Idea: Over-Under on Alfonso Soriano
There was great elation when Alfonso Soriano signed an eight-year, $136 million contract back in 2007. We Cubs fans thought we had a guy that could hit 50 homeruns from the leadoff spot, steal 20 bases, and man center for years to come. Heck, we thought we had Willie Mays in the 21st century.
Well, three years later, I have come to accept that we have a mixed bag in Fonsie. Every spring he comes into camp and I wonder what he will do. This season I’ve come up with a few simple over/under lines for the perpetually infirmed outfield.
Over/Under: Games Played
Line: 130 games
Soriano is 34 years old and recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. He is, again, admirably trying to get back in shape, but let us remember that he did the same in 2008 and tore his right calf muscle by mid-April. Perhaps the same maturity that he displayed when he was dropped from the leadoff spot will rear its head again. Then, maybe, he will ease his way back into baseball shape and last the entire season.
Over/Under: Home Runs
Line: 30 homeruns
Last season he hit very well in the number six spot when considering his troubles with injuries. This season he will hit deep in the lineup again, but he is also coming back from another leg injury. He may simply not have the lower body strength to hit that threshold again, even with a basket above the ivy. Of course, this over/under is directly influenced by the first bet.
Over/Under: Stolen Bases
Soriano was supposed to be a factor on the base paths when he signed all those years ago. That threat never really came to fruition as injuries hampered his production. This season I think 10 stolen bases is decent expectation. He does not have the speed he once had, but he still has some base running know how.
Over/Under: On Base Percentage
Alfonso’s career OBP is .326, which is absolutely dreadful for a leadoff hitter. Last season that number dipped below .300 and he was demoted to sixth in the lineup. This season he is likely to hit deep in the lineup again, so will the lack of pressure manifest itself in better patience at the plate? I hope so, .326 is not asking much.
Alfonso Soriano is no longer the player the Cubs can even trick themselves into relying on. However, he is still a potentially big factor in the offense and I have to believe that if he can hit those numbers then the team could take the division and I could get Chicago Cubs tickets for the playoffs again.