Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano is about to see his career come full-circle. In 1999, young Soriano made his MLB debut with the New York Yankees. On Friday, it looks as though he’s returning to The Bronx for one more run with them as the Cubs have finalized a deal to send him back to where he started.
He was originally scheduled in for Thursday night’s series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but Theo Epstein called manager Dale Sveum and told him to pull him from the lineup. Players and coaches in the Cubs dugout began congratulating the 37-year old left fielder for his Cubs career and wishing him luck as he heads back to New York. Teammate Darwin Barney was one of the more emotional guys that said goodbye to one of his favorite teammates.
Sori’s been kind of what being a Chicago Cub is all about, ever since I got here. The first thing I remember about him is coming into Spring training, walking in at seven in the morning, saying “Que lo que, que lo que” to everybody and being in a good mood. Some people don’t see that from the other side. They don’t see the kind of teammate he is. He’s one of the top two or three best teammates I’ve had at any level, just his attitude and the way he picks you up. It’s always said when you lose a teammate, but a guy like Sori, it’s definitely different.
The trade became official on Friday morning, after he officially waved his no-trade clause. Soriano is still owed roughly $24.5 million through the end of 2014, which the Cubs will eat about $17.7 million. He is scheduled to make $18 million next year, and $5 million will be paid by the Yankees.
Soriano began his career with the Yankees in 1999, and will see a few familiar faces upon his return, as he noted on Friday when MLB approved the deal.
It was great when I used to be with the Yankees. My best friend with the team is Derek Jeter, and he’s still there. Mariano Rivera is there too. Me and Cano are good friends, because we’re from the same town. I could feel very good with them, because I’ve been part of that family before with them.
ESPN analyst Buster Olney noted that from June 28 through July 25, Soriano has hit 10 home runs compared to the entire Yankees lineup only managing eight. He is batting .254 with 17 homers and 51 RBI’s entering play on Friday night. He also enters the weekend just 11 hits shy of 2,000 for his career, and 11 home runs short of 400. He is expected to be in the lineup Friday night for the Yankees as works twoards those goals.
In return, the Cubs were given a choice of second-tier pitching prospects to choose from, and they have chosen 21-year old right-hander Corey Black. He was a ranked prospect with the Yankees’ farm season at the start of the year. He has gone 3-8 with a 4.25 ERA across 19 starts this year. He has 88 strikeouts in 88 and 2/3 innings, but has walked 45 batters.
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