Soriano Boasts: "Nats Will Trade Me Soon"
[January 9th] -- Alfonso Soriano thinks he's won. The former Ranger has been telling friends that he believes the Nationals will trade him before the beginning of spring training. Soriano again said that he would not play any position other than second base, leaving the Nationals with no option but to trade him, probably for pitching.
Well, he's partially right. He knows the Nationals will never trade Jose Vidro to make room for him as he's been quite clear that he'll be a free agent about a minute after the notification period begins. Trading Vidro would leave a hole at second base in 2007 (assuming that Bernie Castro isn't in the team's long-range plans).
Here's where Soriano's logic goes askew. By saying he'd never sign with a National League team, he's cut the team's trading partners, and his value, in half. Most of the American League teams would probably rather wait and try to sign him as free agent instead of giving up players to get him and then face the possibility of losing him anyway.
The only way the Nationals will trade Soriano is if they get a top-tier pitcher, either straight up or in a package deal, and I just don't see that happening. Most likely, Soriano will start off at second base while Vidro continues to mend his aching knee, but once he's back in the lineup, the team will force Soriano to the outfield. If he refuses, he'll probably be suspended and lose a large chunk of his $9 or $10 million dollar contract.
Reports coming out of Chicago are indicating that the Cubs are readying themselves to make a trade, or series of trades within the next few days. Current secondbaseman Todd Walker, he of the good hit, no field school of baseball, is likely to be moved very soon. The Chicago Tribune is reporting, suggesting, maybe even wishing, that the Cubs might trade pitcher Jerome Williams and outfielder Corey Patterson for sad-sack second-sacker Soriano.
Hmm. Patterson has a career obp of .293 and Williams is 23-22, 3.92 for his career. I guess the question that begs to be asked is: "would you trade Brad Wilkerson, Terrmel Sledge and Armando Galaraga for Patterson and Williams?" I don't think so. Williams is a decent #4 pitcher, but Corey Patterson is just about the worst obp guy in the major leagues. How does he help the team?
Anyway, the Cubs would be taking a big chance because Soriano has already said that he's going to be back in the AL next season.