By Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune –
CHICAGO — Life has a funny way of working out sometimes.
Dale Sveum was seemingly in line to become the Red Sox manager last fall before management vacillated, giving the Cubs an opening to swoop in and grab him.
Alfonso Soriano was on the Giants’ radar at last month’s trade deadline before the veteran outfielder told the Cubs he was unwilling to waive his 10-and-5 rights to play for them.
Now Sveum is going through one of baseball’s most difficult rebuilding projects with the Cubs, while first-year Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is being blamed for that team’s underachieving ways.
Soriano, meanwhile, is the only longtime veteran position player left in the Cubs’ clubhouse, while the Giants are looking for another outfielder after Melky Cabrera’s 50-game suspension for a violation of the MLB drug policy.
As the Cubs closed out the homestand Wednesday with a 7-2 victory over the Astros, Sveum insisted he never has thought about what might have happened if he wound up with the Red Sox, while Soriano reiterated he’s still not interested in going to the Giants.
Sveum has had headaches in his new job, but perhaps not quite as many as Valentine, who has been sliced, diced and mutilated by players, media and Boston fans alike.
While some haven’t warmed up to Sveum’s managerial style, he hasn’t been booed at all or blamed much for the team’s 46-70 record.
Sveum, a Red Sox coach when they ended their 86-year championship drought in 2004, believes a Cubs championship would dwarf that party.
“It’ll be the biggest event in sports history when we win,” he said.
When? Sveum has only two years left on his contract after 2012, so he probably will need an extension if he’s to be a part of the “biggest event in sports history.”
“Obviously, you don’t know the future when your contract is up, or sometimes even before your contract is up,” he said, laughing.
Soriano has been a Cub since 2007, experiencing every high and low imaginable over his six years with the club. When the Cabrera news hit, everyone wondered if he would change his mind and go to the Giants, who are now in desperate need of an outfield bat.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “San Francisco is not good weather to play in. It’s on the West Coast and I’ve never played on the West Coast. We’ll see what happens if they call. I’ll talk to my family then and see. It’s not my call.
“I know it’s 50 percent my call, but it’s my family’s (call) too. I’d talk to my family and see what happens.”
Soriano said he hasn’t spoken to the Cubs about any teams since the trade deadline. He reportedly has cleared waivers, meaning the Cubs can strike a deal with any team.
Soriano was surprised to hear about Cabrera’s downfall, especially because MLB drug testing is designed to prevent cheating.
“I feel sorry for him because he had an unbelievable year so far, but now he’s caught,” Soriano said. “I don’t know why people take drugs with those (banned substances). They take something, there’s a chance (MLB) is going to get them. I don’t know what the guy is going to do, but we’ll see.”