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Is Alfonso Soriano off the trade market? That seems like the case given the Cubs' decision to cut Bryan LaHair.
ESPN's Buster Olney lists Soriano alongside Curtis Granderson, Justin Upton, Shin-Soo Choo and Dexter Fowler on a list of outfield trade candidates that may be more in play with the asking price of free-agent outfielders Michael Bourn and Josh Hamilton skyrocketing. But Soriano is somewhat of an immovable object because of his 10/5 no-trade rights and his reluctance to become a DH. The Cubs also do not want to take a step backward in the standings from their 101-loss ordeal in 2012 and that is a possibility given the need to replace Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm. Soriano was their most productive hitter last season, so the average of 3.8 runs per game -- which ranked 28th in the majors -- could fall without him. If the Cubs were going to deal Soriano, they would have wanted the option to move LaHair from right field to left. With LaHair gone, you'd line up their 2013 outfield this way at this point -- Soriano in left, David DeJesus in center and Dave Sappelt in right, with Tony Campana as the fourth outfielder. There's a lot of work still to be done here, and eliminating Soriano wouldn't seem to be part of the process.