Soriano, Gonzalez, & the WBC

A couple of former Rangers are in the news the last few days.
First off is Alfonso Soriano. I seem to remember Soriano saying he didn’t want to play the outfield in New York. I know he said that when he was in Texas, but he’s now taking it to the extreme in DC. Soriano is refusing the play the outfield, a stance that put him on the bench Monday, and if he does it again Wednesday could put him on the disaqualified list. Saying “the player refused to take the field”, the Nationals believe that they will be within their rights to put Soriano on the disqualified list. The upside of that is that he wouldn’t get paid, and if that situaton ran it’s course the entire year, Soriano would not be a free agent, he’d still be Nationals property, as service time doesn’t accure if your’e disqualified. I cannot see how Soriano expects to win here, except possibly by forcing a trade. I don’t see that happening either – it’s a bit late in the game. Of course, anything can happen, but I see most clubs who could take his contract being set already. I’m really surprised he’s taking this stance, I can’t see how anything positive can come out of this. I have to say I’m glad he’s out of our hair if he’s gonna act like this.
The other player is former Ranger Juan Gonzalez, who signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox on Sunday. I look at that, and think wow – the Sox must really be hurting to sign Gonzalez. It’s been years since he’s had a full productive season, let alone two of them in a row. I can’t see where he’d be a regular starting player anymore. In the last four seasons, he’s had a total of 186 games combined. His appearances in Kansas City and Cleveland (05) were a joke, and his two years in his seocnd go around with the Rangers wasn’t that great, either. It’s not like I hate the guy, I’d love to see him have some success and put some numbers up, but I think he’ll have a hard time getting to 500 HR, which my gut tells me is the reason why he keeps going. He’s got 434 now, and he’d have to play I would think 3 years to get that, given I doubt he’ll ever be a full time 145-160 game a year player ever again. I used to rag him over the “Baggy Pants” fiasco in the Hall of Fame game several years ago, and his lack of hustle, really. I’m kind of over that – although I still think he’s more suspectible to the slider down and away than any other recent hitter I’m aware of.
It was a great sight seeing Sadaharu Oh tossed up in the air when Japan won the WBC tonight. Would the US have done that to Buck Martinez? No way. That’s why I like these other countries a bit more than the US, as they’re way more into it. The flavor of the latin teams is just something the US can’t match. It’s one reason why I really wished Chan Ho Park did well here – in his first year, entire sections at the Ballpark would be filled with Korean fans cheering him like you saw in the Venezuela & Dominican Republic games in the WBC. That’s the kind of fun that US baseball lacks. The joy that was evident in the Japanese players was great to see. Not that the US players (or any other team for that matter) wouldn’t have been happy – but the sheer joy of it is something you don’t see much in the US players – or at least I don’t.

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