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Tuesday, March 21, 2006
I Don't Want to Play Left Field
Great story last night about how Alfonso Soriano of the Washington Nationals refused to play left field in an exhibition game. Check out the story on espn.com here.
Soriano, a second baseman, was traded in the off-season from the Texas Rangers to the Nationals for OF Brad Wilkerson and two other players. One problem - the Nationals already have an all-star second baseman in Jose Vidro.
No problem, Washington thought, we'll just move Soriano to the outfield.
Another problem - Soriano doesn't want to play the outfield and said so from the get-go.
Well, Soriano returned to the Nationals yesterday (he had been playing with the DR in the WBC). Manager Frank Robinson had Soriano batting leadoff and playing left field. However, with the game about to start, left field was vacant. That's right - Vacant! Soriano just decided not to take the field at all. Eventually, Robinson came out and made a switch, but fans and players were very confused.
I do have to admire Soriano for sticking to his principles. He said he was not going to play outfield, and he obviously didn't change his mind. However, you would think the situation could have been handled a little more maturely.
In my opinion, though, the real people at fault here are the Nationals' management. You would think that a team would find out if an all-star was willing to make a position switch before they traded for him. Now, they are probably going to have to trade for him for 30 cents on the dollar.
Washington GM Jim Bowden says that the refusal to take the field was a violation of Soriano's contract (he's probably right), and is threatening to report him to the commissioner for placement on the disqualified list (which would, in effect, suspend his service time). However, that doesn't change the fact that the guy made a stupid trade without doing all the necessary research.