Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I'm Sori, so Sori

Alfonso Soriano is behaving like a spoiled child. Yesterday he refused to play left field for the Nationals. They will ask him to play the outfield again today and if he refuses they will place him on the disqualified list. Soriano "lost" his arbitration case this off-season but is still slated to make $10 million this season. The Nationals traded for him in the off-season with the idea of moving him to the outfield, but they didn't speak to him about it first. So it makes sense that Soriano feels like he was blindsided by this request. He has played second base for the last four years and he has repeatedly stated his preference for remaining there.

Soriano has made 105 errors in the past 4 years. He has made almost twice as many as any other second basemen over that time period. The Nationals already have an all-star caliber second baseman in Jose Vidro, so it's pretty clear that Soriano is not needed at that position. The problem is that Soriano feels that his value is highest as a second baseman and that a move to the outfield would damage his value on the free agent market next year. And he's probably right. As a second baseman, his offensive numbers are off the charts. He's producing at a hall of fame level as a second baseman. As a corner outfielder, he's simply one of many who can provide the type of offensive numbers that he produces. I honestly think that this is a ploy by Soriano to get out of Washington. The ballpark there is cavernous and his offensive numbers are bound to suffer. I believe that he would have played the outfield, without a question, if he had been traded to the Yankees. Moving to the outfield in Washington will not only impact his next contract, but playing in that ballpark will impact it even more. If he goes from being a 30 home run/100 rbi second baseman to a 15 home run/80 rbi corner outfielder, the list of teams lining up for his services next year is going to be short.

The Nationals and GM Jim Bowden are partly to blame for the situation. I'm not sure there was a person in baseball that thought that this trade made sense when it was made. Why would they bring in a second baseman who had already stated that they didn't want to play the outfield when they already had Jose Vidro to play second base? I'm not sure. Soriano has benefited from playing in a couple of good HR parks (Yankee Stadium and Arlington), and his value is significantly decreased if he's playing in a park that does not play to his strength. He's a fly ball hitter and RFK in Washington is much more suited to a gap hitter. Soriano's offensive numbers will take a dive, which will affect his attitude and his already shaky defense. This was not the smartest move by the Nationals' brain trust. I'm sure the last thing Frank Robinson wants to deal with is a prima dona who doesn't do what he's told. Frank Robinson is one of the greatest players of all time. He's an old time baseball man who believes that players should play hard, run out every grounder and do what the manager says. Does that sound like a match made in heaven? Any way you look at it, Bowen f%@ked this one up royally. He can't even really trade Soriano at this point without taking cents on the dollar.

The bottom line is that Soriano is going to have to play. I am certain that he doesn't have another $10 million dollar job lined up. He said last night that he was going to discuss the situation with his wife and then come to a decision today. That's probably a good idea, because someone needs to talk some sense into him. And I'm sure his wife would prefer being married to Alfonso Soriano the $10 million a year ballplayer, rather than Alfonso "welcome to McDonalds can I take your order" Soriano. And I'm sure she's going to make her opinion known, in no uncertain terms.

He's gonna play.



Blogger ABY said...

Didn't Soriano originally come up as a shortstop but was asked to move to second for your buddy Derek? Sori doesn't strike me as one of the ego-maniacs in the game, I think he was just looking out for himself, what's wrong with that? The disqualified list is such a rare phenomenon, I don't think he realised what was going to happen if he got put on it; and when he did, he picked up his glove.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Mycue23 said...

I never said that he was an egomaniac, simply that in this case he was acting like a child. He did orginally come up as a shortstop. If you'll remember he was asked to move to the outfield by the Yankees during spring training of '01 which he did, but was moved to 2nd base when Knoblauch had his throwing problems. I happen to like Soriano, but sometimes you just have to do what your employer asks. Especially when that employer is paying you $10 million.

3:43 PM  

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