Shopping Soriano: Will Cubs veteran be dealt?

Shopping Soriano: Will Cubs veteran be dealt?
July 5, 2013, 2:30 pm
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Chris Kamka

Some rational (and somewhat irrational) reasons why teams may be interested in Cubs slugger Alfonso Soriano:

Frank Thomas, on several occasions, pointed out how difficult it is for a player to make the transition to DH.

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He put up numbers as a DH most players can only dream of. But it was, in fact, merely mediocre compared to his totals as a first baseman.

Thomas career at 1B: .337/.453/.625, 969 games
Thomas career as DH: .275/.394/.505, 1,310 games

This holds true for many other stars. Here are some career totals as DH for some notable players:

Cal Ripken: 25 games -- .261/.306/.304
Will Clark: 33 games -- .239/.333/.345
Mark McGwire: 37 games --.179/.384/.357
Miguel Cabrera: 33 games -- .242/.317/.414
Josh Hamilton: 61 games -- .247/.316/.449
Albert Pujols: 95 games -- .275/.344/.465

Not a sizeable chunk of the career by any stretch of the imagination, but it's clear that those numbers are quite below what we know these players to be.

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For Alfonso Soriano, the opposite holds true. I took every player with at least 25 games appearing as DH and ranked them by OPS as DH:

Alfonso Soriano: 27 games, 1.188 -- .379/.407/.782, 9 HR, 25 RBI
Larry Walker: 27 games, 1.084 -- .289/.440/.644, 7 HR, 18 RBI
Jason Thompson: 47 games, 1.061 -- .348/.455/.606, 12 HR, 37 RBI
Barry Bonds: 39 games, 1.034 -- .259/.500/.534, 10 HR, 21 RBI
Mike Napoli: 57 games, 1.011 -- .300/.392/.606, 13 HR, 39 RBI

Okay. Only 27 games. But 27 games of data is:

A) better than no games of data, and
B) better than 27 games of really bad performance

Six of Soriano's nine homers as DH have come in a Cubs uniform. That's twice as many as any other Cubs player as DH (Glenallen Hill has 3). Soriano could still be able to provide a spark for an American League team.

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A move to any other team could help Soriano. He's a better hitter at night:

Day games: .267/.318/.488
Night games: .277/.324/.511

And he has over a career .800 OPS at several AL ballparks:

Target Field: 1.731 (in only 3 games)
Rangers Ballpark: .981
Tropicana Field: .921
Kauffman Stadium: .895
US Cellular Field: .837
Safeco Field: .828
Rogers Centre: .826
Comerica Park: .823
Fenway Park: .801

Soriano is already one of just four players in MLB history to hit 30+ HR in a season for four different teams (with Fred McGriff, Gary Sheffield and Jose Canseco)

It's really amazing to note that of the 18,000+ players in the history of Major League Baseball, only 62 have hit more home runs than Soriano. Only a dozen Cubs can boast more career roundtrippers as a North Sider. He's capable of carrying a team for a stretch of games with his bat.

Soriano's salary remains a hurdle, but with the flurry of recent Cubs moves, could he be the next to go?