Talk about your bad free agent signings. Cubs GM Jim Hendry might be at the top of the list. Back during the 2006-7 MLB off-season, there was probably a reason (in fact, numerous reasons) that no other MLB GM offered a big blockbuster contract to Alfonso Soriano. Too bad Hendry didn’t see the signs. The 8-year, $136 million contract that Soriano signed with the Cubs before the start of the 2007 MLB season could go down as one of the worst free agent signings ever.
Now granted, the Cubs did win back-to-back NL Central division titles in 2007 and 2008 (for the 1st time in over 60 years), but it wasn’t all because of Soriano. In fact some might argue that the Cubs did it in spite of Soriano being on the team. Soriano has spent time on the DL in each of his 3 seasons with the Cubs. His numbers have also declined in each year. Soriano just underwent season-ending knee surgery to repair
Let’s look at the stats:
In 2007, Soriano had 579 at-bats in 135 games. A .299 batting average, .337 on-base percentage, 33 HR’s (his 2nd lowest total in 6 years), 70 RBI’s (his lowest total in 6 years), 97 runs scored and 130 K’s.
In 2008, Soriano had 453 at-bats in 109 games. A .280 batting average, .344 on-base percentage, 29 HR’s (his lowest total in 7 years), 75 RBI’s (his 2nd lowest total in 7 years), 76 runs scored and 103 K’s.
In 2009, Soriano had 477 at-bats in 117 games. A .241 batting average (his lowest batting average in 9 years), .303 on-base percentage (his lowest on-base percentage in 9 years), 20 HR’s (his lowest total in 8 years), 55 RBI’s (his lowest total in 8 years), 64 runs scored (his lowest total in 9 years) and 118 K’s.
Do we see a trend here?
I really don’t need to go on. The arthroscopic knee surgery supposedly was successful, and Soriano should be fully healthy by spring (he will rehab with the Cubs during the final 3 weeks of the season and then again at home in the Dominican Republic). But until he actually shows some consistency in 2010, I’ll expect the same over-paid, under-producing outfielder that I’ve grown accustomed to the last 3 years in left field at Wrigley Field. April 2010 can’t come soon enough…