Alfonso Soriano said earlier this week that he wouldn’t use his no-trade rights to block a move from Chicago, but as I wrote yesterday that won’t lead to a deal unless the Cubs are willing to eat a significant portion of the $18 million he’s owed in each of the next three seasons.
And sure enough Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago now reports that the Cubs “would be willing to absorb a high percentage” of Soriano’s contract “if the right trade offer came along.”
What that means exactly is unclear, but considering Soriano might struggle to get even half of what he’s owed if he hit the open market as a free agent right now, at age 35, the Cubs may have to eat upwards of $30 million to get anything decent in return.
Soriano is hitting just .249 with a ghastly .291 on-base percentage and mediocre .736 OPS in 82 games this season. He still has plenty of power with 14 homers and 13 doubles in 281 at-bats, but is no longer a threat on the bases, has never been an asset defensively, and is sporting a hideous 74/16 K/BB ratio.
If the Blue Jays can unload Vernon Wells’ contract then I suppose anything is possible, but moving Soriano won’t be easy for the Cubs even if they’re willing to pay to make him disappear.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.