The trade between the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees that's sending Alfonso Soriano back to the Bronx is now a done deal.
It's hasn't been a secret that Soriano would be re-joining the Yanks, the team with whom he started his career. Reports have been floating around most of the week. Then Soriano, 37, was pulled out of the Cubs lineup before Thursday's game, signaling that a deal was just about done.
We were just awaiting the final details, which come now via The New York Post:
The Yankees will be paying $5 million pro-rated this season and $5 million of his the $18 million owed to him next year. In exchange, the Cubs will get righty Corey Black, who is starting at Single-A Tampa. Black is 3-8 with a 4.25 ERA in 19 starts this season, but the Cubs view him as a reliever down the line.
After Thursday's game against the Diamondbacks, Soriano boarded a New York-bound red-eye flight from Arizona to join the Yankees, for whom he's expected to DH.
Cubs gathered in clubhouse to say goodbyes. Sveum: "it was emotional for all of us."
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) July 26, 2013
Soriano waved his no-trade clause to go back to the Bronx, where he was a star for the Yankees from 1999-2003. He was then sent to the Texas Rangers in the trade that brought Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees. Soriano played a year with the Washington Nationals before signing an eight-year, $136 million deal with the Cubs.
The power-depleted Yankees are getting a long-ball boost in Soriano, who has hit 17 homers this season. He hit 32 last year. As a team the Yankees have seven homers in July (tied for the worst in baseball), while Soriano himself has eight (tied for the most in baseball).
With Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira out of the lineup for most of the season — and A-Rod doing A-Rod things — the Yanks have depended on Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner for power. That worked out OK earlier in the season, but Wells hasn't homered since May 15 and Hafner, second on the team in homers behind Robinson Cano, has two since June 16.
While the homers sound good, Soriano is hitting just .259/.287/.467 and hasn't hit above .270 since 2008. As Sports Illustrated's Joe Sheehan notes, trading for Soriano adds another to the Yankees' collection of big contracts — even if the Cubs are paying a lot of it.
This has become the Yankee way in 2013: Buying past-their-prime players that teams are looking to unload. Getting Soriano for $5 million or less per year isn't a miscue for the Yankees. It could help the team win a few more games.
But if the Yanks want to make the playoffs out of the competitive AL East, they'll need Soriano to play like it's 2002 — when he was an MVP candidate — not 2013 when he became expendable on a fourth-place team.
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