With the Tigers being the leading contenders to acquire Alfonso Soriano, the Detroit Free-Press has a piece on how things are stacking up:
The Nationals recently asked for prospects Humberto Sanchez, Jair Jurrjens and Cameron Maybin in exchange for Soriano -- an outrageous demand. The Tigers countered with their own three-man offer, of unknown composition. The Nationals were not enthused.
That is where matters stand with 10 shopping days left before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Several days ago, it seemed possible that Soriano would become a Tiger this week. Now, it seems Detroit will have to wait until the final 72 hours before the trade deadline -- if a deal takes place at all.
In the meantime, Detroit president and general manager Dave Dombrowski and his Washington counterpart, the always eager-to-deal Jim Bowden, will engage in a bout of baseball brinksmanship.
Dombrowski knows that Bowden's recent acquisitions of the arbitration-eligible Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez suggest the Nationals will not have enough money to re-sign Soriano. Dombrowski also is aware that his organization's greatest strength -- pitching -- matches with Bowden's greatest need.
Bowden, meanwhile, knows Dombrowski needs a bat, and that Soriano, who hits right-handed, stands alone atop Detroit's wish list. Because Abreu is not in consideration, and Aubrey Huff already has been traded from Tampa Bay to Houston, the Tigers' next-best options would come from the likes of Pittsburgh's Sean Casey, Kansas City's Matt Stairs, Philadelphia's David Dellucci or other veterans. No one from that group, however, compares to the dynamic Soriano, in whom five teams have interest: the Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners.
Both L.A. teams are on the fringe. They have the prospects necessary to execute a deal -- Baseball America rated the Dodgers first, and the Angels third, in this year's talent rankings -- but their willingness to trade is unclear. Angels GM Bill Stoneman is reluctant to trade, and the Dodgers' greatest need is for pitching, not hitting.
Meanwhile, Seattle's interest has faded, given Bowden's price. The Nationals asked for Adam Jones, Seattle's 20-year-old starting centerfielder, along with Double-A pitchers Stephen Kahn and Eric O'Flaherty. The Mariners, though, need to nurture their minor league pitching and would be reluctant to trade Jones.
That could leave the Tigers and Yankees as the chief contenders -- because, according to Newsday, New York owner George Steinbrenner also prefers Soriano over Abreu. Soriano broke in with the Yankees.
For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over what Washington may get for Soriano, I just don't see that they are going to get the huge haul some folks seem to expect...