BREAKING NEWS: I AM ALFONSO SORIANO'S LONG LOST COUSIN


An early look at the Cubs' jersey redesign

Cousins don't shake hands; cousins gotta give their long-lost cousins lotsa money. And, if reports originating from Chicago's flagship radio station are to be believed, my cousin is about to become exceedingly nouveau rich. Share, Fonzie, share. Family first.

Eight years, one hundred thirty-six million dollars.

Truth be told, I'm glad for Soriano. The guy became free at precisely the right time, and when a player becomes free, he has every right to pursue his self-interest. Assuming this story is accurate---and assuming Soriano passes what in a rational world should not be a perfunctory physical---he's about to make serious bank at a time when the bank became really serious.

On the other hand, I suppose it's a bad day for the Nats. The Cubs were the only team with hots for teh Soriano whose wooing wouldn't particularly help the Nats. Their first-round pick is protected, because they stunk last season. The Astros, Phillies, Angels, and several others: they didn't stink. But the Cubs did---and I suppose stinky teams don't get penalized for throwing around money.

Well, there were the Orioles . . . nah. Who actually believed they were going to sign Soriano?

* * * *

At any rate, it looks like the Soriano Era has reached its conclusion. There were a few thrilling moments here and there. Quite a few, of course. Beyond that, as a functional matter, the Nats got Type A compensation for Brad Wilkerson---a year early, and it's unlikely Wilkerson would be a Type A in a year, anyway. The Nats paid some money for the exchange, and they got unlucky in the payoff, but sometimes life is a bit more fun when you splurge for entertainment, and you can't often control fate when it's out of your hands.

And no, I'm not going to revisit the decision not to trade Soriano at the deadline. What's done is done, and I have little confidence in the varying reports that circulated madly at that time. We had blowhards like Bowden, attorneys like Kasten, journalists, and citizen-journalists, and insiders, and outsiders who used to be far outsiders but who now seem to like being sort-of-insiders but who still enjoy the outsider street-cred, and . . . at the end of the day, I have no idea what precisely was offered for Soriano. Oh well.

Bye, Fonzie. It's been great.

* * * *

Life moves on, and so does Soriano. Bleed Cubbie Blue is around to greet him, and perhaps we can file the initial reaction under "T.C.O.B.":

Well, well, well. For all of you who constantly complained that the Cubs never signed a top-tier, big-name free agent, now they have done so.

Is he the RIGHT guy for the slot that needs to be filled? Clearly, he has been signed to lead off and play center field, a position he has never before played. It will be a learning curve for him, but there's spring training to work on that -- and you can bet that at that sort of money, he won't be refusing to play a position, as he did briefly last year with the Nationals.

. . . Yes, by year 6 or 7 or 8 of this deal, it'll look like an albatross. But if the Cubs really can shore up the starting pitching, suddenly they have three major power threats (Lee, Ramirez, Soriano) and one minor one (Barrett, if he's not dealt). The lineup's far better than it was a year ago.

And that's that. I suppose I'll turn around with one of those long, windy, reflective pieces at some point. But for now, I'll leave it at this: Watch out for that ivory, cousin. And send money.

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