The next piece of the New York Yankees' past-their-prime team might be a guy we've seen in pinstripes before: Alfonso Soriano.
The sell!-sell!-sell! Chicago Cubs are close to dealing the 37-year-old Soriano back to the Bronx, according to George King of the New York Post. Soriano played for the Yankees from 1999-2003, signing with them as a free agent at age 22, before going to Texas in the Alex Rodriguez trade.
From King's report:
According to a person familiar with the talks, the Cubs will pay the bulk of what is left on Soriano’s contract. He makes $18 million this year and the same for next season.
Like they did in the Vernon Wells deal, whatever the Yankees pay will be laid out for the little more than the $6 million remaining Soriano’s contract this season. That way the Yankees aren’t on the hook for money next year when they want to get the payroll to $189 million. Soriano has a no-trade clause, but he would not block a deal to put him back in Pinstripes.
In return the Cubs will get a mid-level prospect.
Asked last night about the deal, GM Brian Cashman said, “I wouldn’t comment on that.’’
The Soriano who would be coming back to the Yankees isn't close to the one they dealt nine years ago. He's an outfielder now (not a second baseman) and hasn't been an All-Star since 2008.
He's hitting .259/.289/.476 this season with 17 homers for the Cubs, but hasn't hit above .270 since 2008. Soriano did hit 32 homers in 2012, however, and as King notes, the Yankees are in serious need of power, having hit only 88 homers this season.
Other stop-gap acquisitions, such as Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner, haven't been able to power the Yanks as they've suffered through injuries to Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira, as well as the wild A-Rod saga. Wells hasn't homered since May 15 and Hafner — who is second on the team in homers behind Robinson Cano — has only hit two since June 16.