Cubs, Yankees will give Soriano a lot to think about

Cubs, Yankees will give Soriano a lot to think about
July 23, 2013, 10:45 pm
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Cubs vs. Diamondbacks, 8 p.m.
on Comcast SportsNet Plus
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On the hill: Jeff Samardzija (6-9, 3.91 ERA); Ian Kennedy (3-7, 5.29 ERA)

Samardzija vs. D-backs: 0-0, 4.26 ERA, 11 K's, 4 Walks, 6 1/3 IP

Kennedy vs. Cubs: 1-0, 5.14 ERA, 7 K's, 1 Walk, 7 IP

Diamondbacks at at a glance: 52-48 (2nd in National League West, 1/2 game behind Los Angeles) ... 28-21 record at home this season.

A race to the top: The Diamondbacks will make their push back to the top of the NL West tonight against the Cubs. Kennedy will aim to win his third straight start.

Diamondbacks pitching leaders: Wins - Patrick Corbin (12) ERA - Corbin (2.31); Strikeouts - Corbin (115); Saves - Heath Bell (15)

Diamondbacks batting leader: Paul Goldschmidt leads the Diamondbacks in batting average, home runs, RBI, OPS and hits.

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PHOENIX – As a young player, Alfonso Soriano learned from the great Yankees like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter, seeing how they faced the relentless New York media, win or lose.

Soriano stood in front of his locker inside Chase Field’s visiting clubhouse for more than seven minutes on Tuesday, patiently listening to questions about his future. But the $136 million symbol from what seems like ancient Cubs history couldn’t answer whether or not he’d approve a trade to the Yankees.

“If they get something close, I want to have time to think about it,” Soriano said. “But now there’s nothing to think about.”

[WATCH: Epstein will go through options with Soriano

Soriano received a text message from his agent on Monday night and called him Tuesday morning. He hadn’t discussed the possibility with his family, and still had to meet with team president Theo Epstein, who was already scheduled to be in Arizona this week, along with general manager Jed Hoyer and other Cubs officials.

“Nothing really close,” Epstein said. “I’ll sit down with Sori and kind of go through some of his options with him. There’s a process to these type of trades and we’re still relatively early in the process.”

The New York Post had reported that the Yankees were on the verge of acquiring Soriano, who spent parts of five seasons in New York before being traded to the Texas Rangers in the Alex Rodriguez deal.

[RELATED: Hoyer calls Soriano-to-Yankees rumor 'premature'

“They’re not the first team to call,” Epstein said. “They’re the first team to show up in the paper in their home city right away.”

Soriano said he hadn’t been presented any other trade possibilities yet. He essentially told the front office don’t bother when the San Francisco Giants inquired last summer. He will weigh several factors, from geography to playing time to whether or not it’s a legitimate contending team.

The Yankees began the day at 52-47, fourth place in the American League East, seven games back of the Boston Red Sox and in desperate need of an offensive jolt.

[MORE: Is Soriano deal up next?

“They’re in a good division,” Soriano said. “They are the Yankees. They always make the playoffs. No matter what team they have, no matter what pitching they got, they always make the playoffs. They find a way. It’s one of the best organizations in baseball.”

Soriano has seen the benefits of being a designated hitter, realizing what it does for his 37-year-old body. He’s excelled as a DH – hitting .384 with nine homers, 25 RBI and a 1.202 OPS in 29 games – but might not want to do it full-time. He’d also need to have a better idea of what his role would be on a new team.

[ALSO: SportsTalk Live on Soriano rumors

“That’s a good question,” Soriano said. “If I get traded, everybody knows I love to play the game. I don’t want to, for example, play four or three games a week. If I’m healthy, I like to play every day.”

But will that keep happening in a Cubs uniform? Soriano’s hitting .256 with 17 homers and 51 RBI through 92 games and has worked hard to become an adequate defender in left field. But Soriano doesn’t exactly fit the front office’s vision of grinding out at-bats and the emergence of Junior Lake and an improving farm system could force the issue.

“He’s serving a great purpose here, mentoring a lot of younger players,” Epstein said. “But at the same time, there comes a time when he might have a chance to go in a pennant race, which towards the end of your career is appealing. Also, there comes a time when it’s important to have an opportunity for young players to play here and have a place on the field to play. There’s a natural time of transition that arises.”

And if the Cubs don’t want Soriano around anymore?

“We’ll see what they bring on the table,” Soriano said. “We’ll go from there.”