Alfonso Soriano said goodbye to his Cubs teammates last night and reportedly caught a late flight to New York. Bob Nightengale reports that Soriano could be in the Yankees lineup as early as tonight against the Rays.
“I don’t know what the Cubs got, but I’m happy and I think they’re happy too,” Soriano told Cubs reporters last night. “I’m happy to go back to New York where I started my career.”
There’s money involved, and that always causes a bit of a delay in making a trade official. A source said last night that the deal was close, but not quite done.
When the trade is officially completed, the Yankees will have an open 40-man roster spot that Soriano can take, meaning they’ll only have to open a spot on the 25-man active roster. Have to assume Soriano steps into the lineup in the cleanup spot, right? He fits nicely as a right-handed bat between Robinson Cano and Lyle Overbay. The Yankees have had some of the major’s worst production from left field and the right side of the plate, and Soriano should help with each of those issues. He doesn’t get on base much, but he has the home run power the Yankees so desperately need.
UPDATE, 9:05 a.m.: Hello from somewhere high above the U.S. The Cubs are reportedly choosing from a list of pitchers that include Corey Black and Tommy Kahnle, two young right-handers who were in big league camp this spring. Either one has legitimate big league upside, but neither is necessarily considered a front-line prospect. Just based on a handful of clubhouse conversations this spring, I thought Black seemed like a guy with a good head on his shoulders (and he has a big arm for a smaller guy). Didn’t talk to Kahnle much this spring, but he’s pitching well out of the Double-A bullpen.
Buster Olney is saying the Yankees will pay a little less than $7 million of Soriano’s remaining salary including, somewhat surprisingly, about $5 million next season. Kind of expected them to pay almost nothing next year, but the Cubs might not have been OK with that. They’d probably like to pay less next year as well. Meanwhile, Jim Bowden says the deal has been approved.