Each offseason there are a handful of players that call it quits on a long, eventful career and it appears we can add the next name onto the list, as veteran outfielder Alfonso Soriano has announced his retirement from professional baseball, according to Hector Gomez of Listin Diario. Ever since the 38-year-old outfielder was designated for assignment in early July and released a few days later by the New York Yankees, Soriano has reportedly contemplated whether or not to hang up his spikes and call it quits on the baseball field.
Soriano began his professional career in Japan with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, playing for their varsity team at their Dominican Republic academy. Soriano’s unhappiness with the rigorous practice schedule and his lack of salary, coupled with his underperforance, led to his wanting to void his contract with Hiroshima and a formal request being made to join a team in North American. Once Major League Baseball recognized him as a free agent in 1998 he signed with the Yankees.
In his sophomore season in 2002, Soriano may have experienced not only his best season in pinstripes but his best all-around offensive season in the big leagues. In 741 plate appearances he slashed .300/.332/.547 with 39 home runs, 5th best in the American League, and 102 runs batted in along with a 129 OPS+ and a 4.8 bWAR – all while finishing 3rd in AL MVP voting.
Soriano was one of the key pieces sent to the Texas Rangers following the 2003 season, along with Joaquin Arias, in exchange for Alex Rodriguez. The Rangers would deal him two seasons later to the Washington Nationals – receiving Brad Wilkerson, Terrmel Sledge, and Armando Galarraga in return.
Despite losing his final arbitration case that winter, Soriano received the largest ever arbitration deal to the tune of $10 million – breaking the previous record of $8.2 million, awarded to Andruw Jones in 2001. That 2006 season also marked the season in which Soriano made the switch from second base to the outfield. Washington’s manager, Frank Robinson, forced him to take left field during a Spring Training game under the threat of forfeiting his salary as Soriano was resistant to the change.
That following offseason, Soriano agreed to an eight year deal with the Chicago Cubs valued at nearly $136 million. Paired with a no trade clause, it marked the most lucrative contract ever given out by the team in franchise history.
Soriano was productive at the beginning of the long term deal, but age began to catch up to him and his overall numbers started to slip. His career seemed rejuvenated following a trade deadline deal from the Cubs to the Yankees in 2013, as he managed to hit .256/.325/.525 with 17 home runs and 50 runs batted in in 58 games following the deal. He finished the year at .255/.302/.489 with 34 home runs and 101 runs batted in.
He struggled to get off to a similar start the following season, hitting only .221/.244/.367 with six home runs and 23 runs batted in over 67 games – mustering just six walks against 71 strikeouts.
Over his sixteen major league seasons, Soriano posted a career .270/.319/.500 slash line with a total of 412 home runs and 1159 runs batted in with the Yankees (1999-2003, 2013-2014), Rangers (2004-2005), Nationals (2006) and the Cubs (2007-2013). Amazingly, he garnered seven straight All Star Game appearances from 2002-2007, while winning four Silver Slugger awards (2002, 2004-2006), and two World Series championships with the Yankees during the 1999 and 2000 seasons.