In a salary-shedding maneuver, the Cubs traded Alfonso Soriano to the Yankees, returning him to the organization where he first gained national prominence as a power-hitting second baseman more than a decade ago. These days he’s a 37-year-old left fielder who sports a .302 on-base percentage since 2011. Soriano can still hit for power, though, and with eight home runs this month, he had one-upped on the entire Yankees offense in July. He waived his no-trade clause to join New York and has one year remaining on the generous eight-year, $136 million pact he signed with the Cubs prior to the 2007 season.
The Cubs, who earlier this month traded Scott Feldman, Matt Garza and Scott Hairston, acquire 21-year-old righthander Corey Black in the Soriano exchange. From Chicago’s perspective, this deal was all about saving money and creating roster space for younger players, with ESPN’s Buster Olney reporting that they included enough cash in the deal to cover all but $6.8 million of the money owed Soriano through 2014.
Corey Black, rhp
Career Transactions: Selected by Yankees in fourth round of 2012 draft; signed June 16, 2012
Black features one of the best arms from the Yankees’ 2012 draft class, and he jumped to high Class A at the outset of the 2013 season. He sits 93-95 mph with sink and can reach 100 in short outings, though with below-average control he left the Florida State League ranked second in both strikeouts (88) and walks (45). Black has solid secondary weapons in a changeup and mid-80s slider, but given his wildness and size (he’s listed at 5-foot-11), his best path to the big leagues may be in the bullpen.
Alfonso Soriano, lf
Age: 37 Bats: R
Remaining Commitment: Prorated portion of $18 million salary for 2013, then $18 million for 2014. Details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
Among American League teams, only the Royals (65) have hit fewer home runs than the Yankees (88) this season. Soriano’s acquisition, coupled with the return of Curtis Granderson at some point, ought to move New York up a few pegs. He ranks seventh among big league corner outfielders in homers (99) and 10th in isolated power (.230) since the start of the 2010 season, though much like emergency spring trade target Vernon Well, Soriano has seen his platoon split widen in the past four seasons, during which time he’s hit .247/.296/.473 versus righties.