- The Washington Times - Monday, May 22, 2006

Q: Mark, I have heard a few rumors that the Chicago Cubs could be looking to acquire Alfonso Soriano. Considering they were talking about adding Soriano this past offseason, do you think it would be a possibility because of all the young talent the Cubs’ farm system has right now and because of the lack of production from the Chicago lineup since Derrek Lee got hurt? — Dan

A: You are correct that the Cubs were one of the teams interested in Soriano last winter before Nationals GM Jim Bowden pulled off the trade with Texas. And they may still make a run at him this summer as the trade deadline approaches.

But if Chicago continues to flounder near the bottom of the NL Central, I find it hard to believe the Cubs would pull the trigger on a deal like that. Think about it: Soriano is signed only through the rest of the season. Any team that tries to trade for him is going to have to be in the pennant race. That’s where his value is. Long term, no one knows where he will end up signing.

Q: When John Patterson (above) comes off the disabled list, who is going to be the odd man out in the rotation? It seems like Ramon Ortiz isn’t getting the job done, and Zach Day and Mike O’Connor should be rewarded for their good work. — Eric Stuart

A: This is going to be quite a dilemma, and who would have guessed that at the time? When the Nationals called O’Connor up, they never expected him to pitch as well as he has. So while he would have been the logical choice to swap spots with Patterson, that probably isn’t the case any longer.

Based purely on stats, Ortiz should be the guy to go. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have minor league options left and he’s making $2.1million. Washington can’t afford to eat that salary.

So something’s going to have to give eventually. There’s still a little time to sort this all out, though, because Patterson isn’t due to come off the DL until June10 at the earliest.

Q: Considering how bad our fielding defense has been, does Bowden now consider trading away Jamey Carroll for cash to bring in Damian Jackson and Marlon Anderson a major mistake? — Jeffrey Saffelle

A: I don’t think you ever would get Bowden to admit trading Jamey Carroll was a mistake. For whatever reason, he just never thought highly of the scrappy utility infielder. It should be noted, however, that Carroll is currently tearing it up with the Rockies (or, at least as much as he’s capable of tearing it up). He’s hitting .302 with five doubles, five steals and a .400 on-base percentage. He also hit a home run Friday night for the first time in three years.

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