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Cubs Sign Alfonso Soriano For $136 Million

Holy... Soriano is a pretty good player, but let's be realistic here - that's it. He's a pretty good player. 2006 was a fantastic season for him, but put up only .808 and .821 OPSes the previous two years while playing in one of baseball's best hitters' parks in Texas. He moved to the outfield last year, and he was so bad in the infield that I can't imagine it would be to any team's benefit to move him back there. Before last year, he had never drawn more than 38 walks in a season. He'll be 31 next year.

Soriano drew 67 walks last year. A lot of that was probably that he was playing in a much worse lineup than the ones in Texas and New York that he'd previously played in - 16 of those walks were intentional, and I'm sure many more were intentionally unintentional. He swings at everything and strikes out all the time, and so, unlike Vladimir Guerrero, Soriano doesn't strike me as the sort of player who can make that approach work so well as he gets older. Among Soriano's list of comparable players at Baseball Reference, only Jeff Kent remained a force to be reckoned with well into his 30s. Most of the rest completely fell apart not long after turning 30. (And that's not just because most players decline in their 30s - compare it to Guerrero's list, which consists of Manny Ramirez, Juan Gonzalez, Jim Rice and seven Hall of Famers.)

This contract is going to be a huge headache for the Cubs, and it's going to be a huge headache very soon. I'm thinking about two or three years. This is an extremely bad idea.

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Yeah, so Cubs GM Jim Hendry just did something colossally damaging and stupid but, as I mentioned yesterday, he still has some pretty stiff competition in the NL Central's Worst GM Competition. Thankfully for Reds fans, Wayne Krivsky doesn't have $136 million to pass out, because if he did, you just know he'd use it to buy Neifi Perez, Felix Rodriguez and Mike Remlinger, and probably also to pay whatever it took to get Jesse Orosco, John Franco and Mario Mendoza out of retirement. Today's pointless acquisition by the Reds is Mike Stanton, a washed-up reliever who really, really shouldn't have been signed to a two-year deal. Krivsky is spending an awful lot of money and energy fixing the Reds' bullpen, but it's 100% obvious that he has no idea how to fix it. The 2007 Reds will be terrible, but they will have the biggest stash of bad relievers and awful middle infielders of any team in the league. Krivsky is becoming even worse than Dave Littlefield about acquiring hordes of mediocre spare parts to provide depth at role player positions.

The Angels, meanwhile, signed Justin Speier to a four-year deal that covers him until he's 36. Speier is a pretty good reliever, but wow. If this is what it takes to get to get deals done, I'm just as happy to have the Pirates stay out of this market and be sellers. The Angels are trying to contend now, so you can at least see why they feel the need to participate, but I have no idea what the Reds think they're doing.