November 20, 2006

Alfonso Soriano

Hendry lands top free agent as Soriano agrees in principle to 8-year, $136M deal.
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry has reeled in the biggest fish in baseball's free-agent pond at an unprecedented total price tag for the franchise.

Alfonso Soriano, who was expected to get offers from a host of teams, has agreed in principle to a multiyear contract worth a potential $136 million over eight seasons. The deal would make Soriano, 30, the second-highest-paid player in team history and one of the highest-paid in baseball.

An average annual salary of $17 million would come close to the four-year, $72 million contract ($18 million average) that the Cubs gave Sammy Sosa in 2001. And it would exceed the five-year, $73 million package given last week to third baseman Aramis Ramirez and the five-year, $65 million package given last season to first baseman Derrek Lee. Soriano made $10 million last season.
Jay Mariotti
I really don't care if Alfonso Soriano turns 31 in a few weeks, which might make him 35 in Latin years and 43 when his contract expires. Nor do I care that the next owners of the Cubs, whoever they are, might reach for vomit bags upon hearing the Tribune Co. paid a dry-heave-inducing $136 million for one ballplayer.

What I care about is that the unlovable losers, for once in their lives, identified the player of their dreams and didn't finish second, third, fifth or 10th in the bidding war. Heavens to Jim Spendry, they threw a stunning sum of money at baseball's most unique everyday weapon and actually won the prize, meaning the 40-40-40 man will be slugging his home runs, stealing his bases and swatting his doubles from the leadoff hole at a suddenly more beautiful Wrigley Field.


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