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What To Do With Alfonso Soriano?

By bullpenbrian at 09.19.2012 5 comments.

Remember when Alfonso Soriano went homerless during his first 30-games this season? Or how he painfully hobbled around the outfield for five weeks after fouling a pitch off his knee in mid-May?

Now look at him. Since hitting his first long ball on May 15 he’s third in the majors in home runs (29) and one of only two players in the National League with at least 29 HR & 100-plus RBI, Ryan Braun being the other.

Soriano’s 101 RBI are his most with the Cubs in his six-seasons played on the North Side. It’s also good for the eighth most RBI in all of baseball this year, and third most in the NL behind Braun & Chase Headley (each have 104, which is Soriano’s career-high).

Alfonso is also in the NL’s Top 5 in HR, of which half (15) have come with men on base. Additionally, he’s in the Top 25 in doubles (30) and Top 30 in OPS (.811).

His 15 game-winning RBI, 28 go-ahead RBI and 38 two-out RBI leads the Cubs–there’s not even a close second. And let’s not forget his defense this season is worthy of Gold Glove consideration, as well.

So here’s the rub. What should the Cubs do with Soriano this offseason? Do the Cubs eat a good portion of his remaining 2-yr, $18M dollar salary and trade him for prospects…or do you retain his services for at least another season with the expectation he’ll put up similar numbers in 2013?

Keeping Soriano isn’t all bad for the sake of putting a better product on the field next year, which the Cubs need to do. But dealing him obviously opens up roster space in the outfield to evaluate younger players who may, or may not, be part of the long-term rebuilding plans.

The real trouble with parting from Soriano is how on earth do the Cubs replace his production? Chances are, they don’t.

So it’s a tricky spot for Team Theo weighing the pro’s of dealing Soriano to further the rebuilding movement vs. the con’s of weakening the product on the field in 2013.

My gut feeling is Epstein and Hoyer trade Soriano. What yours?

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5 Comments

  1. merril stouder says:

    I think they keep him. He has been an example in the clubhouse and also there is no way to replace his numbers on the field.

    • bullpenbrian says:

      Merril: No one will mind having Soriano around if he puts up another season like this one.

      J-Huff: Yep…next July 31 looks like another fire-sale of Cubs players. And it won’t hurt Sori’s contract will have a little less money on it, too.

  2. J-Huff says:

    I think they keep him, at least until the July trade deadline. Then anything goes.

  3. Whenever Soriano leaves, I think he and Cubs fans should all be happy that the memories we’re left with might not be mostly of injuries, bad defense, and less-than-expected offensive production. It’s not easy to get into the head of a relatively quiet guy like Soriano, but I get the sense that his expectations of himself have changed. Instead of being about living up to his contract or taking a team to the playoffs, I think he’s enjoying the different burden of setting an example for all the young players suddenly surrounding him, knowing there’s really nobody else left on the team to fill that veteran role.

    • bullpenbrian says:

      Raymond: Completely agree. Very well said.

      Soriano’s expectations clearly changed entering this season. It’s the first time in Chicago he’s being looked at as the No.1 clubhouse leader and a veteran who needs to set the right example for the Cubs’ young roster.

      We simply couldn’t ask more of him this year in all regards. He’s been a terrific leader, he’s played through pain, and most importantly, he’s having a terrific year on both side of the ball.

      I’ve always felt Cubs fans, including myself, wouldn’t fully appreciate the player Soriano is until he’s gone…it’s something that’s happening right now watching Aramis have another stellar season with Milwaukee while Ian Stewart, Josh Vitters and Luis Valbuena combined couldn’t match Aramis’ production.

      We should enjoy watching Soriano play for the Cubs while it lasts.

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