The role model for countless players in the Chicago Cubs clubhouse is moving on.
According to Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio, Major League Baseball has approved the deal that will send Alfonso Soriano to New York.
The two teams have been talking since early this week, and the deal picked up major steam over the past 24 hours, leading to Soriano being pulled from last night’s game after Theo Epstein told Dale Sveum that a trade was imminent.
“It was great when I used to be with the Yankees,” Soriano said – according to ESPN. “My best friend with the team is Jeter and he’s still there. Mariano is still there too. And me and [Robinson] Cano are good friends, too, because we’re from the same town. I could feel very good with the Yankees because I’ve been part of the family before with them.”
Black, 21, is 3-8 with Class A-Advanced Tampa this season, with a 4.25 ERA in 19 starts. He has struck out 88 batters while walking 44 in his 82 2/2 innings of work. His WHIP leaves something to be desired, as it currently sits at 1.500.
According to Sherman, the Cubs see Black as a potential power reliever, with a fastball that can regularly hit 97 mph on the radar gun and a nice complimentary curve ball, as well.
The Yankees will pay just $6.8 million of the $24.5 million left on the 37-year old’s contract – $1.8 million in 2013, and $4.0 million next season.
Soriano entered the big leagues with New York in 1999, coming over from Japan. He wasted no time in making an impact, finishing third in the American League MVP voting in just his third full season, hitting .300 with 39 HR and 102 RBIs to go along with a staggering 51 doubles and 41 stolen bases.
This season, Soriano has been on a power tear similar to last season, but his plate discipline issues have continued, with an on-base percentage of just .287. Despite this, he has pounded 17 home runs – eight of which came in the month of July, which is one more than the entire Yankees team during that same span.
Soriano is batting .254 with 17 home runs and 51 RBIs this season and has been a critical veteran presence in the Cubs clubhouse over the past few seasons, and several Cubs players were visibly upset during last night’s game when the news broke.
The veteran outfielder is just 11 hits shy of 2,000 for his career and 11 home runs short of 400 – both monumental milestones in his storied career.