Not too long ago, the answer to that question would be easy. A resounding “NO!”. Too much money, too old, bad attitude, lousy fielder and he is a strikeout waiting to happen. Physical prowess be damned, he just has too much baggage. Then again, not too long ago, I would have scoffed at the idea of signing Derrek Lee<you could probably link to your post about Lee here> to the team. My, how things have changed.
At the very least, it should be considered. I’ll admit, I am very conflicted about the idea. There is a lot to consider (disclaimer: These are all hypothetical, pie in the sky type stuff. I’m just laying out some possible scenarios.)
- He addresses a major weakness on the team. Power. As I write this the Mets are 11th in slugging and 13th in home runs. The fact that they were 4th (and presently 6th) in runs scored in the NL was a minor miracle. They took advantage of that crazy high team OBP with some timely hitting and small ball. The problem is, small ball doesn’t win long term. You need real power in the heart of the line up and the guys the Mets expected to supply that have failed miserably so far (although, Duda looks like he’s on track now). Unless Ike Davis starts on a 30 home run pace tomorrow, they need to bring in someone from the outside. And if we start seeing some real power in the lineup and the Mets start plating more runs earlier in games, we’ll have less bullpen inspired agita. A healthy Soriano is good for 25-30 HR (he already has 12) and a .500 slugging.
- He’d be relatively cheap. Since taking over the Cubs, Theo Epstein has been trying to get rid of all the long term big money deals. He traded away Carlos Zambrano along with $15.5 million of the money guaranteed to Big Z to the Marlins for essentially a warm body. His age and health questions would also drive the asking price down. If the Cubs eat half the money owed on Soriano and take Bay straight up, I’d jump on that. If they ate almost all of it and took a B prospect, I’d be open to it.
- He’s right handed. After David Wright, our next best right handed hitter is Scott Hairston. That is bad on a lot of levels. Also, while Wright has seen a boost in overall production this year, he’s not a 30 home run type hitter. Alfonso is. And, you don’t have to worry about his splits because his numbers stay consistent throughout. We need someone to break up our parade of lefties because all it takes is one LOOGY to kill our offense.
- His attitude problems. It is no secret that he wore out his welcome on 3 different teams. And this was while he was a legit 30/30 player. Granted, there hasn’t been a lot of noise about him specifically, but that could simply be that a prima donna is not that interesting a story when Carlos Zambrano’s drama is playing out on the same train wreck of a team. Do we really want a guy like him on a team that is built around guys hustling and putting their bodies on the line? What happens if he snubs Terry Collins or he loafs on a fly ball?
- His defense is still lousy. Yes, so far this season, he has a 1.000 fielding percentage. But that is going to change. Also, he plays in a smaller park. Playing Citi Field is far different from playing Wrigley. The Mets are already weak on defense. Do they need to risk becoming weaker? For all his trouble at the plate, Jason Bay has played a solid left field. At the very least, he’s exceeded expectations there.
- His contract is huge. The rumors are that Epstein is willing to eat a big chunk of his remaining money, but no one has an exact number. He is signed through 2014 at $18 million per year. That means he is still owed over $40 million. Zambrano only had 1 guranteed year left at $19 million. That is a huge difference. Epstein probably won’t eat $40 million just to open up a roster spot. He’s going to want some actual talent coming back. The 2 ½ year commitment will assuage that somewhat, but it is still a lot of money.
- He is old and has health problems. This is kind of a double edge sword. He is 36 this year and hasn’t played 150 games since 2006. It is a given that he is going to have some kind of surgery on his knee after the season. He said outright that at the very least, it will be exploratory. There is a real chance it will be full on arthroscopic. This is the same knee that had season ending surgery in 2009. He’d be lucky to give a team 130 games a year after that. This will drive the asking price down for sure, but you are still getting an old and injured player.
Those I think are the major arguments. The cons outnumber the pros, but I think each individual pro outweighs each individual con. So, it is probably a wash. I think the deciding factor will be if Alderson truly believes this team can compete right now. And I don’t mean win 88 games, scratch their way to a Wild Card spot, and get bounced immediately. A move like this isn’t to try making the playoffs. A move like this is about gunning for the World Series. It is very much a win now move. Alfonso Soriano isn’t going to help a team of young guys win 2 or 3 years from now. He’s going to put a winning team over the top this year.
This Fan Shot was submitted by MMO reader, Donal. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over ten-thousand Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com. Or ask about being a regular contributor, and share your opinions with an engaging community that loves to debate.