The Curious Case of Alfonso Soriano


At the age of 34, Alfonso Soriano’s best playing days maybe well into the past. But, even in his best days, he has been plagued by bad defense. For instance start with his first team the Yankees, he was a tremendous hitter for them, but he was the polar opposite when it came to playing second base defensively. And after a while, the Yankees decided to move on without him. Granted, they did get perhaps the best player in the game at that point in Alex Rodriguez.

And when Soriano was a Texas Ranger, the same thing was the case. He was a terrific hitter, but he killed the club with bad defense at the second base position. Which then forced the Rangers to look to trade the powerful second basemen, but bad defender.

And that is when the Washington Nationals came calling, and decided to make a move for Soriano. But instead of playing Soriano at second base, they thought moving him to the outfield would limit the damage he could cause the team on defense. But as with the rest of the teams Soriano played for, the Nats’ found that while Soriano at the time was a great hitter, he really hindered the team’s chances with his poor defensive play.

And now we come to the past 3 years going on 4 this season, when Soriano has been a member of the Cubs.

At first in 2007, and 2008 things were going for the most part okay. After dealing with some early injuries in 2007, Soriano came around to have a pretty good year. And despite his poor defensive play, Soriano carried the Cubs into the playoffs in 2007 due in large part to his offensive numbers. Same was the case in 2008, the Cubs rode Soriano’s hot offense all season, which lead them to winning their division. But despite his success, the Cubs were swept in the playoff in each of those two years.

But last season, is when things really started to implode with Alfonso Soriano and the Cubs. While no one questioned his character, as he will always be a good teammate and an even better guy, his on the field play significantly dropped. As he struggled to hit .241 last year with the Cubs and he only hit 20 home runs last year. And with the poor offensive, Soriano’s bad defense was on full display, as it really did not look good the whole season.

And even though we are only six games into the season, Soriano is off to a miserable start by hitting .176 when entering play today. And his defense, has looked worse than it has in past years.

So, at this point in Soriano’s career, what do the Cubs do with him?

Those of you that say release him or trade, really should look at his contract status and see that he still is owed around $96MM over the next 5 seasons. Meaning their is no chance that the Cubs are going to swallow all that money by releasing him(Which isn’t a smart idea in the first place), and no team is going to want to take that on in a trade. So getting rid of Soriano, simply is not an option.

Leaving the only option for the Cubs, is to do something with his playing time. But, with the amount of money that he is making, I would not expect to see Soriano be on the bench for an extended amount of time. In my opinion, the best choice for the Cubs is to sit him against tough righties, and play either Tyler Colvin or Xavier Nady. I mean there really is nothing else, you can do.

But we are only six games into the season, so we should not write off the 2010 season for Alfonso Soriano yet, who has notoriously been a slow starter in his career.  However, this time we may not see Soriano rebound from that poor start.