November 21, 2006

JUST WIN, BABY BEARS:

The more, the merrier: Cubs' willingness to shop justifies Soriano deal (Tom Verducci, November 21, 2006, Sports Illustrated)

Argue all you want that the Cubs overpaid for Alfonso Soriano (eight years, $136 million, including a full no-trade clause), but no team has had a better offseason at this early stage of the shopping season. In Soriano, Chicago signed the best available player on the market (Daisuke Matsuzaka excepted). It also signed the best manager available, Lou Piniella, added some needed pop at second base (Chicago second basemen ranked last in the league in 2006 with 57 RBI) by signing Mark DeRosa and in the second spot in the order (Chicago's No. 2 hitters ranked last with a .319 OBP), signed serviceable backup catcher Henry Blanco. The Cubs also brought back third baseman Aramis Ramirez and pitchers Kerry Wood and Wade Miller at what already are looking like bargain deals in this Owners Gone Wild winter.

The problem with Soriano is the contract, not the player. But why should that be a concern if it doesn't preclude the Cubs from other moves? And it won't. GM Jim Hendry isn't done yet. Before the winter is out he likely will have signed a starting pitcher (Gil Meche being the frontrunner for now), added a left-handed bat (Cliff Floyd being the most likely one) and signed ace Carlos Zambrano to a Roy Oswalt-styled extension. Hendry and the Tribune Company, which is exploring the sale of the team, know they won't have to worry about Soriano's value at age 39 (his last year of the contract) if the Cubs aren't any good in the short term. The money will be somebody else's problem.

"Jim's going about it the right way," one agent said. "He's been like, 'No trade? An extra year? Sure. Whatever it takes.' He's closing deals because he knows they need to win now."


Posted by Orrin Judd at November 21, 2006 11:22 AM
Comments

Sorri should have a few monster years at Wrigley, perhaps over 50 hrs with that inviting left field.

I'm not sure he's what the Cubs needed tho.
They already have big homer/rbi bats in Ramirez and Lee.

After years of Dusty -- "on base perecentage, what's that? I want want aggressive hitters" -- they needed guys who get on base. Whatever he is, Sorri is not that. Ks too much, walks too little, and frankly doesn't drive in enough runs despite the pop.

As a sometime Cub fan, I'd have preferred them to move some young arms for Manny, who seems to be on the mkt. Manny at least can get on base as well as smash the ball. He'd look real good batting 4th between Lee and Ramirez.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at November 21, 2006 12:50 PM

Jacque Jones, Cliff Floyd and Soriano in the outfield. What is the record for most outfield errors in a year?

Plus, Gil Meche is their pitching answer?

Spending to win now? Great if it works. This won't.

Posted by: Bob at November 21, 2006 12:55 PM

Just the Northsiders making sure that their "die-hard" fans won't have their big Centennial Celebration ruined. They want and expect a big, spectacular collapse, not another season that's indistinguishable from the Mariners'.

As for Meche, I can't think of a better fit for either one of them. In a list of "mediocrity", he comes in there right next to William Shatner, Iowa, and "people who use metal detectors."

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 21, 2006 1:33 PM

Soriano's contract isn't just bad. It's the worst one in the history of professional sports. Which, as a Cardinals fan, amuses me to no end.

Posted by: b at November 21, 2006 1:33 PM
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