Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano’s trade to the New York Yankees was finalized Friday, according to multiple reports , and he rejoins the team he began his MLB career with back in 1999.
Of the estimated $24.5 million Soriano is owed through the end of next season, the Cubs are going to pick up about $17.7 million and the Yankees will cover the remaining $6.8 million, sources said. Soriano is scheduled to make $18 million next season, $5 million of which will be paid by the Yankees, the sources said.
Major League Baseball had to approve the dollar exchange for the trade to go through. The Cubs will get Class A pitcher Corey Black from the Yankees, sources told ESPN’s Jim Bowden.
Soriano, 37, began his career with the Yankees -- playing for them from 1999-2003 -- and will have some familiar faces waiting for him now that he’s returning to the Bronx.
The 37-year-old Soriano made his MLB debut in 1999 with the Yankees and played there until 2003. He was included in the trade to the Texas Rangers that brought Alex Rodriguez to New York in 2004. Soriano said he was sad to leave Chicago but looking forward to returning to New York.
“I don’t know what the Cubs get, but I’m happy and think they are happy, too,” said Soriano, who spent almost seven full seasons with the Cubs. “They are getting something back and I am happy going back to New York, where I started my career.”
“The thing that was more difficult for me was leaving my teammates, my family,” the outfielder added. “It’s baseball and you have to do what is best for the team and me. I have been traded before and I know what happens. Now I have to keep moving and do my job in New York.”
“I’ve changed a lot,” Soriano said. “I have a lot of memories with the Yankees, and how those players treated me and how they treated people, and that’s what I took with me. Now, I go back, and it makes me more excited because I’ve learned a lot about baseball, and I learned a lot personally.
“Those veteran guys like Mariano, [Derek] Jeter, Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Bernie, those guys helped me a lot,” he said. “I used to be a rookie, and those guys treated me very well, like a professional, and that’s what I learned, and that’s what I tried to give wherever I go.”
This season, Soriano is batting .254 with 17 home runs and 51 RBIs. He has hit eight home runs and 16 RBIs in July alone. The Yankees, on the other hand, have hit seven home runs in July as a team. And with injuries and the ongoing Alex Rodriguez scandal, the Yankees are eager to welcome Soriano’s contributions.
The power-depleted Yankees are getting a long-ball boost in Soriano, who has hit 17 homers this season. He hit 32 last year. As a team the Yankees have seven homers in July (tied for the worst in baseball), while Soriano himself has eight (tied for the most in baseball).
With Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira out of the lineup for most of the season — and A-Rod doing A-Rod things — the Yanks have depended on Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner for power. That worked out OK earlier in the season, but Wells hasn’t homered since May 15 and Hafner, second on the team in homers behind Robinson Cano, has two since June 16.
It was an emotional farewell for Soriano before he left for New York.
“He couldn’t get much out, it was short and sweet,” Darwin Barney said of [Soriano’s] goodbye. “There’s not much that needs to be said. Everybody knows the kind of influence he has on the young guys here and the kind of influence he’s always had. He’s always been a leader, even though he never tells anybody what to do. He never says much in that kind of regard, where a leader would, but he definitely was the leader of this ballclub. It’s going to be tough.”. . .
It was difficult for Soriano to address his teammates.
“It’s very tough because they are good friends, they are good people,” he said. “It’s sad. That’s the difficult part when you get traded. You can be in touch, but it’s not the same as when you see them face to face, all the moments we had together. Now I have to think about my new team.”