Thursday, November 30, 2006

Soriano Contract With Cubs Almost Reasonable

It was a slow day on the baseball front. But that didn’t stop several posters in blogdom from continuing to complain about Alfonso Soriano’s contract. These complaints center around 1) Soriano being paid too much, and 2) the contract being too long.

There’s no disputing that Soriano is being paid a lot of money. It’s also self-evident that in the baseball world, an eight year contract is a long contract. Even so, I absolutely do not agree with those complaining about Soriano’s contract. Here’s why:

If the Cubs wanted to be a legitimate, competitive team in 2007, they had to make some major changes. Tweaking the 2006 version of the team wasn’t going to cut the mustard. So they went out and signed the two top FA position players (ARam & Soriano) available. Even before they did that, they hired Lou Piniella to lead the team. The hiring of Piniella and signing of ARam and Soriano signaled two things. First, the Cubs want to win and they want to win now. Second, the culture at Wrigley Field is changing.

If it had been possible, I would have liked to see the Cubs sign Soriano for five years and closer to $70 million. But that’s not what the going rate was. If the Cubs top offer had been 5/$70 million, some other team would have snatched up Soriano for more money and/or years. And that’s the bottom line point I’m trying to make. The market determines a player’s value, not the team that signs him.

I can assure you that Jim Hendry would have preferred to sign Soriano for fewer years and less money. But that just wasn’t in the cards. And if you look at the contracts of Juan Pierre with the Dodgers, Gary Matthews, Jr. with the Angels, Carlos Lee with the Astros and the contract J.D. Drew will be signing shortly with the Red Sox, Alfonso Soriano’s contract doesn’t look so bad. In fact, if it is possible, it almost looks reasonable.

The Cubs could have sat on the sidelines and allowed other teams to sign all of the free agents. Naturally, there would have been a lot of complaining by Cubs fans, but the Cubs would have avoided these big contracts. They also would have been relegated to the ranks of the Royals, Pirates and Drays. And 2006 was enough of a taste of that comparison for me.

Those are the alternatives. Either compete for the free agents even though the contracts are big, or throw in the towel in the off-season and join the ranks of the back markers. I’m glad the Cubs chose the former.


At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can justify any way you want, but there's no way you can call Fonzie's contract "reasonable". Signing any baseball player to a contract that dwarfs the economy of some third world country is not reasonable.

At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Brick said...

The Cubs did what they had to do. If you don't like paying for giant sized contracts, then get out of MLB. It's the price of doing business.

At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to admit, after seeing what everyone signed for, that the Soriano contract is not all that bad. Don't get me wrong, it's a lot of money. But comparatively speaking, it's not bad.

What the Cubs need now is pitching. Even if Soriano has a career year, the Cubs won't make the playoffs without a couple of decent arms. Go get Schmidt, trade for another starter and then I'll start believing.

At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Brick said...

Soriano was the best player available and the Cubs signed him. The contract terms are irrelevant. He was signed to help the Cubs win. If they do, his signing will be a success. If not, it will be a failure. It's that simple.


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