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.
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.
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.
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?