Results tagged ‘ Alfonso Soriano ’
Starlin Castro would like to play in the World Baseball Classic someday but said no to the Dominican Republic team this year because it already has Jose Reyes on the roster.
“Every year I want to be better,” Castro said Friday at the Cubs Convention. “Every year, I work hard to be better than I was the year before. That’s why I’m working now, that’s why I’m not going to the World Baseball Classic. I won’t play for the Dominican because it’s more important for me to be ready for the [Cubs]. I want to help the [Cubs].”
Moises Alou, who is involved in the selection of the Dominican roster, had asked Castro during the season about playing in the Classic.
“I don’t want to be on the bench,” Castro said. “Jose Reyes is there, and I have respect for him, and I’d be on the bench. It’s better for me to be working and play every day in Spring Training. If I go, I’d play one day, two days a week. I don’t want that. I want to work.”
He said it was difficult to say no.
“It’s one of my goals to play for my country, and it’s tough for me [to say no],” Castro said. “But it’s not the last one. I know I’ll be there.”
Alfonso Soriano also said no to Alou because the veteran outfielder needs more time to prepare in Spring Training for the season.
“Moises called but I felt it was better for me to be with the Cubs,” said Soriano.
– Carrie Muskat
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network, the Cubs and Phillies have discussed a deal that would send Alfonso Soriano to Philadelphia in exchange for Domonic Brown. Heyman notes the Phillies may be more inclined to sign a free agent, such as Cody Ross. The Cubs are reportedly willing to pay $10 million of the $38 million remaining on Soriano’s deal if they can get top prospects in return. Soriano, who turns 37 in January, batted .262 with 32 home runs lsat season. As a player with 10-and-5 rights, he would have to approve the deal.
– Carrie Muskat
* Teams are inquiring about Alfonso Soriano, and how much the Cubs might be willing to pay. Soriano is owed $38 million over the next two years. Theo Epstein wouldn’t comment on the rumors out of respect to Soriano.
“One of the things that comes with being a veteran is obviously, there’s going to be speculation, but veteran players appreciate when clubs don’t sort of fuel those fires,” Epstein said Monday in Nashville. “It’s the Winter Meetings and there will be lots of rumors, but they don’t need to come from the club. We really value what he’s done here and we’ve been open with him about the fact that ‘Hey, we’ll listen, and if there’s something that makes sense for everyone, we’ll come to you.”
* The Cubs are in the market for a right fielder. Epstein says they have been “really active” meeting with teams about possible trades and also were keeping an eye on the free agent outfielders available. One thing Epstein hasn’t had to worry about is selling a free agent on the possibility of playing in Chicago.
“Dale [Sveum] is making a name for himself as a manager,” Epstein said. “Players recognize we had a good clubhouse last year despite a difficult season. Free agents believe in the positive direction we’re going. Elite baseball players are really competitive and I think they like the thought of being part of the solution here and being a member of the team that finally wins a World Series with the Cubs. I’ve had a number of players tell that to me directly. We have not had to sell our situation much at all. Players, when we express interest, we’re hearing back, ‘Oh, that’s a place we’ve had our eye on.’ You don’t hear that often after a 101-loss season.”
* One free agent whom the Cubs were expected to add to the mix is Japanese pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa, who has reportedly agreed to a two-year, $9.5 million contract. Fujikawa needs to pass a physical before the deal can be completed, which could happen next week.
* Expect the Cubs to add a player on Thursday during the Rule 5 Draft. Chicago has the second pick overall, and Epstein said they have been checking the names available as well as getting interest from other teams trying to acquire their spot in the order.
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano was named on three National League MVP ballots, cast by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Giants catcher Buster Posey won the award. Soriano received a sixth-place vote, a ninth-place vote, and a 10th place vote. Two of the ballots were cast by Chicago writers. Soriano led the Cubs with 32 home runs and a career-high 108 RBIs while batting .262 in 151 games. It was his sixth career 30-homer season and first since 2007.
