Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sori Update

Apparently a decision is forthcoming in the Soriano scenario. He's softened a bit on the issue of playing left field of late, to no one's surprise.

"I'm going to think about it. I'm going to talk it over with my wife and agent," Soriano said. "I want to play, but they have [Jose] Vidro at second base. I will make a decision."

The decision being, does he play left field and earn the $10 million dollars provided in his contract, or does he play the part of a whiny brat, refuse to play, and forfeit not only his eight digit salary, but his chance at free agency come November. By not playing, he would not accumulate service time, thus rendering him an arbitration player again. And there is no way he'll win a $10 million judgement if he sits out this year.

I have little doubt that Soriano will play left field for the Nationals this season. If he were to decide against playing, he would have to bank on a trade, and that's just not a safe option at this point. Remember, if he's on the disqualified list, the Nationals are not obligated to cut him a check. Therefore, GM Jim Bowden will not be as compelled to search out a swapping partner.

However, if Fonsie were to be foolish enough to make his meaningless stand, I would hold on to him until late July. Surely a team will need a second baseman and/or an offensive powerhouse at that point, and Bowden will then be able to wrench away more value. Right now, Sori is leaving a bitter taste in everyone's mouth, and as such his trade value may not be peaked. But come July, Bowden's switchboard should be lighting up.

Hell, even if he does man up and play left field this season, I would still seriously shop him near the deadline. He's a free agent after this year, and surely he'll find a team willing to pay him to play second base. So really, the Nationals are in a decent position at this point. They stand to get maximum value for Soriano at the trade deadline, and even if a trade doesn't go down, they'll net a first round draft pick when they let him walk this off-season.

Update: Yeah, yeah, he's playing left field. I'm sure he had plenty of pressure from his agent and family to do so, as it's the only move that makes sense. I still say he's long gone before July 31st.