Cubs owner open to eating more salary

Updated: January 14, 2012, 11:21 PM ET
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said Saturday that he'd continue to be supportive of his front office if they thought moving a veteran player would be best for the team's future.

"First of all, it's really up to the baseball guys to decide who fits on the team," Ricketts said at the Cubs Convention. "If there is a player they think doesn't fit and they think it's better for the team to move him, then I'll support it 100 percent, even if that means eating some salary."

Ricketts did not name Alfonso Soriano, during the conversation, nor was he asked about the outfielder specifically, but Soriano has been the subject of trade speculation all offseason as the Cubs attempt to rebuild their roster.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer have been trying to move Soriano, who is owed $54 million over the next three years, since December, according to major league sources. The sources say the Cubs have talked to as many as eight teams, mostly in the American League.

The Cubs showed they weren't afraid to cut their losses recently by paying $15 million of the $18 million remaining on Carlos Zambrano's 2012 contract when they traded him to the Miami Marlins for right-hander Chris Volstad.

Soriano has no-trade rights, but said on Friday that he'd be open to a trade as long as it worked for him and his family.

"They can do whatever they want," Soriano said Friday at the Cubs Convention. "It has to be good for me and my family for me to agree (to a trade). I'm comfortable with the Cubs.

"I won't go to just any team. I want to be with a contender. I also want to be in the playoffs again. So I'd have to be comfortable with both the team and the city I get traded to."

In 2011, Soriano had his best run-production season since signing an eight-year, $136 million contract with the Cubs in November of 2006, posting 26 home runs and 88 RBIs.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.