CHICAGO - The Chicago Cubs’ ownership is showing new manager Lou Piniella that they are serious about winning.
Chicago radio station ESPN 1000 reported Sunday that the Cubs have signed outfielder Alfonso Soriano to an eight-year contract worth approximately $136 million.
The move would clearly mark the highlight in an already busy offseason for the Cubs, who have signed free-agent infielder Mark DeRosa and have re-signed third baseman Aramis Ramirez and righthander Kerry Wood.
But the biggest prize is Soriano, who is coming off an outstanding all-around season for the Washington Nationals in which he hit .277 with 46 home runs and 95 RBI. The 30-year-old ranked third in the National League in homers and also stole 41 bases — the sixth-highest total in the circuit.
After complaining in spring training about having to move from second base to left field, Soriano blossomed in his new surroundings. He led the league with 22 outfield assists, six more than his closest competitor, and displayed respectable range for a converted infielder.
Soriano became the first player in baseball history with 40 home runs, 40 stolen bases and 20 outfield assists in a single season. He also became the first member of the 40-40-40 club, which encapsulates homers, stolen bases and doubles.
An All-Star in each of the last five years, Soriano owns a .280 average with 208 home runs and 560 RBI in eight seasons with the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers and the Nationals.
Soriano won the AL Rookie of the Year award with the Yankees in 2001, when he hit .268 with 18 homers and 73 RBI. He finished third in MVP voting the following season, when he increased his average to .300 and collected 39 homers and 102 RBI.