The Yankees are desperate for offense, and that desperation has led them to a familiar face.
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees are in serious trade talks with the Cubs for the services of Alfonso Soriano. A New York Post report says New York is close to acquiring Soriano for an unnamed mid-level prospect, but Heyman points out that Soriano would have to approve the deal, if an agreement is reached.
Soriano, 37, is owed approximately $25 million through the end of next season. King says the Cubs will pick up most of that, and the money exchange will be structured in such a way that it will have minimal impact on the Yankees' efforts to get under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold in 2014. They did something similar when they acquired Vernon Wells from the Angels in March.
As a 5-and-10 man, Soriano can refuse any trade. Heyman says the trade would probably also need commissioner Bud Selig's approval because of the substantial money that would change hands.
In 92 games this season, Soriano has hit .256/.286/.471 with 17 home runs. He has come on strong after a slow start, hitting 10 of those 17 homers in the last month. Soriano hit .262/.322/.499 (117 OPS+) with 32 homers last year, his best offensive season since 2008. He credits switching to a lighter bat for the increased production.
Coming into Monday's game, the Yankees have gotten a .225/.267/.332 (62 OPS+) batting line from their left fielders and a .212/.297/.362 (80 OPS+) line from their DHs this season. Soriano could step in to fill either role. New York is also hitting .236/.309/.341 (86 OPS+) against left-handers while the righty-hitting Soriano has put up a .287/.320/.522 line against southpaws.
Soriano broke into MLB with the Yankees back in 1999. He hit .284/.322/.502 (114 OPS+) with 98 home runs and 121 steals in parts of five seasons in pinstripes before being traded to the Rangers for Alex Rodriguez in February 2004. Soriano has played for the Nationals as well.
The Cubs are very much in "sell" mode right now. They traded Matt Garza to the Rangers on Monday and have previously moved Scott Feldman and Scott Hairston.