Alfonso Soriano managed to rehabilitate his image, even while the Cubs lost 101 games last season. Telling the front office to not bother pursuing a trade with the San Francisco Giants, the team that would win the World Series, didnt stick with him either.
Everyone loves Sori around the Cubs clubhouse. He didnt change as much as the perception of him shifted. Even if theyre never going to put up his statue at a renovated Wrigley Field, theyve developed a grudging respect for the 136 million man.
As the Cubs Convention opened on Friday at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, there was Soriano, with two years still left on his contract, full no-trade rights and a big smile on his face.
I want to stay here and finish my career here and try to win before I retire, Soriano said. I signed here to be a World Series winner in Chicago. Its a long time (since they won it). Thats my thing. I hope to stay here, and when they win, I want to be a part of it.
Soriano didnt seem to have any regrets about missing out an opportunity with the Giants, because the weather in San Francisco is not good for my body, especially with my knee.
Soriano also got a call about playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, but didnt pursue it. At the age of 37, he feels he needs to take it slow during spring training and get ready for the season.
Im ready to play hard, here or (with) another team, Soriano said, because this is my job and this is what I like to do.
The rumors will not go away, but the most likely scenario is that Soriano will be reporting to Mesa, Ariz., next month. The Cubs are always willing to listen, but theyre not desperate.
Hes our left fielder, general manager Jed Hoyer said. Im quite sure Dale (Sveum) is going to pencil him in batting fourth. Everything about Sori has been terrific since we walked in. Hes a 30 (homers) and 100 (RBI guy). He took (Starlin) Castro under his wing, showed a lot of young players the way to be a veteran (and) worked hard on his defense with Dave McKay. Everything Soris done has been positive.