Currently, new Cubs manager Lou Piniella is in the market for a downtown Chicago condo and he says he doesn’t want to spend too much. “A realtor called and says, ‘You know, we’ve got a place you would really like. It’s Oprah’s building,’” Piniella recalled.
”I said, ‘My name is Piniella, not Soriano.”’ Ha. Good one, Lou. Because, Soriano has hundreds of millions and you’ve only got tens of millions.
Apparently, Piniella is a realist when it comes to real estate. But when it comes to building an outfield, he likes to play it fast and loose. The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the Cubs are on the verge of signing Cliff Floyd to serve as the team’s fourth outfielder. Alfonso Soriano, meanwhile, has agreed to play centerfield.
From the Sun-Times:
The Floyd deal, which might be completed this week, has been in the works since the winter meetings, but the Cubs weren’t sure whether they would add Floyd or a veteran center fielder to hold down the fort until prospect Felix Pie is ready at midseason. Floyd, a former Thornwood star, is expected to serve as a fourth outfielder, giving left fielder Matt Murton and right fielder Jacque Jones regular rest. The lefty-hitting Floyd, 34, batted .244 with 11 home runs and 44 RBI in 97 games last season for the New York Mets. The Cubs began reviewing his medical records last month.
If you’re a Cubs fan, you probably felt a little intoxicated when the team’s owners started throwing money around this winter like it was confetti. But the prospect of an outfield that will contain not only an inexperienced Soriano in center but an inevitably-hobbled Floyd in left has to be a little sobering. Personally, I think this has the potential to be the worst outfield ever assembled. But I may be overstating it a bit.
One thing I’m sure of: if I had just invested over one hundred million dollars in a player, I sure as heck wouldn’t ask him to play a position that he wasn’t equipped to play, thereby increasing the chances that he might get hurt. Just last week, Piniella was talking about using utility infielder Ryan Theriot in center. I think that might be a better idea. Theriot, 27, hit .328 and had a .412 on-base percentage in 53 games with the Cubs last season. So he can swing the stick.
”Theriot is an athlete,” Piniella said. ”It’s not far-fetched to think that in spring training, that we can test the waters a little bit there. [Theriot] has played a little bit there.”
Eventually, top prospect Felix Pie will become Chicago’s centerfielder. He may even win the job in spring training. But for now, it looks like Soriano will get the nod. Cubs fans, you may now collectively hold your breath.