Let’s take a look at our outfield – I wish we didn’t have to. The trio of Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukodome and Milton Bradley left a LOT to be desired…
Alfonso Soriano – Left Field
2009 Report Card Grade – D+ – seriously. I was tempted to give him an F, but I just don’t think anyone who at least tries a little bit deserves an F (see Milton Bradley in a couple of days).
2009 stats – 117 games; 477 at-bats; .241 batting average; .303 on-base percentage; 20 HR’s, 55 RBI’s; 64 runs scored; 118 K’s; 40 walks.
2008 stats – 109 games; 453 at-bats; .280 batting average; .344 on-base percentage; 29 HR’s, 75 RBI’s; 76 runs scored; 103 K’s; 43 walks.
As bad as we thought 2008 was, 2009 was that much worse. It’s almost comical. One of GM Jim Hendry’s best/worst moves in his career. It was a good move, because Soriano was the most sought-after free agent player at the end of the 2006 MLB schedule. Someone was going to throw a LOT of cash at Soriano and while Hendry made a big splash to get him, he also mortgaged the franchise in one of the worst baseball contracts ever. Soriano was 31 years old at the start of the 2007 season – to give him an 8-year contract at approximately $17 million per year was a bad business decision. Did Hendry and the Cubs really think that this guy would be worth $17 million per season at 36, 37, 38, 39? In just his 3rd year of the contract, Soriano has already started breaking down, and the decline will likely continue. The guys on-base percentage is barely over .300. He hit only 20 HR’s. 55 RBI’s? We could go on and on and we haven’t even started to take about his horrendous fielding.
I just wish Jake Fox was a left-handed hitter – then we could at least platoon Soriano and Fox in the outfield. Or maybe the Cubs agree to eat half of the $85 million still remaining on Soriano’s contract. Take that $40 million liability with the $10 million the Cubs will likely have to eat in order to move Bradley, and the Cubs will probably be playing 2 players around $50 million to NOT be on their roster. That’s more than the team salaries for several major league teams – Pirates, Royals, Padres…
So long story short, Soriano will come back to haunt the Cubs for years to come. His 2009 D+ grade is deserved.
Let’s hope Hendry can get a little creative over the next few seasons, or else Cubs fans will be forced to watch Soriano patrol left field at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field for 5 more years. Yippee!