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Cubs Overpay for Soriano and DeRosa
Posted by Chris Liss at 11/21/2006 9:17:00 AM
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The Cubs just signed two guys coming off of career years. DeRosa's basically just a utility guy who got at-bats and saw some hits fall in. Soriano upped his walk rate, and became a good, but not great hitter (.277/.351/.560 is good, but not great for a corner outfielder). And the Cubs give him an eight-year, $136 million deal at age 30? Best case scenario, Soriano stays as good as he was last year through the duration of the deal - (highly unlikely) - even then the team's only getting market value. When your best, unrealistic hope is to merely get fair market value on an eight-year deal for a player in his 30s, that's a horrible signing.

Jim Hendry did a good job spotting talent as the head of their minor league system, but he's made some stupid signings (Dempster, Howry, Eyre, DeRosa, Soriano) as GM.


I believe that the Cubs will try to play Soriano in CF, which makes his batting stats much better for his position.

Still, having never played CF, it seems like a bit of a stretch to throw him out there. Guaranteeing six years, and giving a no trade clause, to a guy who turns 31 in January also seems very shortsighted. The Cubs are like that guy in your fantasy league who always picks up the "hot" free agent who had a great week last week, not caring if the guy is really any good or not.

In the end though, adding Soriano over Pierre does give them a better lineup than last season. Even playing DeRosa over Cedeno at second base makes their lineup better. The real problem for the Cubs is going to be their starting pitching, where they are counting on guys like Neal Cotts and Wade Miller to fill out the rotation.
Posted by herbilk at 11/21/2006 9:38:00 AM
DeRosa might be better than Cedeno, though Cedeno figures to get better as he ages, while DeRosa's already past his peak. And Ryan Theriot played well in September, too. You can't spend money on utility types - you grow DeRosas in-house, you never sign them after they've had their best year. It's true Soriano's value goes up if he can play an adequate centerfield, but even then he's at market value if he repeats last year, and I'd hate to see what this deal looks like five years from now if I were a Cubs fan.
Posted by cliss at 11/21/2006 9:55:00 AM
i certainly agree that the cubs overpayed for soriano, that he might not be a superstar slugger (but, didn't he hit 46 HRs in a pitcher's park last year?), that it's crazy to have committed $17 million to age-38-soriano, and that pitching would have been a much better place for the cubs to throw that $136 million. but, i don't understand your logic in saying that the signing is horrible because the cubs' best hope is to get fair market value out of the contract. isn't that management's hope in any contract?
Posted by claskowski at 11/21/2006 9:57:00 AM
It's the cubs.

'nuff said . . .
Posted by legatea at 11/21/2006 10:27:00 AM
Not that these's prices are justified, but I'd hold off a bit in judging these deals until you can compare them to the rest of the 2007 free agent class.

With the baseball labor deal locked up for five years, the teams are spending wild and it's almost as if there's a new currency rate this offseason. They are flush with cash. So these deals may not look as crazy after Zito and others sign.
Posted by schoenke at 11/21/2006 10:37:00 AM
I have to agree with Peter on that point and extend it a year or two as I believe baseball is on another economic upslope. As to a 38-year-old outfielder? He's in pretty good shape right now, freakishly so, and there worse bets out there, so I dunno. Asset investment in a futures market is a pretty tough gig. Somebody at ESPN wrote one win for $17 mil, and I believe that's both a little lean and an underestimate of what the market will bear into 2009.
Posted by arwen at 11/21/2006 4:24:00 PM
I agree that there will come a time when the Cubs really regret that they threw so much money at Soriano...

...yet I think what Hendry and the rest are really hoping is that the Cubs win a World Series in the next eight years (preferably 2008, the 100-year anniversary of the *last* World Series on the north side). One World Series. That's all it will take to make it all worth it. Can you imagine what Chicago, ESPN, and the rest of the baseball world will be like if the Cubs sniff the World Series? It will all be worth it.

In 2012, when Soriano is hitting .240 with 16 HR and 5 SB and getting $17 million, Hendry (who will probably be long gone by then) will still smile and say it was all worth it.

Then again, this is the Cubs. It'll never happen.
Posted by kennruby at 11/21/2006 7:17:00 PM
What difference does it make? There is no crying and no salary cap in baseball.

Chris, if this was the Yankees would you be criticizing them? Not likely simply because... its the Yankees! Overpaying for players and paying the luxury tax is what they do. For some reason this makes Steinbrenner a great owner, but it's irresponsible for the Cubs?

If the Cubs have decide to become more like the Yankees and utilize their lucrative TV contract to fund overpayments of players more power to them. Why should the Yankees have all the fun?
Posted by Itchalot at 11/24/2006 8:21:00 AM
You have to look at the market in order to judge the Soriano signing. Todd Helton gets an eight year deal in 03, for 141.5 million. This year Carlos Lee gets 100 million for five. Not to mention Griffey, Kevin Brown, and Mike Hamptons hugely inflated contracts. In this day and age you have to overpay for talent. The Cubs have been paying Kerry Wood alot of money for a long time, and not getting the results. At the very least the Tribune Co. is finally spending more money instead of trying to talk up players like Corey Patterson, He Sop Choi, and whichever second baseman from the farm system is the flavor of the month.
Posted by ckruse at 12/14/2006 6:47:00 AM
To support Chris here, he has criticized his Yankees *often* when it comes to superfluous signings.
Posted by Erickson at 12/17/2006 8:27:00 PM

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