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[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.

What gives?

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 pray that the Nats don't sign Soriano. He's likely going to return to his .265-33-88 stat-line, certainly not worth $15+ million per year.
I'd much rather use that $14 million to buy to very good (but not great) pitchers, guys who would give the Nats a 50-50 chance of winning when they pitch.

I'm not talking Zito or Schmidt, but rather guys on that lower tier.
forget the $$ ... I don't want Soriano blocking Kory Casto. he's old for a 'AA' player -- he needs to make it to the majors in 2007 or he'll risk being labeled a career minor leaguer
Look at the past. Most of the free agent signings for big bucks turn out to be busts. As I pointed out before, there are plenty of holes in Soriano's game and he's no spring chicken. There is no earthly reason for the rebuilding Nats to get saddled with a huge Soriano salary for the next five years. Just look at all the torture that A-Rod has caused the Rangers and the Yankees. Let Soriano go, spend the money on pitching and let Ryan Church have a shot in left field.
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