PHOENIX — Alfonso Soriano appears to be on his way back to the New York Yankees.
Soriano was scratched from the Chicago Cubs’ lineup in mid-afternoon Thursday, and manager Dale Sveum said a trade was “99 percent done.”
“Theo (Epstein, the Cubs’ general manager) called and said it is pretty close to a deal being done, so better off not playing him,” Sveum said.
“That’s the only team that I know we are talking to,” Sveum said.
According to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, the Cubs and Yankees have an agreement in principle. In exchange for Soriano, Chicago will acquire righthanded pitching prospect Corey Black.
Soriano agreed to go to New York after being given several days to consider whether he would waive his no-trade option.
“Obviously he accepted it,” Sveum said. “It’s something he felt was right at this time for his family. Being a part of a pennant race in a place where he can put things together and get healthy and possibly win.”
Soriano broke in with the Yankees in 1999 and played with them through 2003 before playing with the Rangers for two years, the Nationals for one and the Cubs for the past 6 1/2 after signing an eight-year, $136 million contract in 2007. He is to earn $18 million this year and another $18 million in 2014, the final year of his deal.
Soriano is hitting .254 with 17 homers and 51 RBIs in 93 games this season, and at age 36 last year he hit .262 with 38 homers and 108 RBIs.
“That’s a legacy in itself,” Sveum said.
Soriano has 389 homers, 458 doubles and 280 stolen bases in a career that merits Hall of Fame consideration. He hit 98 of those homers with the Yankees. He said earlier in the week that he would not be averse to being used as a DH as well as playing left field, a concession to his legs.
“The four hole, the character in the clubhouse, the leadership, you don’t replace that. His professionalism has been off the charts,” Sveum said.