7/23 Soriano to Yankees? – UPDATED
The Cubs have made five trades this month, including Monday’s deal which sent Matt Garza to the Rangers. Could Alfonso Soriano be next? The Yankees, meanwhile, have been shut out eight times this season. Might they be serious about turning to a blast from the past to add some punch to their lineup?
The New York Post’s George King reported on Tuesday that the Yankees were “close” to acquiring Soriano from the Cubs. According to the Post, the Cubs would pay the bulk of the money remaining on Soriano’s contract. The 37-year-old outfielder is making $18 million this year, and owed $18 million in 2014. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the key in the negotiations will be the amount of money the Cubs include in the deal. Both reports pointed out that the Yankees want to stay under the $189 million luxury-tax threshhold next season.
Speaking on MLB Network Radio Tuesday, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer called the reports about Soriano “very premature.”
“We’ve had some discussions with different teams about ‘Sori,’ and there’s nothing close at all,” Hoyer said. “It’s not nearly as advanced as reports have made it seem.”
Hoyer was headed to Arizona, and was expected to meet with Soriano, who was the subject of trade rumors last year.
“Last year, we took things to him on an individual basis when teams asked about him,” Hoyer said. “He’s got 10-5 [rights], he has the right, and has earned the right to veto deals. We’re not going to push him in any direction. we’ll certainly give him some of the teams that have inquired about him.”
The Cubs, who picked up four prospects in the Garza deal, will be looking for a top prospect. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman reports the Cubs scouted Triple-A right-hander Chase Whitley over the weekend. Whitley, 24, has a 3.52 ERA over 38 1/3 innings.
Soriano, who began his Major League career with the Yankees in 1999, does have a no trade clause. His name has been mentioned often in trade rumors.
“I don’t want to think about it, I don’t want to talk or hear my name at the Trade Deadline,” Soriano said on Monday. “It’s part of the game, but I’m not going to pay attention and just play my game and work hard.”
Soriano was batting .256 for the season, but has hit 10 home runs in his last 20 games, and was hitting .296 in that stretch with six doubles and 21 RBIs. He leads the Cubs with 17 home runs and 10 stolen bases, and ranks 57th on the all-time home run list with 389. Next up is the Yankees’ Graig Nettles at 390.
A move to an American League team would be a plus for Soriano, who has improved defensively. He has a career .379 average in 26 games as a designated hitter. He went 8-for-17 with two home runs in four games as the DH in Interleague play this season.
– Carrie Muskat