Peter Gammons has an update on the Soriano situation...and it is looking ugly. And interestingly, Gammons includes some comments from Rangers coaches on Soriano:
Oh yes, they also have two second basemen, at least in Alfonso Soriano's mind. So when Soriano and Jose Vidro report for their first workout Thursday, everyone is waiting for the conversation between manager Frank Robinson and Soriano. Jose Rijo, a special assistant to general manager Jim Bowden, talked to Soriano Tuesday night when he got to his hotel in Cocoa Beach, and delivered the message to the indefatigable general manager: "Not good," Rijo said. "Prepare for Plan B."
With Cristian Guzman in camp early and so slimmed and conditioned that he looks 20 years old again and word among the players that Vidro is in the best shape of his career, the Soriano question could be a mess. However, Bowden figures that Soriano has no choice.
He will make $10 million this year. Is he going to go home?
* * *
As Soriano drew the line between second base and left field, Bowden realized he could have a problem. He's talked to teams about trades, and offered three different Cincinnati GMs Soriano for Adam Dunn. But the market might be small for Soriano, because of his salary and because many teams consider him strictly a DH.
His Texas coaches insist Soriano is the worst defensive second baseman in the game. They also don't think he'll be a good left fielder.
"He can't catch popups, why should he be able to go back on fly balls?" asks one Rangers coach. Another Rangers official is concerned that his lack of concentration will get worse in left field with nothing going on. Then there's the 1.011/.639 (with .265 OBP) home/road OPS split as he goes from a great hitters' park to one of the toughest.
The worst defensive second baseman in the game, and someone who'd be a mediocre defensive outfielder...the same things that a lot of us have been saying about Soriano for quite some time.
There seems to be a contingent out there who insist that Soriano isn't really that bad, that he makes a lot of errors but really does have great range, but neither the stats nor the scouting reports support that view. I tend to believe that, because Soriano is so fast, folks assume he's quick on defense, as well, and thus gets to lots of balls...but the reality is that Soriano's reaction times and instincts are poor, and his defense suffers as a result.
As for the notion of Bowden getting Dunn for Soriano...well, that's pretty funny. I'm guessing that, if the Reds were willing to part with Adam Dunn to get Soriano, Dunn would be a Ranger right now.
The Soriano trade was an absolute coup by Jon Daniels, the best move in what was a pretty strong offseason overall. And with each new story coming out of Nationals camp, the trade looks better and better...