The Chicago Cubs expect to have outfielders Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd in the starting lineup on Opening Day, as Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told ESPN's Jim Bowden on Wednesday. Both have been in trade rumors during the offseason as the Cubs retool under new management, but it appears that they're both staying put for now.
Soriano, 36, was more heavily discussed in rumors this offseason given his massive price tag and declining performance. While the slugger still has legitimate power, hitting 50 homers combined over the past two seasons, he's no longer a good runner, he's not a particularly good defender and his on-base skills have devolved from mediocre to downright awful. Over the next three seasons he's owed $54 million, so Chicago would need to eat a significant portion of that figure.
Byrd, on the other hand, hasn't been brought up nearly as much despite having the organization's top prospect emerging behind him. The 34-year-old has played well as the full-time center fielder for Chicago over the past two years, but he makes $6.5 million in 2012 and isn't exactly a good first-division starter. He likely would garner more interest than Soriano on the open market, although power is always at a premium.
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