman HATES giving up good prospects for anybody and like everyone has been saying , the Yankees are trying to shrink their salary. Cashman knows he can give up spare parts to get a ok outfielder and wait for Granderson. Unless Cashman suddenly changes and actually offers value for Soriano, I don't see it happening.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Looks unlikely to me for the same reasons.

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    I believe that, in any trade where the selling team agrees to pay any part of the player's salary for the buying team, the salary is split proportionally for salary cap purposes.

    Manny Banuelos is the obvious target here. He would be a controlled cost player with upside for the Cubs, and he is of no use to the Yankees right now. So losing him doesn't hurt them in the short term.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I've always been under the impression that once a team includes cash in a trade to help pay a player's salary, the entire salary counts against his new team.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Banuelos makes the most sense to me too. Cubs have been willing to buy low on TJ guys

  • I'll be shocked if the Yank-mes are seriously interested in Soriano. I just can't see it. But if by some strange cosmic turn they are, I think a package built around Soriano for Banuelos would be ideal for both teams. Cubs may have to send a pitcher back, but that's who I'd be shooting for.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I really don't think the injury changes much. They're looking at about a month without Granderson, no reason to panic and make a deal they've been reluctant to do in the past.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Precisely my thinking as well. I just can't see why they would want to trade for Soriano.

  • Soriano plus cash for Granderson. Then at deadline flip healthy Granderson for prospects or keep him until end of year. Then give him qualifying offer and keep him if he accepts or get draft pick if he doesn't.

  • In reply to Craig:

    Is that you, Phil Rogers? You can't trade a player who is on the disabled list, as Granderson will be.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    See Vizcaino, Arodys

  • In reply to Craig:

    Not sure why Yankees would want to do that. They'll have Granderson back in May. They're not going to trade him for a lesser player because he'll miss one month.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    He will be back in May with no ST and sore forearm.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    That's why he will actually be out til June. Gonna take him Granderson a month to get back in shape. One other thing, whats the possibility something like this affects his power numbers?

  • I think Theo&Co will have to pay all but $1M of Sori's 2014 salary (major league minimum) to trade him. I said this before Sori's resurgent 2012 when he had $54M left because no one want's a 37-38yr old OF on the books for big money

    But i'm not sure Theo&Co will make Sori a $3M a year player ($5M 2013, $1M 2014) unless the value is the equivalent (2-3 players from a teams Top 15-20). If so, I think a deal would of gotten done with the Phillies...

  • In reply to CubFan Paul:

    In this case, it would make it a lot easier for Cubs to trade him at the deadline.

  • In reply to CubFan Paul:

    I think there is one main reason that no deal was done with Philly. The Phils didn't offer enough talent Team Theo wanted.

    Dom Brown seems redundant. Unless they offered a legitimate looking player or two Theo really wanted, there's not much benefit in dumping. Epstein doesn't make it a point to move non-headaches for middling suspects.

  • In reply to tim815:

    Agreed

  • In reply to CubFan Paul:

    Filthadelphia is in bad need of quality OFers, theyd rather keep the younger Brown to go along with the speedy(but no power) Revere, and hope there big 3 sp can stay healthy and productive. Philly had better pray they stay healthy, there depth is non-existent.

  • The problem with waiting to the trade deadline to move Soriano is that I believe there is a greater chance that Sori is hurt or not playing well than another team getting desperate to trade for him come July. I think the Cubs need to be realistic too when dealing him too. Even if he is made cheap there is just not a lot of teams wanting him at his age.

  • In reply to Justin:

    Right now nobody is offering anything of value, so there is no risk of hanging on to him right now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Right, you don't trade Sori for nothing. But I just hope they realize that studs will not becoming back in any deal for Soriano. So $10 mill in salary relief and a couple middle of the road prospects isn't the end of the world in my opinion.

  • In reply to Justin:

    I don't think they're even getting offers of middle of the road prospects right now. And even if that were the case, that's not something you need to jump on. You can get a middle of the road prospect for Geo Soto or Jeff Baker, as we saw last deadline. No rush to trade Soriano for that. It'll be there, and if it's not, it's not a huge loss. You may say it's not the end of the world if they make such a trade, but it's also not the end of the world if they don't make it either. It's much better to wait and see if you can get better later on. A trade of Soriano for a couple of middling prospects now would be a panic move more than anything else. And we've seen that Theo and Jed don't panic.

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    I think people who assume granderson will bounce right back as soon as the clock ticks off 8 weeks are wrong. A power stroke requires a strong, pain free forearm, and timing. At the end of his 8, possibly 10 week healing period he will have had no spring training. He won't be 100% until the all star break, possibly not until next season - think of Derek lee's wrist injury, he wasn't fully back until the next season. Pujols came back on schedule after his wrist, but his hitting didn't come back immediately.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    That's certainly possible but I still think the Yankees might want to wait and find out for themselves before making a deal early.

