Chicago Is Soriano's Kinda Town

The Chicago Cubs have been making a splash in the early going this off-season, with the signings of Lou Piniella, Aramis Ramirez, Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa and the acquisition of Neal Cotts. Now the team is ready to make a tidal wave, taking the biggest name off of the free agent market in Alfonso Soriano.

Updated: 11/20/06 at 4:34 pm EST

Reports began in earnest this weekend that the Chicago Cubs had come to an agreement with Alfonso Soriano on a contract for eight-years, $136 million. The former New York Yankee, Texas Ranger and Washington National has now officially passed his physical to join the club.

The addition of Soriano to the Cubs gives the club another powerful right-handed bat to go along with Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. The Cubs have also added a strong right-handed stick in Mark DeRosa this off-season.

Although Soriano began his career as a second baseman, he made the transition to the outfield last year with the Washington Nationals and improved steadily throughout the year. Soriano may be asked to shift from left-field to centerfield for the Cubs.

The speedy Soriano was a 40-40 man last season and he will ensure that the Cubs have some speed at the top of the line-up, even if free agent centerfielder and lead-off man Juan Pierre is not brought back into the fold. Soriano is only the fourth 40-40 man in baseball history.

The eight-year deal is the richest in Chicago Cubs history. Soriano was being pursued by a number of teams, most notably the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Philadelphia Phillies.

After two straight disappointing seasons, the Cubs have been working overtime to improve their roster this off-season. The team has re-signed four of their own free agents (Wade Miller, Kerry Wood, Aramis Ramirez and Henry Blanco) and has inked free agent second baseman Mark DeRosa. The team also acquired Neal Cotts from the cross-town White Sox. At the start of the off-season, the Cubs created headlines by signing Lou Piniella to manage the club.

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