Interesting Trade Option: Alfonso Soriano
Now that the Rays have expanded their search for offense beyond first baseman, there is a wider array of bats available. One interesting option for the Rays could be the Cubs Alfonso Soriano. The Cubs are reportedly willing to eat most of his $54 million salary, which is a plus for the Rays, and he is willing to waive his no-trade clause for a trade to a winner, which the Rays are.
There is some competition for Soriano, as the Cubs have reportedly spoken to eight teams about Soriano, most of which are from the American League. I would think the Rays are one of those teams, since the Rays need offense and Soriano would bring just that. The Rays also have good trade chips that could get the deal done.
Soriano is getting up there in age, at 36, but if the Cubs are willing to eat his salary he is still signed for three more seasons. Soriano was still productive last season, collecting a .244 average with 26 homers and 88 RBIs. The average is a little low, but he does offer the power and run production the Rays lineup desperately needs. He had similar production in 2010, hitting .258 with 24 homers and 79 RBIs. He can obviously still hit, so I could easily see the Rays making a deal like this.
If the Rays feel comfortable with Luke Scott or others at first base, which Andrew Friedman says he is willing to do for the right bat, Soriano would be a good DH candidate. He can still play corner outfield, but his glove is not as good as the other outfielders the Rays have. It is nice that he can play the field occasionally, but Soriano would most likely spend most of his time at DH.
If the Rays are able to pull the trigger on an Alfonso Soriano deal, I think Friedman would have been successful on his goal of adding two bats. They may give up some defense at first base, which the Rays hate to do, but with Soriano and Scott the Rays will have two very good power bats for the middle of the order. Mix them with Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, and Matt Joyce and you have a lineup that can be potent, if everyone is playing well. Just look at the potential lineup if the Rays get Soriano:
- Desmond Jennings, LF
- BJ Upton, CF
- Evan Longoria, 3B
- Luke Scott, 1B
- Ben Zobrist, 2B
- Alfonso Soriano, DH
- Matt Joyce, RF
- Jose Molina/ Robinson Chirinos/ Jose Lobaton, C
- Sean Rodriguez/ Reid Brignac, SS
The lineup does fall off a bit at the bottom, but I would like a lineup like this. This would be a very good lineup to support the Rays very good pitching staff.
I still think the Rays will end up signing a first baseman to fill their need of a second bat, but if they do decide to let Luke Scott play first, the Rays could become interested in Alfonso Soriano. The price seems to be right if the Cubs pay most of his remaining salary, and he most likely wouldn’t cost the Rays much in a trade, considering his age.