7/25 What’s next?
How do the Cubs fill the opening in the lineup with the pending departure of Alfonso Soriano?
“You say you’re prepared for it, but I don’t think you’re really prepared to lose somebody of that nature,” Dale Sveum said Thursday. “All the things he brings to a team, the fourth hole, the character, the clubhouse, the leadership and everything. You just don’t replace that.”
Soriano was pulled from Thursday’s Cubs lineup against the Arizona Diamondbacks at the request of president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, and appears to be headed to the Yankees.
Physically, Sveum said he’ll mix and match in the outfield, using rookie Junior Lake as well as Cole Gillespie in left field. Brian Bogusevic, on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, could return in early August.
The Cubs may decide to add a pitcher when they make a roster move rather than an outfielder because the bullpen has been overworked, and they have a doubleheader coming up on Tuesday.
Soriano, 37, was one of the few veterans in the clubhouse.
“You have [Kevin] Gregg, DeJesus, and other than that, it’s a lot of young guys,” Sveum said. “With the addition of Lake, now we’re getting pretty young.”
The Cubs were busy at the Trade Deadline last year, and this season, have made six deals before July 31. The only players who were on the Chicago roster when Jim Hendry was the general manager are Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Welington Castillo and Jeff Samardzija.
The Cubs may find another left fielder, but can’t replace Soriano’s professionalism.
“You don’t replace that,” Sveum said. “Hopefully, down the road you do. You don’t have a Band-aid right now to replace that kind of guy in your clubhouse.”
— Carrie Muskat