The Cubs have signed Alfonso Soriano, who is considered the most desirable free agent on the market, to a 8 year 136 million dollar contract. Here is where I state the obvious. The Cubs just spent a lot of money on Alfonso Soriano. Soriano, who turns 31 before the 2007 season, will become the highest paid Cub in franchise history. He will also have received the 5th highest package deal in MLB history when all is said and done.
The length of this deal is what concerns me most. Soriano is a free swinger without much plate discipline and you have to figure that as he ages and his bat speed starts to slip he’s going to be in trouble. He has averaged 141 K’s per season with 38 walks. True, Soriano did walk the most in his career in 2006, walking 67 times, but of those 67 walks 16 were intentional.
The other frustrating part of this deal is that the Cubs will most likely use Soriano at leadoff because “he likes hitting leadoff”. Crazy Lou also seems to echo this sentiment. He’s quoted as saying
“He likes the leadoff spot and there is none better,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said in an interview with WGN Radio. He called Soriano “a young man who can get on base and steal some bases and hit the ball for extra base power and hit it for a homer. We are talking about the best leadoff hitter in all of baseball.”
Sorry Lou, Soriano is not the best leadoff hitter in baseball. I know you want to pump up your new players ego but calling Soriano the best leadoff hitter in the game is just ridiculous. Even though he posted a career best .351 OBP he also struck out 160 times in 2006. A leadoff hitter that strikes out 140+ in a season is brutal. I would much rather see the Cubs sign a high OBP guy to leadoff and shuffle Soriano down to the 3-4-5 slot.
Many people are calling this the worst contract ever. Even though this contract is slightly ridiculous I don’t think I can call it the worst contract ever. Have we forgotten these long lost deals?
December 9th, 2000 – Mike Hampton signs a 8 year 121 million dollar deal to call Colorado his home. The Rockies desperate for pitching overpay for Hampton’s services. Hampton only plays in Colorado for two years until hes moved to the Marlins, and then to the Braves. Career Rockies record? 22-25 with a 5.78 ERA.
- Darren Dreifort signs a 5 year 55 million dollar deal with the Dodgers. This contract is notorious for being dubbed “The Worst Contract in Major League Baseball History”. Dreifort who had a history of arm trouble gets injured in the first year of the deal and undergoes surgery that causes him to miss 1.5 years. He never becomes fully healthy, pitching sporadically before he retires in 2006. End result? He tosses 205.2 innings over 5 years. Thats $267,431.68 per inning. Ouch.
Mikes Baseball Rants has a great article on the worst contracts in baseball history. Not surprising, Mr. Dreifort comes in a number #1. The signing of Soriano really sets the tone now for the remaining FA outfielders and I pity the team that over pays for Carlos Lee.