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.

Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg’s status for 2023 ‘a mystery’

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Stephen Strasburg‘s status for 2023 is up in the air after a series of injuries that limited him to one start this season, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said.

“It’s still a little bit of a mystery,” Rizzo said about the 2019 World Series MVP before the Nationals were scheduled to play a doubleheader at the New York Mets. “I know that he’s working hard strengthening his core and the other parts of his body. We’re just going to have to see. With the type of surgery and rehab that he’s had, it’s unfamiliar to us. It’s unfamiliar to a lot of people. We’re going to have to take it day by day.”

The 34-year-old right-hander has thrown a total of 31 1/3 innings across just eight starts over the past three seasons combined. He had carpal tunnel surgery in 2020, then needed an operation to correct thoracic outlet syndrome in 2021.

After his only start of 2022, he went back on the injured list with a stress reaction of the ribs.

“We’ll have to see where the rehab process takes us later on in the winter,” Rizzo said. “We’re going to monitor him. He’s local, so we’ll see him all the time and we’ll see where he’s at going into spring training mode.”

Strasburg is a three-time All-Star who signed a $245 million contract after helping Washington win a championship in 2019.

He is 113-62 with a 3.24 ERA for his career.

Meeting with reporters toward the end of a rough season – Washington entered with a majors-worst and Nationals-worst record of 55-104 and shipped away the team’s best player, outfielder Juan Soto, at the trade deadline – Rizzo talked about doing “an autopsy of the organization.”

“I look at the season as a disappointment. I’ve always said that you are what your record says you are, and our record says we’re the worst team in the league right now. It’s hard to argue with that,” Rizzo said. “The flip side of that is we’re in a process.”

Rizzo and manager Dave Martinez were given contract extensions during the season. Martinez said his entire coaching staff will return next year.