ON SORIANO’S RETURN
Mike Downey writes today about Alfonso Soriano’s return, and about the fans who aren’t exactly thrilled to see him back in the lineup.
“Unbelievable, the short memories some people have. Soriano had a super 2007 season and led the Cubs to their first playoff series since 2003. Yet Soriano alternately has been described in print and on radio as “inconsistent,” “slow-starting,” “disappointing” and a postseason flop.
Do you have any idea how many good things this guy did? He had 80 extra-base hits. He hit 14 home runs in September alone, breaking a Cubs record for that month held by no less than Ernie Banks.
He led off a dozen games with a home run. He hit a ninth-inning home run in the All-Star Game.”
Man, that 9th inning home run in the All-Star Game was so awesome, all the Cubs were like, “Oh man, that’s gonna give us momentum for the 2nd half! I think we are going to go out and win the division. And what’s crazy is I didn’t think that before his last at-bat! World Series here we come! I mean, an All-Star game homer? In the 9th? WHOA!”
Look. Soriano had a good year. But he didn’t lead the Cubs to the playoffs. Was he a big part of why they got there? Most certainly. It’s entirely stupid to not want him back in the lineup, although where exactly he should be hitting should remain up for debate. He was off to a crappy start before he got hurt (.175/.230/.298) and the Cubs are rolling at the plate. Do you plop him right back into the leadoff spot? I don’t know. But even in his “off” year last season he almost made it to .900 OPS. That has value.
But let’s also not lionize the guy either. He has a power bat but is also an out machine. He’s not the best hitter with runners in scoring position. It all lies somewhere in the middle. It’s good he will be back, but he’s not the greatest thing since Tivo.