Ken Rosenthal of MLB on FOX has reported that the Toronto Blue Jays have been in contact with OF/DH Alfonso Soriano. The seven time All-Star was designated for assignment by the New York Yankees on July 6th, and recently given his release. Now 38, Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays may be looking to give Alfonso Soriano one final chance in efforts of strengthening their team’s hitting against left-handed pitching.
Sources :#BlueJays checked on Alfonso Soriano. Encarnacion, Lind, Lawrie still on DL. Soriano said to be mulling his options.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 17, 2014
Reports have circulated that Alfonso Soriano has considered retirement since his release, but he may be tempted back by an opportunity to make a playoff run as a key piece of a lineup playing in a hitter-friendly ball park. Despite his age and poor play as a Yankee in 2014, Soriano is the owner of 412 career home runs, and posted 30 HR + 100 RBI seasons as recently as 2012 and 2013.
If Soriano were to join the Blue Jays, I would be most comfortable with him in a DH role while taking a spot in the corner outfield should Jose Bautista or Melky Cabrera require a days rest (or a shift to CF). However, Soriano’s defence should be the one of the last reasons he is brought in to the fold.
In 2014, Alfonso Soriano’s batting average and power numbers dropped well below his career averages, further exposing his traditionally low OBP.
What should intrigue Blue Jays fans to this possibility are Alfonso Soriano’s numbers facing left-handed pitching. Soriano has slashed career lines of .278 / .343 / .516 against southpaws. This could land Soriano in a platoon DH role with Adam Lind upon his return from the DL. Another option, if John Gibbons feels like a gambling man, would be to place Alfonso Soriano in RF while sliding Jose Bautista into CF in search of some extra pop against a tough LH starter. The idea of Soriano seeing the field on defence on a regular basis, however, isn’t one that I am overly confident in.
If the Blue Jays can get the Alfonso Soriano of last season, then this would be a step forward for Toronto offensively. With his struggles this season, though, perhaps this would result in yet another step sideways by GM Alex Anthopoulos. I also believe that if Anthopoulos continues with moves such as Alfonso Soriano, that may signal he is not close to adding a bat through trade.
I’ll approach this move much like I have approached the majority of the Blue Jays recent moves: If it works, fantastic. If not, then only money has been lost. I would like to see the addition, but I still do not feel that the Blue Jays can afford to have this qualify as their “big” move of the trade deadline season.