CHICAGO -- Alfonso Soriano could have been playing this weekend’s series at Wrigley Field in the black and orange of the San Francisco Giants if it were not for his apparent aversion to Bay Area weather.
That was at least the reason Soriano gave earlier this season when talking about rumors that the Giants were interested in acquiring him to fill the void left when Melky Cabrera was suspended for a violation of the league’s drug policy.
Soriano, who has trade veto rights, was first reported to have rejected San Francisco as a potential landing spot before the non-waiver trade deadline.
After the deadline, when Cabrera’s suspension was announced, he went on the record to say his issue with San Francisco and its cool evenings would probably prompt him to reject a deal during the waiver period. With that waiver period ending Friday, Soriano is still a member of the Cubs.
Giants players said Friday, though, that the cool temperatures and evening breezes along the San Francisco Bay are actually a benefit to playing with the club.
“I’ve been in pretty much every division and when you play in a place like San Francisco your body lasts longer,” Giants outfielder Angel Pagan said. “When you get to September you feel a little bit of tiredness but it’s not as much as when you play in a humid place. It’s good, I like it.”
There is the concept that the weather was only Soriano’s excuse for not wanting to head west. There were possible family concerns and the travel time between California and his native Dominican Republic, but there have also been thoughts that he might not have been as productive in San Francisco.
Former Cub Ryan Theriot agreed with Pagan that the cool temperatures aren’t as draining, while then adding, “it is a big ballpark.”
“The National League West pitching is pretty dang good too,” Theriot said. “From a hitter’s standpoint, there are a lot of things stacked up against you when you go out there. But you do get used to it. We all saw what Barry (Bonds) did for so long out there so it is possible to hit homers there. It’s a challenge but you can hit there.”
Whatever the reason Soriano had for rejecting the Giants it now seems likely that he will remain with the Cubs, as will closer Carlos Marmol. The next round of trade rumors will start up again in the offseason.
“They’re both having pretty nice years,” manager Dale Svuem said. “Marmol’s done a phenomenal job since he’s been back in the closer’s role. He hasn’t had that many opportunities but in the innings he’s had to come in in non-save opportunity, he’s done a great job. And Soriano has had a nice year too."
Sveum will welcome both if he enters spring training with them next season.
“Those are pieces that we need,” Sveum said. “We need the productivity and home runs out of Soriano and somebody with the ability to close out games and they both have done that.”