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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Cubs - Signed Soriano
Chicago Cubs - Signed OF Alfonso Soriano to an 8-year, $136 million contract.
Unless someone goes nuts over J.D. Drew or Chicken-Fried Lee after losing out on Soriano, this should be the biggest contract this offseason.
My opinion? It had to be done. The Cubs have clearly shown that, like the Orioles, building from within efficiently is something that sounds more fun for them to do than it is. They don’t want to take the negative headlines, the losses, the goodbyes, the patient waiting and knowing that not everything will work out on each player. If you’re not going to build from within, then you’re going to have a hard time building a team at an efficient cost and this is exactly the move you have to make - get the best players that are on the market. Is Soriano worth this contract? Almost certainly not. However, the way the Cubs would like to build the team rules out value as a consideration. I think this is a far better move in the NL Central than the NL West as out West, you have teams like the Diamondbacks and the Rockies that are playing the patient route.
It is a good thing that Dusty Baker isn’t employed by the Cubs anymore. Soriano did a great job in 2006 not flailing at those tantalizing sliders 3 feet off the plate, but does anyone really believe that Baker would be a good influence on Soriano? I don’t.
Translated to a 2006 neutral park, Soriano went from 272/316/527 to 294/368/605. Sammy Sosa may have had a similar improvement at around the same age, but remember, so did Larry Hisle. I feel comfortable with saying Soriano will be a good player in 2007, but given how hard it probably is to project him in 2007, I don’t want to even try 2014. Not all these mega-contracts look cheap thanks to inflation - Vaughn’s still looks pretty bad and even though he was good during part of it, nobody really wanted Kevin Brown at $15 million at the end.
All in all, I can’t be too mean as, with the Dodgers and Juan Pierre, it seems like it only took 24 hours for another team to sign a worse contract.
(No, ZiPS doesn’t care for Soriano - I think he’ll beat those numbers, though he won’t be great)
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