Posted: Monday December 12, 2005 11:54AM; Updated: Monday December 12, 2005 11:54AM
God forbid I sound like one of those people who rips every pro athlete of his generation for being selfish, overpaid buffoons. Instead, I'm going to rip one athlete for being a selfish, overpaid buffoon. Alfonso Soriano, come on down.
Fonzie, as I like to call him, was recently traded to the Nationals, who then received a stern warning from the player that they had better not make him play in the outfield. Exactly what he'd do if manager Frank Robinson, a Hall of Famer who hit 586 home runs and did more for the game (as its first African-American manager, among other things) than Fonzie could ever wish to (not that he would necessarily wish to do anything, mind you, what with him being a selfish buffoon and all), told him to play in the outfield is unclear. Hold his breath? Call his agent? (Fonzie, if those are your courses of action, you should call the agent first.)
The Nationals already have a good second baseman in Jose Vidro, a career .984 fielder with decent range. (Vidro's also a career .302 hitter with some pop in his bat and a penchant for getting on base. He and Soriano have the exact same career OPS+.) Vidro's made 66 errors in 924 games at second. Soriano has made 102 in 762 games. Who would you want playing second? If it's me, I'd take the guy who can catch the ball.
And just who, may I ask, is Alfonso Soriano? Yes, he hits a lot of homers. Who doesn't nowadays? Steals a lot of bases. Fine, point in his favor. (But it's not like Texas was small-balling people to death. How many of those steals, I wonder, came in three-run games?) He has a terrible eye, strikes out too much and has never won a World Series, in part because he spits the bit come October. (Career postseason numbers: .233 average, .287 OBP, .623 OPS, 146 at-bats, 34 hits, 45 strikeouts.) Furthermore, two teams have traded him in the past three years.
Actually, I kind of hope Soriano clings to his demand. I, for one, am interested to see how his manager will handle a ringless .268 hitter demanding to play a position he doesn't appear to have the skills to play. Somehow I see Robby winning that fight.