Rethink Soriano ?
Over the past two years, there have been numerous rumors bandied about regarding the Mets and Alfonso Soriano. Half the rumors said the Mets were after him, the other half said they didn’t want any part of him, because of his questionable attitude, poor fielding, propensity to strikeout, etc., etc.
Now that he’s on the open market, the Mets have been ice cold — not even a whisper of interest has been leaked from the front office. Columnists, bloggers, and blogging commentors are split on Soriano’s value, with the majority feeling that he isn’t worth the money.
However, the Phillies have made it clear they will aggressively pursue Soriano, beginning this weekend. His presence would give the Phils a lineup that includes Ryan Howard, Soriano, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins — a powerful group that compares favorably to the Mets’ returnees. All by himself, Soriano could be the difference-maker — much the same way Carlos Delgado was key to the Mets’ success in 2006.
So let’s try this again … are the Mets interested in Alfonso Soriano? If not, shouldn’t we rethink the idea?
It’s kind of like being in high school and thinking about asking a girl out. You think you like her, she’s pretty, but maybe those braces are a turnoff. And you’re not sure you like the way she’s always flipping her hair, and chewing gum with her mouth open. But then you hear some other guy is about to ask her to the dance, and suddenly she becomes all the more interesting … in fact now you’re certain you want to date her, and just what were you thinking before?
The Mets wouldn’t mind seeing Soriano re-sign with the Nationals. They wouldn’t mind seeing him go to the American League. The Cubs would be a great place for him to go. But the Phillies? The NL East?
For all the people who don’t want Alfonso Soriano in a Met uniform because of his supposed selfishness, poor defense, and high strikeout rate, I ask you: would you rather see him in a Phillies uniform? Will you be satisfied with Adam Kennedy at 2B, batting .260, and Lastings Milledge hitting 12 HRs in left field, while Soriano is on his way to hitting 50 or 60 homeruns, 45 doubles, stealing 40 bases, and combining with Ryan Howard to be the most fearsome 1-2 punch outside of Fenway? All of a sudden those 150+ strikeouts don’t seem so terrible. And the poor defense has become arguably acceptable. The selfishness doesn’t exist, because the Phillies will be winning — selfish people are usually only noticed on losing teams.
I don’t know that Alfonso Soriano is worth the “Carlos Beltran-type money” he’s looking for, but he is certainly a valuable and expensive talent. The Phils have already hinted that they will offer an $80M, 5-year contract (though without a no-trade clause), and those numbers might already price the Mets out of the running. However, they might not have to … consider that:
1. Soriano has been pining to return to his “home” in New York City ever since he left the Yankees.
2. The Mets could offer him the no-trade clause in lieu of more money.
3. Soriano could be promised the starting second base job.
4. With Soriano in the lineup, the Mets are more or less a lock to compete for the postseason.
5. Soriano could be reunited with former coach Willie Randolph, a man he respects.
6. Soriano could return to the world’s biggest stage, New York. Whatever he gives up in baseball contract dollars, he could easily make up for in endorsements and future business connections.
All of the above are important issues to Soriano that the Phillies cannot offer. True enough, it’s almost always about money, and history indicates that Soriano is all about the dollars. But if the Mets lose the D-Mat sweepstakes, do not go after Barry Zito, and can’t trade for or sign a big bopper to play left field, they might kick themselves for not at least considering Soriano, and finding out if he would come down on his price in return for possibly more favorable issues. You never know until you ask.
Would it be so bad to have a 40-40 guy starting at second base for the next 3-4 years? Or do we really think Ruben Gotay and Anderson Hernandez are the future at the keystone?