The New York Yankees are close to acquiring outfielder Alfonso Soriano from the Chicago Cubs, according to George A. King III of the New York Post. CSNChicago's David Kaplan notes that the Cubs have been "exploring multiple deals that would move Soriano out of town", and the Texas Rangers have been linked to the 37-year old in recent days.
Conflicting reports about a potential deal have surfaced on Tuesday morning, with Cubs reporters like Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune and MLB.com's Carrie Muskat saying that nothing is imminent yet:
Cubs, Yanks talking Sori deal, but not close to getting it done. http://t.co/CFxIB0t6Kh— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) July 23, 2013
#Cubs have had discussions with Yankees re Soriano. Nothing imminent— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 23, 2013
And Cubs' general manager Jed Hoyer saying the same thing on MLB Network Radio:
Hoyer on Alfonso Soriano to NYY rumor: "Very premature; we've had conversations with multiple teams about him, but nothing close."— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) July 23, 2013
Because the information from Hoyer, Muskat and Sullivan is all very similar, it is likely a Cubs' negotiating tactic aimed at causing other teams interested in Soriano to think that they still have a chance and increase their offers. Reports from King and David Waldstein of the New York Times on the Yankees side of things suggest that the Yankees believe that a deal will get done.
Can confirm NY Post story Yankee are in serious talks with Cubs for Soruano.— David Waldstein (@DavidWaldstein) July 23, 2013
Although the two sides seem to publicly disagree on how far talks have progressed, it is clear that the situation is fluid and there is a chance that Soriano will be sent to the Bronx. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says that there is "still work to do" on a potential deal:
The Cubs would pay the bulk of the remainder of Soriano's massive contract, according to King. The Yankees will likely pick up the $6 million left for this season, while Chicago is expected to take on the bulk of Soriano's $18 million paycheck in 2014. The North Siders are also expected to receive a mid-level prospect from the Yankees, who have many young right-handed relief pieces that could be available. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports, the Cubs have scouted Yankees' Triple-A right-hander Chase Whitley in recent days. The 24-year old would fit the mold for the type of prospect the Cubs are looking for in a deal for Soriano.
A possible obstacle is Soriano's full no-trade clause, which allows him to block any deal. He will likely accept a deal to return to the Bronx, where he played from 1999 to 2003. In late June, Soriano spoke to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times about the possibility of waiving his no-trade clause to join a contender:
"I don’t think about it. Let’s wait and see if that happens, and I’ll think about it," Soriano said. "I don’t want to put my mind on something that hasn’t happened yet. The front office has their job, and I have my job."
In four years with the Yankees, Soriano hit .284 with 98 HR and 270 RBI before being shipped to the Rangers for Alex Rodriguez in February 2004. In fifteen major league seasons with the Yankees (1999-2003), Rangers (2004-2005), Nationals (2006) and Cubs (2007-2013), he is a career .273 hitter with 389 HR and 1,086 RBI.
The seven-time All-Star is hitting .259 with 17 HR and 51 RBI on the year with the Cubs.