Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Cubs' Soriano more likely to waive no-trade rights

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CINCINNATI - The reality of the latest five-game losing streak staring him in the face and the news of Curtis Granderson's latest injury less than 24 hours old, Alfonso Soriano knew what question was coming before it was asked Saturday.

"Yeah," Soriano said, he's more likely to consider waiving his no-trade rights than he thought he might a few months ago. "But it depends on them. It depends what the team wants.

"A chance to win, that's the most important thing. But it depends on the front office. It's not on me."

Soriano rejected a possible trade to San Francisco last summer in the early stages of talks between the teams. He said during spring training he was optimistic about the Cubs getting off to a good start and wouldn't consider the possibility of being asked to waive his no-trade rights.

And he still says, "It's something that I don't want to think about now. But if it comes up in four or five weeks, then maybe I'll think about it."

Soriano's age (37), early performance (.690 OPS) and contract (about $30 million through 2014) make him a lukewarm trade target at best. And the Cubs aren't rushing to simply dump him, considering his strong clubhouse presence and the fact they'd have to pick up most of his remaining salary regardless of the deal.

But when teams such as the Yankees suddenly find themselves with a need because of things like Granderson's broken knuckle, Soriano's name is sure to be brought up. And if he goes on one of his patented midseason streaks - as he did during a 32-homer season last year - he could even turn into a hot topic again by July.

And if the season continues to play out the way it has so far for the Cubs, he's not as likely to stand in the way of a deal as he was last year.

"The way we play and the way the starting rotation has been, to me it's not acceptable to have the record that we have," he said. "That makes me more mad, makes me angry, because the way the starting rotation is pitching you're not supposed to have that kind of record."

Soriano said he hasn't given much thought to where he'd be willing to go in a trade and also hasn't ruled out any place.

"Right now I don't have like one in my mind that I want to go to that team," he said. "My team is here, and I'm trying to get better to see if we can start playing better and making a run."

If anything, the other team he's thinking most about is the Los Angeles Angels - who got their seventh straight win Saturday to move to five games under .500 after a terrible start.

"We can do that, too. We have a very good rotation and a good team," Soriano said. "If we want to start playing better, there's a lot of time left."

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I would hate to see Soriano go to another team. He has come back strong and is a great teammate. His improvement in fielding and his key hits last year were some of the very few bright spots for the Cubs. The Cubs now have a potential for putting some key runs on the board, and Soriano is a major factor there. I think the Cubs in general are a much improved team and expect them to be competitive with any other team. their record so far this year has been pretty dismal, but certainly they have been in almost every game. If they could come up with a big winning streak ( and the two wins over theSox are a good start ) , they could still be in the play-offs, but admittedly, there is little room for error. They have to be at the top of their game every outing, and the starting pitching needs better run support than they have thus far received. The relief pitching also needs to hold leadsa much better.

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on May 25, 2013 4:43 PM.

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