Soriano, Cubs agree on 8-year deal

November 19th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Soriano, Cubs agree on 8-year deal


Associated Press

CHICAGO - Free agent Alfonso Soriano and the Chicago Cubs have reached a preliminary agreement on an eight-year contract worth about $136 million, a major league official told The Associated Press on Sunday.
The deal is contingent on Soriano passing a physical, according to the official, who asked that his name not be used because the deal had not yet been announced.
If completed, it would be the fifth-largest total package given to a major league player, behind Alex Rodriguez ($252 million for 10 years), Derek Jeter ($189 million for 10 years), Manny Ramirez ($160 for eight years) and Todd Helton ($141.5 million for 11 years).
The deal was first announced by WGN radio, the Cubs' flagship station.
Soriano, who could play center field and give the Cubs a leadoff hitter with a combination of speed and power, had 46 homers and 41 stolen bases last season with the Washington Nationals. He batted .277, had 95 RBIs and had 41 doubles.
Primarily a second baseman during a career that began with the New York Yankees in 1999, the 30-year-old Soriano made the switch to left field last season, his first and only one in Washington.
His signing would be the highlight of a busy early offseason for the Cubs, who are rebuilding under new manager Lou Piniella following a 66-96 finish, worst in the NL.
Chicago already has re-signed third baseman Aramis Ramirez to a five-year, $73 million deal, signed free agent Mark DeRosa to play second base and re-signed pitchers Kerry Wood and Wade Miller.
The Cubs are looking for a center fielder after Juan Pierre filed for free agency.
Chicago general manager Jim Hendry declined comment Sunday on Soriano.
The addition of Soriano would give Chicago a lineup that should make the Cubs players in the NL Central. He will join a lineup that includes Ramirez and Derrek Lee in homer-friendly Wrigley Field.
Soriano played his first five seasons in New York and then was traded to the Texas Rangers in the 2004 deal that brought Rodriguez to the Yankees. Soriano was dealt again two seasons later to the Nationals in a trade that sent outfielders Brad Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge plus a minor league pitcher to the Rangers.
When he joined the Nationals, Soriano was switched to the outfield because Washington already had Jose Vidro at second. It was a move Soriano initially balked at. But gradually he became comfortable with the switch and made an All-Star team for the fifth straight season, this time at a new position.
Soriano is a .280 career hitter with 208 homers and 560 RBIs. He made $10 million last season.
In 2006, he became the fourth player in major league history to record 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in a single season. Jose Canseco (Oakland 1988), Barry Bonds (San Francisco 1996) and Rodriguez (Seattle 1998) are the other members of the 40-40 club.

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