As the Chicago Cubs’ 2012 season limps to a close, players such as Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo have given fans good reason to look forward to the team’s future. If Theo Epstein and the rest of the front office want to maximize that future potential, though, they’ll make every effort to have Alfonso Soriano off the roster by Opening Day 2013.
As ESPN notes, the once-untradeable outfielder is finally far enough along in his exorbitant contract that the Cubs could pick up enough money to convince another team to acquire him. The network speculates that the Rays, Indians, Orioles and Athletics might all have an interest in adding Soriano if the price were right.
Obviously, if the Cubs do absorb a large chunk of Soriano’s contract, there won’t be much financial gain from shipping him out. However, his departure would free up a full-time spot in the outfield that could be used to develop a younger player—or more than one—whose impact on the Cubs’ long-term success would be vastly greater than that of the 36-year-old Soriano.