  • The Yankees almost need to blow up there team. They have such an old and crusty team it's ridiculous. They are going to suck this year.

  • In reply to Justin:

    No A Roid, Texieras offense is starting to drop off the face of the earth, Cano had a bad 2nd half last year, and there catching is atrocious, they are going to miss Russell Martin more than they think, if only for the way he calls a game. Like the Phils, they had better pray for good health, if they lose a Hughes or a Petitte they are in deep water.

  • I think it would make an interesting poll to know which outcome people think is more likely before Soriano's contract comes off the books:

    1) Soriano is traded
    2) Soriano is released
    3) Soriano finishes out his contract with the Cubs.

    None of these options would surprise me.

  • In reply to CubsML:

    I think he'll get traded, it just may not be until this deadline -- at the earliest.

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    In reply to CubsML:

    They won't release him, why would they pay a player to just sit at home? Especially a player that can hit for power.

    I think he'll eventually get traded but I would be ok if he finishes out his contract with the Cubs. He's a good clubhouse guy, can still hit, and has much improved defense. There's a lot he still has to offer the club. Plus he's not blocking anybody.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    They might release him if there's regression in his game. Or to open up a roster spot. If he's still on the roster going into next season it wouldn't surprise me.

    Theo's comments that he hasn't received a decent offer yet makes a trade sound unlikely. Or the return in a trade less than promising.

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    In reply to CubsML:

    That wouldn't happen. They would pay his entire salary and trade him for a low A prospect, but they won't pay him to sit at home. And Soriano wouldn't want to sit at home, so he wouldn't veto a trade if it meant that he gets to keep playing.

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    BTW, someone mentioned it up above, and I agree. DeJesus actually makes more sense for the Yankees than Soriano. Granderson is going to be back in May, and DeJesus would actually have a role with the Yankees afterwards. If you could get a decent A-ball pitching prospect, I'd be happy with that. Nik Turley has Sean Marshall written all over him, and Bryan Mitchell has command issues, but he also has a lot of upside.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    From a pure baseball standpoint, Soriano makes much more sense than DeJesus. The Yankees OF should be entirely left handed (Gardner, Granderson and Ichiro) and none of those guys can hit left handed pitching. Soriano would give them a nice option to slide in against LHP. And would also serve as a great DH option for when Travis Hafner gets hurt.

    DeJesus doesn't make a whole lot of sense for them. Sure, he can spell Granderson for 1 month, but then after that he's kind of useless. He's not even a defensive replacement because Gardner/Ichiro/Granderson are all better OFers. He'd basically serve as a PHer against RHP late in games and injury insurance for their OF.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I guess the Stankees didn't notice, but Hafner hasn't been the same player since he hurt his shoulder in 2007. Cant drive the ball to Left-center anywhere close to what he used to. Good for them, I hope the Stankees finish last. Never cared for the Steinbrenners anyway.

  • Lets wait until July with Soriano...I believe he has more value to us then ever before......some teams might fight over him in July.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Whether intentioned or not, that's exactly what we're all likely to do in regards to the Sorriano situation.

  • If the Cubs can get a couple of warm bodies for Campana, after he was DFA'd and HAD to be moved, they should be able to get a similar return in July, 2014 if necessary.

    But Soriano can actually perform for the Cubs, and there is no reason to trade him at a discount at this point.

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    Notice how the idiot known as John Arguello conveniently forgets Brett Gardner is a 50STL .290 hitter., and adds Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz instead of Gardner to make is stupid point look better.

  • In reply to Frank Vasquez:

    Take it somewhere else.

  • In reply to Frank Vasquez:

    I'm with Ray -- take your asinine attitude somewhere far away.

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    In reply to Frank Vasquez:

    Two trolls in one day? That's a new one for this place. Clearly your a homer Yankees fan who overrates their players so let me enlighten you a bit.

    1. Where in the world did you get the assumption that Brett Gardner is a .300 hitter? He was injured almost all of last year and has 2 seasons of 140 games+ in which he hit .277 and .259 respectively.........His career average through 5 SEASONS is .266 Not even close to .290.

    2. Maybe he didn't add Gardner because he only played 16 freakin games last year? You can't count on him to come back 100% and continue being the average overall player he was.

    Stop being a homer.

  • In reply to Frank Vasquez:

    I'm sorry Frank, did you say something?

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Pretty sure he said, "Please ban my IP Address." But I do struggle to make out the New York accent.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    LOL!

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Pure gold, Mike.

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