Friday, July 11, 2008

Missing You... Not So Much

Got a call from a friend yesterday who postulated this theory: The Cubs don't miss Alfonso Soriano. Well, this baseball watcher does not miss seeing him strike out and misplay balls in the outfield. But how does the team fare, record-wise, with him and without him?

With Alfonso Soriano in the lineup, the Cubs have gone 31-18 or a .633 winning percentage. Without him in the lineup the team has gone 24-19 which equates to a .558 winning percentage. At first glance, it appears that the Cubs are a much better team with him than without him.

But we also have to factor in who replaced him. Usually, with Soriano out, he gets replaced by Reed Johnson. Reed has had a better offensive season than anyone could expect so far and will always bring a plus glove to the outfield.

During two weeks of Soriano's latest DL stint, Reed was also on the DL. He was replaced in those games by a combo of the now departed Matt Murton and Eric Patterson. How did the team do in those games without Soriano and Johnson?

They were below .500 posting a 6-8 record which included a rare home series loss to Baltimore.

So, if we net out the games both Reed and Soriano missed from the team's record, how do the Cubs do without Soriano, but with a competent player left field (i.e. no Murton or Patterson)? They posted a record of 18-11 for a .621 winning percentage. And, if the Cubs sweep the Giants this weekend, the team will have a better winning percentage without Soriano than with him.

The reality is that, on this team, Soriano is a luxury component. He's not a necessity.

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