It’s been no secret that the Cubs have been shopping their starting left fielder Alfonso Soriano since… well, before the trade deadline last season. But today, they’ve found a lead.
A half decent lead too – the Philadelphia Phillies.
While this is all speculation at this point, the Phillies have talked about swapping Soriano for Domonic Brown as long as the Cubs eat up to $26 million of the $36 million that Soriano is owed over the next two seasons in order to gain a higher return on invested (likely in prospects.)
Brown, who was once the number 4 overall prospect in baseball to Baseball America, has had some snags in his development and can’t seem to find any sort of efficiency the major leagues. He’s was quite good in the minors some years ago but hasn’t been nearly as solid in the last two seasons failing to SLG over .450 at any point. He’s also been a career -0.8 WAR in the major leagues which is indicative of his struggles. Still, the potential that Brown has shown in the past is extremely intriguing.
The Phillies have been publicly quoted as wanting a right handed power bat, and this feels like the appropriate job for Soriano. To add to that, the Phillies match Soriano’s desired trade destinations (east coast team who are competitors) so in theory, his no-trade clause should be a non-factor.
Top that off with the fact that Soriano would be a $5 million/season starting OF over 2 years who hit 32 HR last season? It sounds likes a pretty solid deal considering the current market rates on outfielders. The Phillies get their RH power bat and the Cubs make a very “Theo style” move in gaining upside prospects with everything to prove.
Everyone wins right? In principle yes, but the Phillies still have their doubts about Soriano’s defense. These concerns aren’t unjustified as Soriano has been sporting a bad knee as of late which could hinder his performance in the outfield as he ages.
And while the principles of a good deal are in place, they’re built on a rather shoddy foundation. It raises doubts.
If you want my personal take? I don’t think this deal will be made reality for a number of reasons. The Cubs really wouldn’t want to eat all $26 million unless they received some very solid prospects back including Brown – and that just won’t happen from Philadelphia’s side. The Cubs’ focus has been on value for well over a year now and they wont stray from that. At which point, the Cubs would likely counter offer a smaller amount of cash along with Soriano and the Phillies wouldn’t be happy to see Soriano’s cost per season go up. There’s just too many variables that send this deal off the rails.
9/10 deals that are “speculated” don’t end up coming to fruition anyway. I wouldn’t hold my breath on this one.