– Carrie Muskat
Alfonso Soriano wasn’t in the starting lineup for Wednesday’s season finale. Dale Sveum asked the veteran if he wanted to play, and Soriano said that was enough.
“Personally, I feel proud of myself,” Soriano said of his season, in which he hit 32 home runs and drove in a career-high 108 runs. “At 36, what I can do, even with a bad knee, I just worked hard to do what I could do because I love this game and never like being down. I’m working hard to make this team better. If I’m healthy, I know I’ll put up numbers but more important, I can help this team win.”
He will not have surgery on his troublesome left knee, but spend the offseason strengthening it. He’s quieted his critics.
“People always see me with the wrong eyes,” Soriano said. “I think the manager and [Theo Epstein] and all those guys, they appreciate what I do. They gave me an opportunity to bat cleanup and I did the best I could to make the team better.”
When Soriano signed his eight-year contract in November 2006, it was with the idea that the Cubs would win now. They did win go to the postseason in 2007 and ’08, but that was it. Now, they’re rebuilding. How long can Soriano wait?
“It depends on how long,” he said. “If they want to rebuild next year, I’ll be here. If they want to take longer than two years, I have to think about moving to another team that can win quickly. I have two more years on the contract and maybe I’ll retire after that. I want to have one more shot to get to the World Series before I retire.”
“I just say that — the way I feel now, I wish it could be my No. 8 year on my contract so I could retire today,” said Soriano, weary from the season. “There’s two more years left.”
So he’s not going to play when he’s 40?
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I think two more years — it depends on how I feel. If I feel like I feel now in two years, I’ll want to retire right away.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs appear to have shutdown the offense for the season. They were shutout Tuesday for the second straight game, the first time they’ve been blanked in back to back games since July 21-22 at St. Louis. They’ve lost 29 straight games when scoring three runs or less, dating to a 3-2 win against the Cardinals on July 28. They’d like to end with at least one more “W.”
“Whenever you go into the winter when you finish good as a starter, whether you’re swinging the bat really well, you have a lot better winter, you sleep a lot better,” Dale Sveum said. “It makes a big difference how you finish.”
This was the first meeting between two teams with 100 losses since Sept. 30, 1962, when the Cubs and Mets squared off in the season finale at Wrigley Field. The Cubs won, 5-1, and closed the year, 59-103. That was the Mets’ first season, and they finished 40-120. Chicago and Houston close the 2012 campaign on Wednesday.
On Monday, the Cubs managed two hits. On Tuesday, they mustered four, and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
“Deja vu [from] last night,” Sveum said. “Not a lot of good at-bats, not a lot of quality at-bats again and left some guys, striking out with guys in scoring position. It kind of typifies the whole season these last two nights, swinging the bats.”
Sveum will shake up his lineup for Wednesday’s finale, and use the reserves. Expect Starlin Castro to start at shortstop, which would be Game No. 162 for him, but Adrian Cardenas, for example, will start at second.
“For the most part, the season didn’t go very well, obviously, but a lot of these guys deserve to kick back,” Sveum said of his regulars. “Just let them sit back and watch a game for once. I asked [Alfonso Soriano] if he wanted 110 RBIs or whatever, and he said, ‘No, I’m fine.’”
One more to go.
– Carrie Muskat
If you’re looking ahead at the Cubs’ 2013 roster, they are committed to $41.774 million for next season. GM Jed Hoyer says they’ll be active in the free agent market.
Financial commitments for 2013:
Alfonso Soriano $19 million
Carlos Marmol $9.8 million
David DeJesus $4.25 million
Starlin Castro $567,000
Jorge Soler $1.667 million
Gerardo Concepcion $1.2 million
* Free agents: Shawn Camp
* Arbitration eligible: Matt Garza, Chris Volstad, Jeff Samardzija, Manuel Corpas, Ian Stewart, Jason Berken, Justin Germano, James Russell, Luis Valbuena.
– Carrie Muskat
The 2012 Cubs now have the distinction of being the third team in franchise history to lose 100 games. They dropped No. 100 Monday night, a 3-0 loss to the Astros. Was 100 losses on Jason Berken’s mind when he took the mound?
