Soriano Will Play CF

Mr. Scoop Ken Rosenthal at Foxsports.com breaks the news that really didn't need to be broken. The Soriano center field experiment has received FDA approval and will be good to go starting in April. The man of few words, Lou Piniella explains:
"We'll know by the third week of March, another seven or eight games," manager Lou Piniella told FOXSports.com on Monday. "But truthfully, I can almost come to that conclusion now."
All in all, a rather flattering piece on our $18 million dollar man. Did anyone else know he speaks English, Spanish and Japanese? I knew he started his career over there, but didn't realize he picked up the language as well. And since Matt Murton's defense seems to be a hot topic in the comments and everyone seems to have an opinion on it, how about we hear what a pro scout has to say about it?
Matt Murton — a solid defender who is "vastly underrated" in the opinion of one rival scout — figures to get most of the playing time in left.
Yeah, "vastly underrated", you hear that, can you pick yourself off the ground after that scathing tongue lash? Just kidding around, but good to know that the "pros" share my viewpoint. I've always felt Murton is at no worse an average left fielder who may run a questionable route or two, but he's got above average speed to make up for it and he may not possess a cannon out there, but you don't need one in left field. Plus he's shown a willingness to work on all aspects of his game, he'll only get better. As spring training winds down over the next three weeks and barring any injury it appears to me that the only real question marks to be answered will be the fifth starter, the fallout from that race affecting the bullpen and the 25th man which seems to be a race between Angel Pagan and Buck Coats.
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Comments

I have been looking at the spring stats, and considering how the position player roster battle is going. Rosenthal's prediction about Murton as the everyday LF, makes me wonder about Ward. Is Daryle Ward assured a spot on the team? He seems to be struggling so far this spring, and with Floyd as a 4th OF/PH/backup 1B, it seems like he duplicates Ward. Honestly, I would rather release Ward and keep a better athlete. Perhaps both Coats and Pagan could make the team. To me, it seems like Coats is being groomed as a bench guy, why not give him a chance at that. As for Pagan, I believe the Cubs would lose him if he doesn't make the team, and if Ihad a choice between retaining Pagan or Ward, that is easy.

they're not going to release Ward...

Murton/Floyd will probably split time 50/50 is my guess.

Rob G - just wondering given the manlove you show for Matt Murton's defense how does Cliff Floyd rank compared to Matt Murton simply in terms of an outfielder???

I barely have seen Floyd play out there, tough for me to say. The defensive numbers that I use as a guide and scouting reports say he's below average, so I'll go with that.

It's LF though, it's not that important as long as he hits like it's 2005.

Matt Murton is not a good outfielder, at least at this stage. I could care less what one anonymous "baseball exec" has to say on the subject. If it was my team, I'd be putting my $136 million investment were he is best suited to play. And that ladies and gentleman is in left field.

End o' subject

one anonymous rival scout, big difference and I'll take it over your word and three times on Sunday.

"End o' subject"
Bahahawahahaha!!!

Tell me your doing that as a joke?

Look, I like Matt Murton. I really do. He has some nice skills and I wish nothing but the best for him. But bottom line is that he is solidly non-spectacular in every phase of the game except on-base percentage. I'd love nothing more than for him to be part of the everyday lineup, but not at the expense of the $136 million investment playing the wrong damned position now, and especially when / if Felix Pie arrives on the scene. That is the crux of my argument that apparently I am failing to make in articulate enough terms.

'And that ladies and gentleman is in left field.'

Remember when Robin Yount moved from SS to the outfield. What position did he play?

Shawon Duston?

Eric Davis?

Speed + SS Arm = Centerfield, maybe right field. Not left.

End o' subject.

Alfonso Soriano is in Chicago to HIT the FRIGGIN BASEBALL and be a premium deluxe superstar run producer. He also is 31 years old and being paid $136 million. To say he is a franchise investment, is putting it charitably. Especially with a gifted defensively Felix Pie lurking in the background, I put Soriano in left field. What happens if center field proves a nightmare for him?!? What happens if his fielding takes a toll on his hitting?!? I don't want these things jamming his head. And I also DO NOT want him in right field someday.

ST,

It is not articulation you're getting hung up on it is evidence. If you were a lawyer arguing a case, it would have already been thrown out.

You're staring down statistcal data, the Cubs organizations scouts, an oposing organization's scout and saying 'none of that matters, this is the way it is'. That is fine for you to believe that, just understand it's not reasonable.

'And I also DO NOT want him in right field someday.'

That is obvious. Can you articulate why?

Are you familiar with the concept of the defensive spectrum? It goes like this:

Catcher
Shorstop
Second Base
Center Field
Third Base
Right Field
Left Field
First Base
DH

The farther you move down that spectrum, in general, the less valuable you are as a player. So by championing the move of Soriano to the 7th positoin, you're also championing the devaluation of him as a player.

So on one hand you're yelling that he has this huge contract, and then you're also trying to make the player less valuable.

Floyd once had a reputation as a subpar defender out here in Met-land, but didn't do that poorly while with the team; at times he could even impress.

He might be slightly above average defensively, at best.

??????????Defensive spectrum??????????????

First time I've ever heard it put that way, but it's a reasonable concept.

My argument is that defensive position numero uno in the "spectrum" should be pitcher(s).

I would also argue that 1B should be ahead of CF.

Who came up with this spectrum, or is it just supposed to be common knowledge from "experts"?

As regards Soriano and his defensive position, IMO it doesn't matter WHERE he plays as long he settles in to a position and STAYS THERE.

Joey

When Soriano was first breaking in with the Yanks, people referenced his ability and willingness to learn Japanese when he played there, as character evidence that he'd be able to cope with the pressures of playing for the Yanks.

[...] With Lou’s declaration that the Fonz has pretty much sewed up center field to start the year, I happened stumble across John Dewan’s Stat of the Week from a few weeks back. He asks, “Can A horrible second basemen become a great outfielder?” Who do you think he’s talking about? [...]

First off, I read that Murton ranked 3rd or 4th in outfield defense among all National League left fielders. Personally, I'd say his defense is currently average... but comparing a young guy like him to the average left fielder (old veteran who hits well and can't play defense to save his life) ... makes Murton look like a defensive whiz. I mean when you're competing against guys like Carlos (Astros) or Barry (SF), you're going to look like a defensive stud. Like RobG tho, I like BigRed and hope he does well.

As for the 25th man... have you forgotten Cedeno? I figure that he's fighting it out with Pagan for the last spot. Coats doesn't seem to be in the mix to me at all.

So Sayeth the God of WAR!

News seems to be that they want another middle infielder now...

I had actually typed out Cedeno and Tomas Perez as well, but I deleted it for whatever reason.

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