Covering rumors is a tricky business. I, for one, try to do my best from creating rumors. While I am the site director for Cubbies Crib, I can honestly say that I am not in a position where I can report rumors. Nonetheless, whenever I cover a rumors, I make sure that a link to source in which I found the rumor is present within the article. Now, I have my pet peeves when it comes to those reporters who report their own rumors. There are two reporters that irritate me the most. One is Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, who I feel picks a player out of hat and connects him to either the Chicago Cubs or Chicago White Sox. The other one who I will not mention makes suggestions that seem “far-fetched” but tries to add credence to the suggestion by saying the information came from a source.
The reason I opened this article with my sentiment on rumors is because of Alfonso Soriano. It is no secret what President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer are trying to do with the Cubs’ roster. While manager Dale Sveum labels the project as “building”, it is clear that the organization is rebuilding. With Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez no longer with the team, the writing is on the wall that Soriano is not a part of the Cubs’ long-term future.
That conclusion that Soriano likely will be one of the next victims of the culture change has led some reporters, bloggers, and fans alike to go down a very slippery slope. As most Cubs’ fans know, the issue with trading Soriano is the fact that the left fielder is still owed $54 million over the course of the next three seasons. This is the time that Cubs’ fans also realize that Jim Hendry’s mistakes will never go away easily. Nonetheless, teams that succeed in operating an organization financially are not going to touch that Soriano contract. Meaning Epstein will be forced to absorb almost 95% of Soriano’s contract in any trade that involves the left-fielder. But like many in society do, the aforementioned reporters, bloggers, and fans try to find a way the problem.
The only way for Epstein to go around the issue of Soriano being owed $54 million is if the Cubs’ president of baseball operations is willing to take on another bad contract in return. This has lead for many false rumors to materialize regarding the Cubs and their efforts to trade Soriano. Seattle Mariners third baseman Chone Figgins has been mentioned as a potential trade candidate, and Soriano’s name is one of the first names mentioned as possible exchange for Figgins. The same can be mentioned for Brian Roberts of the Baltimore Orioles, and A.J. Burnett of the New York Yankees.
Epstein and Hoyer want to trade Soriano. But the Cubs’ front office is not going to trade Soriano for the mere fact of trading him. While it would be ideal for the Cubs’ to save whatever money they can on the Soriano contract, the team is not going to continue to handcuff themselves by taking on another bad contract in return. That does not fit the strategy that Epstein and Hoyer have set in place. If the Cubs’ trade Soriano, it will be a trade that is similar to one that sent Carlos Zambrano to the Miami Marlins for Chris Volstad. In such a scenario, the Cubs would eat most if not all of Soriano’s $54 million and receive a young but disappointing team-controlled player. It also should not be forgotten that the Cubs could also release Soriano during Spring Training.