Alfonso Soriano was waiting around the phones prior to Tuesday’s MLB Trade Deadline, just wondering whether or not he would be traded to a contender. The 4 PM deadline came and went, and Soriano remained in blue pinstripes. But it was not because he didn’t want to leave.
The 36-year-old outfielder is still owed $44 million over the next two plus seasons. That is not exactly an attractive contract for teams to have to absorb for an aging outfielder who is probably more suited to serve as a designated hitter. Still, Soriano can put up some crooked numbers, causing many teams to inquire as to what it would cost to acquire him.
Given the fact that Soriano is still in a Cubs uniform, one can figure one of a few things happened.
First, the Cubs are asking for too much in return for one of their better, albeit more expensive players. Maybe they felt he should fetch at least a prospect or two in return.
Second, the Cubs may not have been willing to pay as much of Soriano’s salary through the 2014 MLB season as other teams would like. Chicago may have to absorb a lot of Soriano’s salary if they plan on moving him at any point.
Finally, perhaps Soriano did not really want to leave. While that may have been a possibility, Soriano is coming out and saying that he would have accepted a trade to at least one team who was reportedly involved in trade talks with the Cubs for a handful of players.
“I didn’t turn down any team, but I told my agent to tell the Cubs I would only go to one West Coast team, and that was the Dodgers,” Soriano told ESPNChicago.com. “They never came to us with anything else.”
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was active at the deadline, and said that there was certainly some interest in Soriano leading up until the final few minutes of the trade deadline. At the time, he was also figuring where exactly he was going to send pitcher Ryan Dempster (who ultimately went to the Texas Rangers), as well as whether or not he could deal Matt Garza, who stayed put in the end.
But Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer are still saying that there is a chance that the Cubs could attempt to trade Soriano through waivers. The non-waiver deadline is August 31, and if a player is dealt by that date, they are still eligible to play for their new team if they reach the playoffs. And Soriano would fully be expected to clear waivers, given his large contract.
Given the fact that he is the best player on a rebuilding team going absolutely nowhere, expect the Cubs to entertain the possibility of moving Soriano if he clear waivers this month.