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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Sosa implications on Alfonso Soriano 

With the Cubs now having traded Sammy Sosa to the Orioles, Chicago has a problem which the Transaction Oracle, among others, have pointed out...their best outfielder is now Corey Patterson.

Newcomer Jerry Hairston, Jr., is a second baseman by trade, but may be put in the outfield, along with some other random Dusty Baker selection. Unless, of course, he takes Todd Walker's spot at second base, in which case there are two open outfield slots.

Dusty is a manager who likes veterans with playoff experience, along with guys who can run, and isn't concerned about that new-fangled OBP thing.

An opportunity thus may be out there for the Rangers to try to work out a deal to send Alfonso Soriano to the Cubs, to be their new rightfielder.

The big hurdle, of course, is Soriano's balking at playing in the outfield. But Dusty Baker is the type of manager who commands the respect of his players, and if any manager could convince Soriano to move to the outfield without complaining, it would be Dusty.

Picking up Soriano would be a p.r. coup for the Cubs, who dumped a big name superstar for almost nothing in the Baltimore deal. Soriano is the type of well known name that the Cubs fans would recognize, and would be more palatable than Jeromy Burnitz or someone of that ilk for a starting outfield job. And his skill set is exactly the type that would fit in with Dusty's perception of what makes a good player.

What would the Rangers want in return? If I'm John Hart, I start off by asking the Cubs if Todd Walker will accept a trade (as a free agent signee, he can't be traded without his permission until June 1). Assuming Walker would -- and he supposedly elected against signing with the Rangers primarily because they wouldn't guarantee him the second base job, a problem that is solved if Soriano is dealt in the deal -- the Cubs have plenty of interesting young arms to include in the package. Sergio Mitre would be on the top of my list. Other options would be Angel Guzman, or Rule 5 selections Andy Sisco or Luke Hagerty, assuming they ultimately are returned to the Cubs.

If the Cubs believe that Soriano would move to the outfield, this seems like the perfect fit. The Cubs have a deep farm system full of the type of high-ceiling power arms Hart likes, and with both Walker and Hairston, they could send the Rangers back a second baseman as part of the deal.

This is all speculation on my part, of course...I've seen nothing that suggests that this is being considered by either side. But it seems, to me, to be a good fit...so I'm keeping my fingers crossed...


1 comments
Comments:
I think that your Soriano for Mitre deal has a great deal of merit. Provided Soriano could be convinced to make a move to the outfield, both teams would benefit greatly. The Cubbies could afford to lose a player like Mitre, given their current rotation and stable of young arms in Iowa. They wouldn't have to play uber-scrub Hairston in an everyday role, and their lineup would begin to look fearsome.

And Mitre would easily step into the Ranger rotation immediately. A win-win.
 
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