It was reported today that Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano is open to a trade. According to ESPN, Soriano, who has a no-trade clause, has given the Cubs a list of teams he’s willing to go to. The article quotes Soriano who states the teams on his list are in the “east or center” parts of the country. It’s unknown if the Mets are one of the teams Soriano is willing to waive his no-trade clause for, but if they are, should the Mets consider it?
Soriano, 37, has two years remaining on his contract at a total of $36 million dollars. It has been rumored that the Cubs are willing to pick up $26 million of that tab. If accurate, the acquiring team would only be on the hook for $5 million dollars each of the next two seasons. The Cubs are willing to eat the money in an attempt to obtain quality players in exchange for Soriano, who would be virtually impossible to move if the team who traded for him was expected to pick up the full tab.
There are two potential issues with the Mets going after Soriano. The first, is that no one has any idea what type of package the Cubs are looking for in return. Under no circumstances should the Mets consider trading any of their better prospects for Soriano. If, however, a deal can be reached with the Mets only having to surrender lesser prospects, it should be considered. If the Mets were able to snatch Soriano at $5 million per season, that small price tag in 2014 wouldn’t preclude them from entering the free agent outfield market wholeheartedly next offseason.
The second issue is the fact that if he became a Met, Soriano in left field (with Lucas Duda moving back to right field) would make the outfield defense appreciably worse. Over the past three seasons, Soriano has clubbed 24, 26, and 32 home runs respectively. Is it worth sacrificing defense if it means adding 25 or 30 home runs to the lineup, especially considering those homers would be coming from a position of need? Another thing to consider: while Soriano’s defense leaves lots to be desired, it’s not as if he’d be replacing a player or combination of players who are gold glovers. In all likelihood, Soriano would be taking the place of some combination of Marlon Byrd, Andrew Brown and Mike Baxter.
If the price is right and the Mets are on the list of teams Soriano is willing to go to, trading for him is something Sandy Alderson should at least consider.