With the WinterMeetings set to being monday, the horses have begun to neigh in preperation, as Horse whisperer extraordinaire Jon Paul Morosi is reporting that the Cubs are willing to discuss Alfonso Soriano, and names the Phillies as an obvious fit.
Now, grain of salt here: Soriano, 36 has a full no trade clause, and is owed $18,000,000 in both 2013 and 2014. Any deal would likely include significat salary relief coming back, depending on the prospect haul.
That said, the dude had a pretty solid season offensively, putting up a 262/322/499 line with 32 HRs and a career high 108 RBIZZZZZ he had a miserable season in 2009, but since then his ISO has been .238, .227, and .237 matching the production he had in his heyday. he's nowhere near the stolen base threat he used to be, but he's still actually a plus defender in the OF, and if the dollars are right, could be a really interesting addition as a corner guy.
I'll admit, when I first heard about this I was less than thrilled. He's old, he's overpaid, and he's the poster boy for bad contracts, right? So like most of you, I judged.
Then I delved into the numbers.
He's put up 12.3 WAR total since 2008, and while on the surface, that averages out to about 2.5 per season (or roughly 12mm a year) there are two seasons, 2009 and 2011, where he was at 0 and 1.4 respectively.
He only played 117 games in 2009, and had a BABIP of .279. in 2011, his BABIP dropped to .266 and in addition, his walk rate was just 5%.
Last year, with a .303 BABIP and a 7.2% BB rate, he put up 4 WAR.
In fact, if you go back to 2002, in 11 seasons, when his BABIP is .290 or higher (8 seasons) He's had 7 seasons above 3 WAR. SO theres only been ONE YEAR, since 2012, where he put up less than 3.2 WAR when his BABIP is normalized, 2004.
in that same span, he's had 1 season (2009) with a sub .200 ISO, 1 season with a sub .469 SLG% (2009) and just 3 sub .320 OBP seasons (2005, 2009, 2011...notice a pattern here?)
The point is, in the right lineup, seeing the right pitches, if he normalizes, BABIP wise (and hitting 5th behind Howard, he should) the guy is almost a lock to play to his current contract without any supplement.
The more I delve, the more I like.....
Another name that's been bandied about as a possible fit for power is former Orioles
man without a position 1B/3B Mark Reynolds, who was non tendered by Baltimore yesterday. Reynolds, is known around baseball for three things. 1. His ability to kill baseballs. 2. his ability to strike out 3. his virtual incompetence in the field.
On paper, Reynolds seems like a really illogical fit, seeing as his 3B skills are akin to playing my 5 year old son there, but when you delve closer into the numbers, offensively you find a few telling thoughts.
1. Even with the highest K rates in the game since 2009 (32.7%) he's managed to maintain a .332 OBP.
2. His K/BB% against RHP is almost 4/1 on his career. against LHP its 1.8/1
3. Since 2008, only 6 players have more total HRs and RBI's than Reynolds: Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Ryan Braun and Mark Texiera.
When you consider that Reynolds could realistically play 1B against tough LHP.... He's, at least in my estimation, a much better option than Kevin Youklis.
There are worse options out there, for the right price.
Should Amaro decide to go after one or both of these guys, for a small prospect haul and half of Soriano's salary, and say, a 2 year 12-14mm deal on Reynolds, you basically get twice the power of Josh Hamilton for what the Giants probably end up giving Hunter Pence in arbitration.
Expect to hear a bunch of nonsensical rumors over the next few days, and expect something to happen in Nashville. It's been a while since anyone mentioned Chase Headley after all....