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"Rumors from a guy . . . "

Isn't that what every "rumor" is? Just some stuff from some "guy"? Anyway, here's a peak at the mailbag, highlighted by a highly-connected layman:

Hey, I heard rumors from a guy who actually works in a high position at Jacobs Field, and he said the Indians are interested in Alfonso Soriano of the Nationals. Do you actually think we can land a power bat and a base-stealer like him? -- Mike M., Parma, Ohio

Golly, Mike, that's quite a scoop you got yourself there. And from some guy who works "in a high position" for the Tribe? Gold.

For posterity, here's what the beat writer thought of this nugget:

What high position would that be, Mike? Is he the guy who replaces burned-out bulbs in the light towers? You have to get pretty high up to do that.

Anyway, I can't think of very many teams that wouldn't love to have Soriano on their roster in some capacity. But I stand by my assertion that the Indians won't have the budget. He would be a productive bat in the Tribe's lineup, but, defensively, he wouldn't be the answer to the Tribe's troubles at second base.

But I'm pretty sure jealousy motivates this beat writer. He got scooped!

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Angels-watchers are interested in Soriano, too:

With the Angels seriously in need of a bat and general manager Bill Stoneman not known for trading young players, do you think the Angels might pursue Alfonso Soriano to play second base and move Howie Kendrick to third? -- Vijay R., Cerritos, Calif.

Soriano certainly would be an answer at second base, and if the Angels were to sign the free agent, that would create some new options. One choice could be to leave him in the outfield with center field being a possibility. Soriano reluctantly moved to left field when he was dealt to the Nationals but was better there than expected and it didn't seem to affect his offensive numbers at all.

Consider me mystified by this Soriano-to-second talk. He was moved off the keystone this past season because almost everyone on the planet agreed he stunk there; in fact, I recall some Mongolian sabermetrician doing something with linear weights about that. Anyway, there is the matter of whether Soriano would insist on going back to second, but he voted against left field before he voted for it. Indications are, the reporters report, Soriano is just fine in left.

How about the Cubs? They interested? The reporter notes the Cubbies have a history reeling in the big fish:

I've been reading about how the Tribune Co. is planning on beefing up the payroll by trying to make a few big offseason moves. Some of the names I'm hearing are A-Rod, Carlos Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Jason Schmidt and even Ichiro Suzuki. I'd like to know our realistic chances of landing a name like Ichiro or Soriano, and what it would take from the Cubs to get a player like that. -- Jeff C., Aurora, Ill.

Hendry says that he'll get an increase in payroll, he just doesn't know how much. It may depend on the players. The Cubs have some holes -- they need starting pitching and another good hitter. Piniella, his staff, the scouts, and the player development and baseball operations people will gather on Nov. 6 for their organization meetings to figure out who they want to focus on this offseason. Last year they targeted Scott Eyre and Bob Howry, and got both.

Wait a minute: Eyre and Howry? Both? Damn.

Snark aside, I think the Cubs have a good shot here. And no, I'm not basing that impression on something some guy high up in the Cubs' organization told me.

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Finally, let's take a glimpse at why the Toronto Sun gave its readers a voice.


The first response was from a guy who sensibly asked, "What? How?" The second response was from a true dreamer:

[T]he better choice if Ted Rogers frees up that kind of money is free agent Alfonso Soriano, he of the 40 homer, 40 steals and 40 doubles last season. Add in another $14 million for Vernon Wells and $10 million for Barry Zito and the Jays can start printing next year's World Series tickets.

That's one hell of a fantasy team. The only thing missing?

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[Hat tip to the Yudites on a couple of these finds.]