Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cubs sign Soriano to record deal, still need pitching

The Cubs have signed free-agent outfielder Alfonso Soriano to a record deal worth $17 million per year over the next eight years, pending a physical. The contract means that the former Nationals outfielder, coming off of a 40-40 season, would be a Cub until the end of the 2014, when Soriano would reach the age of 38.

It may be a little excessive, but it's nice to finally see Jim Hendry get off of his ass and get something accomplished. The length of the deal, of course, risks that Soriano might end up in a situation similar to that of Sosa at the end of his Cub career. That, however, is a long way's away; there's no need to worry about that now.

The offense is now solidified with another bona fide bat in the lineup to accompany Lee, Ramirez, and Barrett, but, the pitching, as it always has been from the beginning, is in trouble. This blockbuster deal likely means that the Cubs will not go after a big-name free-agent pitcher such as Zito or Matsuzaka, though rumors of the trade involving Westbrook still exist. One starting pitcher may not be enough, though; the rotation for 2007 as it stands now is Zambrano, Hill, Rusch, Miller, and Marmol/Marshall, as I refuse to consider Wood and Prior as options for the rotation.

Everything else on the team is fixed, except maybe a closer. Go get a couple of competent pitchers, Jim.

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