Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Cubs have no idea what to do with Soriano

Last week, he might be batting cleanup.  Then yesterday we were told he might be batting lead off.

Who?  (as if you haven't read the title of this post)

Alfonso Soriano.

Shh...let's not bother talking about his defense today.
Yes, the middle of last week we were told by Dale Sveum that Soriano might be a fit to hit cleanup.  This isn't a completely rediculous idea, especially against left handed pitchers, who Soriano has actually continued to hit well against, posting a not too horrible .812 OPS last year and was even more impressed the year before.

But in today's Sun-Times, it was reported that Sveum is considering batting Soriano lead off at times during the season (which is where he batted him for the intrasquad game yesterday).  We've been there and done that.  No thanks.  Unless something miraculous has happened where Soriano's legs were replaced with ones that actually kinda worked, this idea is probably doomed to fail.

(more after the jump)

Look, batting him lead off and cleanup are two completely different animals, and what this tells me is that Dale Sveum really has no clue what he's going to do with this guy.

If Soriano is to be an everyday player in 2012 (which he shouldn't be), he really doesn't fit the mold of either a cleanup hitter or a lead off hitter.  The truth is, Soriano shouldn't be in the lineup when the Cubs face a right handed starter.  His OPS was .741 against righties last year.  Reed Johnson's was .826.

It's a $54 million problem.  Where do you put a guy whose skill set has collapsed to the point where Tony Campana might be a better alternative?

The real questions are a) How long will Jed Hoyer keep Soriano on the roster? and b) How long until Theo Epstein accepts the fact that he will need to write a $54 million check for Soriano to be a DH for some American League team?

Dale Sveum is trying to figure out some way to make this work.  If he can figure it out, he can be called a genius.  But the likely reality is that Soriano's days are numbered in a Cubs uniform.  Unless a miracle happens, Soriano will be traded (a miracle in of itself) or he will be DFA'd after this season, if not earlier.

Any talk of him batting lead-off or cleanup is just talking up his value right now.  Unfortunately, in this case, talking up his value probably isn't going to do much good.