ESPN’s Jim Bowden reports that Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano refused to accept a trade that would have sent him to the San Francisco Giants.
Interest in Soriano represents a change in focus for the Giants who had been linked in rumors to Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies. It’s assumed that any deal involving Soriano would include the Cubs picking up a sizeable chunk of the remaining $36 million owed to him for the remaining two years of his contract after 2012.
While Soriano might seem more fit for punchlines than acquisitions …
… it should be remembered that Soriano is having a good year.
No, he’s not going to be able to ever justify the eight year, $136 million contract he signed with the Cubs, but he’s not the overall disappointment that his deal in Chicago sometimes makes him out to be. Let’s use the infamous Player A vs. Player B game to illustrate this point.
- Player A: 425 PA, 19 HRs, .324 OBP, .499 SLG, .350 wOBA, 120 wRC+, 1.9 WAR.
- Player B: 380 PA, 19 HRs, .324 OBP, .504 SLG, .350 wOBA, 115 wRC+, 3.0 WAR.
Player A is none other than the severely underrated Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers, and Player B is of course, Soriano. Here is a list of outfielders who rank below the former member of the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals in terms of wOBA:
- Jay Bruce, CIN
- Alex Gordon, KCR
- Nick Swisher, NYY
- Martin Prado, ATL
- Michael Cuddyer, COL
- Michael Bourn, ATL
- Torii Hunter, LAA
- Norichika Aoki, MIL
- Hunter Pence, PHI
- Bryce Harper, WAS
Soriano’s defense has often been criticized, and that would certainly be an issue at AT&T Park in San Francisco but according to both DRS and UZR, he’s having a fantastic season in the field as well. Any defensive value you lose by switching him out for Gregor Blanco is likely overcome by the difference in the two players’ skill at the plate. If the main drawback to Soriano is his contract, and the Cubs were willing to eat some of it in a proposed deal, he would’ve proven to be a valuable acquisition.
Of course, it’s all for nothing since Soriano doesn’t want to play for the first placed team in the National League West. But, at least we’ll have our sour grapes.