[October 13th] -- Jose Rijo says that the Nationals offered Alfonso Soriano a five year, $70 million dollar contract. Jose Rijo says that the star outfielder flat turned down the Nationals offer. Jose Rijo says that he doesn't how the Nationals will ever be able to re-sign Soriano. Enter Stan Kasten, who "questions" that Soriano turned anything down. Now Jose Rijo says that he was misquoted, and that he said nothing about either Soriano turning down the Nats' offer, or the team having little chance of retaining him.
I have no idea. Kasten is showing himself to be very secretive in all of his dealings, so who really knows if Soriano has even been tendered an offer yet. All we can do is watch and wait.
Some say that the $14 million/year contract was carefully calculated as the highest dollar amount that the team knew Soriano wouldn't take. Then, the Nationals can say, "Hey, we tried," and spend that money on pitching. Others say that it was a good faith offer, and that the team will up the ante a few more times before going in another direction.
Either way, I hope that the Nationals don't re-sign Soriano. If he signs elsewhere, we'd likely see Ryan Church or Kory Casto, perhaps even Jose Guillen, in left. Let's assume it's Church. Based on his first two seasons in the major leagues, Church, if given 550 at bats, will hit 30 homers, drive in 100 RBI's, and steal close to 30 bases. He'll make about $400,000 next year. Soriano, then, would hit 5-10 more homers than Church, drive in the same number of runs, and steal a dozen or so more bases. Does it make sense, then, to pay an additional $14.5 million dollars to get a half-dozen or so more homers? I don't think so. Put Church in left, and use that $14 million to sign two very good pitchers.
That would be the makings of a pretty good "transitional" team. Wouldn't it?
I'm not talking Zito or Schmidt, but rather guys on that lower tier.