“The calculus for us was would we rather spend that $18 million on one year of Carlos and try to make it work with him here. Best case scenario is that if it did work, he’d be leaving as a free agent at the end of the year. Or, if we had to spend that money anyways as a sunk cost, would we rather spend it on a 25-year-old who we can put in our rotation and control for three seasons? That made a lot more sense.”This gives me hope that the Cubs could pull off something similar with Alfonso Soriano, as the same scenario pertains to him as well. If the Cubs consider the $54 million remaining on his contract a sunk cost, it comes down to whether it make more sense to eat a large chunk of that contract in hopes of getting a young player with some upside in return.
This is what Epstein had to say about Soriano:
"He also hit 26 home runs and drove in 88 runs last year. He's a valuable offensive player, so it's our responsibility as an organization to work with him and to get the best out of him. At some point in the future, if there's a transaction that makes sense with any of our players that puts the Cubs in a better position moving forward, we are going to pursue it. But in respect to Alfonso, he has power and is an offensive contributor. We can work with him to get the best out of him and see where that takes us."In other words, if the right deal comes along, he's gone, otherwise, we'll stick with him and try to make the best of a bad situation.
As with Zambrano, the Cubs are willing to pick up most of the $54 million remaining on Soriano's contract and it was reported recently that the Orioles talked to the Cubs about him, but that talks were probably not very serious. In fact, about a month ago, one Orioles club official said there's no chance that the Orioles wanted him.
Nonetheless, there is some interest in Soriano and, if the Cubs move him, it will likely be to an AL team (where he could DH) and they are unlikely to get much in return. For example, if the Cubs were able to work out a trade with the Orioles, they might be able to get a lower tier prospect from them, such as Tyler Henson or Ronnie Welty.
The difference between Soriano and Zambrano is that the Big Z is still at least a serviceable pitcher with only one year remaining on his contract, whereas Soriano still has 3 years remaining. Thus, even if the Cubs are willing to pick up all but $3 million per year of Soriano's contract, that still means the acquiring team will be paying that much each year for at best a DH and at worst a pinch hitter.
Bottom line, don't be surprised to see the Cubs move Soriano before Spring Training starts. Just don't expect much in return.