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Alfonso Soriano an Atlanta Brave?
It’s not that far fetched if the Cubs can somehow package Soriano in a deal with Marlon Byrd, who the Braves have been interested in acquiring over the last 10 months.
Soriano’s insistence on being dealt to a contender makes Atlanta an ideal destination considering the Braves were a postseason shoe-in before its historic September collapse enabled St. Louis to win the Wild Card.
And with Atlanta having avoided the signing of a single free agent this winter, Soriano’s bat and Byrd’s outfield versatility could be the complementary pieces to push the Braves back into October.
The reality of the Cubs’ rebuilding process this offseason is the lack of quality depth on the big league roster for 2012.
Depth, of course, is of critical importance over the course of a 162 game season. Players get injured, others need rest, and still there are various other reasons in which back-up players will be called to duty.
When Carlos Marmol beaned Derrek Lee on August 3 last season, fracturing his left wrist, I began wondering if it was the beginning of the end of Lee’s career?
Age was already taking its toll on the then 35-year-old who was hitting .246 for Baltimore before the Pirates came calling on July 30.
However, a switch back to the National League rejuvenated Lee from the start. He homered twice in his debut against the Cubs before Marmol’s errant pitch sidelined over the next month.
Karma appropriately took Lee’s side when he came off the DL on September 3 to again face his former mates at Wrigley Field.
He capped a 3-for-5 day at the plate with a game-winning, two-out grand slam in the top of the ninth–fittingly coming against Marmol.
Lee piled up three more hits the following day. He was hitting .412 with Pittsburgh, including a nine-game hitting streak.
In his following 23 contests since returning from the DL, Lee was hitting at a .349 clip with 5 HR and 15 RBI. All totaled, Lee played 28 games with Pittsburgh hitting .337 with 7 HR and 18 RBI–Hardly numbers that would signal the end of a career.
Yet, midway through the offseason the former Cub remains unsigned.
QUESTION: “I want to hear your thoughts on Fukudome. The Reds are looking for a 3rd/4th outfielder, and I don’t know why this guy isn’t signed yet?
It seems like he still gets on-base, is a above-average fielder, and can play all 3 OF spots, right?
Considering they are also dabbling in the Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick, and Juan Pierre pool, Fukudome seems like the best choice.”
- email from Michael P., Indianapolis
ANSWER: You’re right, Mike. I haven’t heard the name Kosuke Fukudome mentioned at all this offseason and I suspect that has a lot to do with his four underachieving years in Chicago and poor finish last season in Cleveland.
Trade rumors for the Cubs have been relatively quite since early last week.
Not even the Cubs Convention stirred the pot, with the excessive fanfare coming and going with barely a peep about possible trades including Matt Garza, Alfonso Soriano or others. But that doesn’t mean I’m without suspicions.