Alfonso Soriano Open To Playing For White Sox
By Matt Adams
Ed Note:In this episode, Matt Adams tries to ruin the breakfasts of Cubs-hating White Sox fans, everywhere.
I have trouble seeing a world in which such a thing occurs, but crazy things happen. The Chicago Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano, who shot down a trade to the Giants before it ever really got started last summer, has said that he’s given the Cubs 6 or 7 teams that he’d be willing to be traded to should they fall out of contention and the White Sox are one of them.
Hold your bets on which week in April this actually occurs. We know it’s highly likely that they do fall out of contention sooner rather than later, a little less likely that they are able to find a suitable deal for all sides, and less likely still that the deal could involve the White Sox. But it could.
The White Sox could trade for a 37 year-old “outfielder” that is really just a DH playing in the wrong league. Sure, some strides have been made in the last season towards the improvement of Soriano’s defense (though advanced defensive metrics never seemed to hate him anyway). A lesson or two was given. Apparently the first ever lesson he’d had in playing the outfield, which seems a strange oversight at this level for a guy that’s been out there for 7 years.
Still, the White Sox have an outfield. One that is pretty set for at least another year, enough time for Dayan Viciedo to prove if he’s a full-time player or one that doesn’t care to figure out how to hit like-handed pitching. For the White Sox, Soriano would definitely have to DH.
Well they have a DH too! Well that’s true, but here’s where the whole concept grows legs. Paul Konerko hasn’t exactly been the picture of health in the last couple years. In 2012, though he played in 144 games, only 105 of those were at first base. The rest saw him at DH, while Adam Dunn took on the heavy footed fielding duties in an effort to give Paulie an extra break.
What happens if the White Sox are in contention in June and July? What if they’re not just in contention but carrying the division? Should something happen to Konerko at that point, that bat would have to be replaced, there would be no choice. It’s then, however unlikely it may seem, that it would make sense for the Sox to acquire Alfonso Soriano.
Soriano carries a stigma. It seems like he’s bad. Alfonso Soriano? Who needs him? Last season, in 7 more games, Soriano hit 6 more homeruns than Paul Konerko. I’m not trying to make the argument that Soriano is better. Konerko, even with his large drop in the second half of the season threw down an .857 OPS vs. Soriano’s .821, neither anything to sneeze at. Both are going to be in their age 37 seasons, and though neither is no longer enjoying their fastest days, one is clearly more of a liability on the base paths than the other.
Soriano would not be a terrible step down. The Cubs have already shown a willingness to eat much of his contract, one that lasts through the 2014 season, and it’s not terribly likely they would expect to get any sort of type-A prospects in return.
It’s not something that you should make a bet with your buddies about, but Alfonso is open to it, so maybe you should be too.