“You don’t change the way you’re going to pitch,” Berken said. “It’s obviously something we’re aware of and don’t want to be a part of. I don’t think I changed the way I pitched. I tried to be aggressive and tried to give us a chance to win. It wasn’t quite good enough tonight.”
The Cubs mustered two hits off the Astros pitchers. Dale Sveum said they looked like they were “sleep walking.”
What can the young Cubs learn from this?
“I hope they learn it’s not fun when we lose a lot of games,” Alfonso Soriano said. “Everybody feels extra tired when we lose a lot of games. That’s what they can learn — it’s not fun. Baseball is fun when we’re winning. It doesn’t matter how much money they make, how much they enjoy the game, if we’re losing, it’s not fun.”
“We’re not far away,” reliever Shawn Camp said. “It’s like ‘Sori’ always says, you’ve got to throw aside the money and just come on the field and try to get better each and every day. That’s somebody for these young guys to look up to and go about their business.”
– Carrie Muskat
Sure, there are the big awards, like Cy Young and MVP. Dale Sveum was asked which players were the biggest surprises of the season. He picked Shawn Camp and Luis Valbuena. Camp was released by the Mariners in March, and signed a Minor League contract. The right-hander has appeared in a career-high 78 games for the Cubs. Valbuena was claimed off waivers on April 4, spent most of the season at Triple-A Iowa, and will finish with more starts at third base than Ian Stewart, who had been projected as the Cubs’ every day third baseman.
“Some of these key pickups right at the end of Spring Training have kept us afloat,” Sveum said of Valbuena and Camp. “Those kind of guys have helped us out tremendously or this would have been an even tougher season.”
But Sveum’s biggest surprise was veteran Alfonso Soriano, who has set a career-high in RBIs.
“Soriano has been the biggest every single day, all season long surprise, defensively and offensively,” Sveum said. “The person he is, the work ethic and everything has been awesome for a new manager to come in and see what he brings to the table.”
* Who is most improved? Sveum picked catcher Welington Castillo. He has taken over most of the catching duties since Geovany Soto was dealt to the Rangers at the Trade Deadline. In Spring Training, Castillo was like “a deer in the headlights,” Sveum said.
“What he’s done in the last six months has been the most impressive of anybody and he’s the most improved guy I’ve seen this season,” Sveum said.
Castillo, 25, has worked with pitching coach Chris Bosio and coach Mike Borzello on each day’s game plan, and is counted on to handle the pitch calling. Sveum said the transformation is a combination of more playing time, Soto’s departure, and the realization that Castillo has a chance to be an everyday big league catcher.
“It’s not that ‘yes’ man anymore,” Sveum said of the young catcher. “He’ll actually have input on situations. There are definitely guys who are starting to step up and going into Spring Training, it’ll be a very different atmosphere than going into it this past spring.”
Castillo took it as a challenge.
“I want to be a leader one day, and why not start now?” Castillo said. “They’re giving me an opportunity to be an everyday catcher and I think I have to take advantage of that and start doing that now. I feel really good and appreciate the confidence they have in me.”
– Carrie Muskat
Alfonso Soriano’s trade value may never be higher than it is now but Cubs manager Dale Sveum would hate to lose the veteran outfielder.
“That’s been our one cornerstone as far as run production,” Sveum said of Soriano, 36, who has 32 home runs and a career-high 108 RBIs, with one year remaining on his contract. “It’s hard to replace that. [Anthony] Rizzo should be fine in a full season and then you find somebody else who can hit home runs to hit fifth. That’s where you start at. Who knows who that is? That’s the million dollar question we have to deal with.”
The Brewers have three players who have combined for more than 200 extra base hits. Sveum would like to see that kind of production from the Cubs lineup in the future. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said they will have financial flexiblity to pursue free agents this offseason but Sveum said they have a lot of areas to address.
“We have multiple holes to fill,” Sveum said. “It’s not just one guy here, one guy there. It’s 10 different spots we have to look hard at and try to get better.”
– Carrie Muskat