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Friday, July 28, 2006

Trading Soriano    

Some interesting quotes:

"Some of us were talking. Soriano may be the only player in baseball that pitchers are afraid to pitch to and afraid to pitch around," Ryan Zimmerman said. "He hits it out of the park or he walks and then steals second base and maybe third, too."

and

By the time Soriano prepared to leave RFK yesterday, he said: "I don't want to think of today as my last day [at RFK]. If something happens, I will miss my friends. I'm going to be very sad if I have to leave. I love the fans. I love the town. If it's my last game, they know how I feel. Thank God that I did the switch" to left field.

If you trade him, you have a chance at 2 or 3 prospects that could change the franchise the way Cliff Lee, Sizemore and Phillips (um..) changed Cleveland. Plus, you could always re-sign Soriano during the offseason. And if you couldn't, you'd have financial flexibility in an amount larger than the Marlins' team payroll. Then again, who's to say Bowden would choose good prospects, would make good choices with the money saved (see Christian Guzman), that Soriano would want to come back to a team that he felt betrayed him, or that the team (or city) wouldn't feel betrayed by a team that traded their centerpiece? Do you actually want to trade a player that genuinely seems to want to play in DC?

If you don't trade him, you have a much better shot to re-sign him, and if you can't, you get 2 first round compensation picks. Also, you send a message to your fans and team that you're committed to winning. On the other hand, he's demanding a no-trade clause in his next contract. Do you still want to re-sign him, pay him $16M a year, and get stuck like the Phillies are with Abreu? Soriano's 30 and has never really played like this before -- who's to say he'll play like this (or anything close to it) for the bulk of the deal (see Pavano, Beltre, etc. Sorry Jesse). If you don't sign him, are those two draft picks going to be better options than a couple of hot-shot, nearly-ready minor leaguers? And what's the point of the "committed to winning" message if you don't actually win (the, "we have Soriano but no one else" and "Soriano is underperforming in relation to his contract" scenarios)?

Aside from the fact that it's got to be against the rules, I'd sit down with Soriano and tell him I'd give him that no-trade and sign him to a big contract in the offseason if he'd agree to get traded for some great prospects that could help him and the Nats out in the long run. But assuming I can't do that, I think I'd still trade him if demanded more than a limited no-trade. Something like Lester, Ellsbury and another minor-leaguer (maybe Abe Alvarez) would do it (I wouldn't want the Sox to actually make this trade, but that's the type of package I'd take, swapping in something like Humberto Sanchez for Lester and other Tigers prospects that I don't know anything about).

So, should Soriano be traded? If so, for how much? If not, what should DC offer him during the offseason?

2 Comments:

  • Well, blogosphere consensus is that both the Orioles and the Nationals were fools not to trade Tejada and Soriano, respectively. I think the Orioles look stupider, as they apparently turned down Erik Aybar and Ervin Santana for Tejada, which definitely made them stronger down the road. People are saying Aybar is a Betancourt-level defender at SS with a better bat, and the Orioles could really, really use a pitcher like Santana.

    I'm less sure about the Nationals. If they can resign Soriano, why the hell not? They weren't getting the deals they wanted, he hits well there, and he seems to be fitting in well. I'd be nervous about a long deal, though. He'll get it, so the question is how much is the Washington budget likely to be going forward? I'd say he's going to get a 5 year deal at over $15 per, so they'll have to be ready to spend some real money to keep him. I don't know. I think this is a career year, but you never know.

    BTW, Zimmerman's comment is ridiculous. Nice of him to say about his teammate, and maybe this year Soriano is one of the best power-and-basestealing-threats out there. But Soriano he doesn't match up to the 2004 versions of Carlos Beltran or Bobby Abreu remotely. He's been caught stealing 10 times already against 27 stolen bases. Yeah, he's a threat to steal, but not a particularly intimidating one. Of people who have actually tried to steal a lot, really only Rafael Furcal has been worse, with Johnny Damon in hot pursuit. Although, looking closer, Soriano was pretty amazing at stealing bases last year (30-2), so I guess he has a decent chance to end up with a very good line depending on the rest of the season.

    Honestly, the only really dominant basestealer so far this year, though, is Ichiro. He's been phenomenal this year, 34 stolen bases against only twice caught stealing. It's actually kind of outlier, as his three-year splits have him at only 83% success rate, which is good-but-not-great. If he keeps this up, though, which I wouldn't really expect, it will be the best basestealing season in quite some time. Exciting.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 7:01 PM  

  • Yeah, the Orioles screwed up big time. The other part of the trade is the financial flexibility to sign other players (or resign Bedard and Loewen). I think the best thing Baltimore fans can hope for is that Angelos sells the team.

    Also, Soriano is going to get more than $15M per from the Nationals because it would look terrible if they kept him (not even during a playoff run), then let him walk. No one in DC will care about the draft picks (actually, no one in DC cares about the Nationals, but that's a different problem). That makes me think (a) Soriano can use that to leverage the price up to the $16/17M range and (b) the Nats will be the highest bidders because they have the most to gain/lose. If they could have gotten Sanchez from the Tigers and a few prospects from the Marlins in a 3-team deal, they should have jumped on it. But keeping him isn't a bad alternative, and like you said, much better than keeping Tejada.

    By Blogger chas, at 12:43 AM  

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