May 30, 2012, 12:48 PM EDT
Alfonso Soriano‘s huge contract and disappointing production already made him the target of Cubs fans’ scorn, so when he got off to a slow start this season that only increased along with the perception that his presence was playing a part in top prospect Anthony Rizzo remaining in the minors.
But a funny thing happened on the way to Soriano being washed up: He started hitting again.
Soriano had a .200 batting average, zero extra-base hits, and a measly .420 OPS on April 23, but in 29 games since then he’s hit .306 with seven homers, nine doubles, and a .923 OPS.
Soriano might have already been a goner if not for the fact that the Cubs are paying him $18 million this season and owe him the same salaries in 2013 and 2014, but whatever the reason for his remaining Chicago’s everyday left fielder the story surrounding his hitting ability at age 36 has changed dramatically.
There’s still no chance of the Cubs finding a taker for the rest of Soriano’s contract, but at least he’s not just “the guy holding back Rizzo” any longer. For now, anyway.
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