In light of a Miami New Times article that linked several prominent baseball players to performance enhancing drugs, a new opportunity for the Chicago Cubs to trade left fielder Alfonso Soriano may have emerged. Two of the players that have been linked to performance enhancing drugs are New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez, and Texas Rangers’ outfielder Nelson Cruz. While Major League Baseball has yet to complete their own investigation of implications made in the report, there seems to be a consensus that the players linked in that story could very well face a 50 game suspension.
The Cubs have been shopping Soriano throughout the entire off-season. Some of the teams that the Cubs have discussed a Soriano trade with this winter are the Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, and speculation has connected Soriano to the Yankees. Recently, reports have indicated that the Baltimore Orioles and Rangers have expressed interest in Soriano. Spring Training is just under two weeks away and the current outfield picture for the Cubs has Soriano starting in left field, David DeJesus starting in center field, and Nate Schierholtz starting in right field. Scott Hairston, who has yet to be formally introduced by the Cubs, will likely serve as a platoon partner with Schierholtz and DeJesus.
The caveat when talking about a potential Soriano trade is the no-trade clause that is included in his contract that still has a value of $36 million over the next two seasons. Soriano’s no-trade clause came into play during the 2012 season when the left fielder rejected a trade that would have sent him to the San Francisco Giants. The belief is that Soriano is willing to waive his no-trade clause for a contending team on the east coast. The Orioles are on the east coast, but the Cubs’ brass may have to sell Soriano on the future of the Orioles. The Rangers are not on the east coast, but they may be quickly emerging as favorites to land Soriano.
Texas lost Hamilton and Cruz could get suspended. This could wind up being Alfonso Soriano’s new home. Watch this closely.
— George Ofman (@georgeofman) January 31, 2013
George Ofman of WBBM, who has credible connections within the Chicago Cubs organization, may be onto something with this tweet. The Texas Rangers are already facing an uphill battle in trying to compete with the Los Angeles Angels, the team that signed Hamilton this off-season. With the loss of Hamilton and the potential loss of Cruz for the first 50 games, the Rangers are going to need to find a solution on offense. The Rangers have been connected to free agent outfielder Michael Bourn, but the team does not appear willing to sacrifice a draft pick in signing Bourn. That would be why Soriano makes sense for the Rangers. The Cubs are willing to eat a majority of the $36 million remaining on Soriano’s contract. As for Soriano’s no-trade clause, the left fielder has enjoyed some of his best seasons of his career while playing with the Rangers. Given his history with the Rangers, there could be a strong chance that Soriano would waive his no-trade clause to return to Texas.