Cubs willing to eat millions to move Alfonso Soriano

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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.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: