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Alfonso Soriano hasn't produced as much as the Cubs had hoped when he signed an eight-year, $136 million contract.
He was booed when introduced during opening ceremonies at the Cubs Convention.
"They don't see me as a baseball player," Soriano said of the fans. "They see me as the contract. They don't see my heart, nothing like that. That's what it is. I know I have a big heart."
Soriano's teammates understand his plight and they believe in him.
"You give anyone $136 million and unless he's in the top 10 in the MVP every year, he's going to get booed," Marlon Byrd said. "It'll be interesting to see what happens with Albert [Pujols] with the money he got [from the Angels]. [Alex Rodriguez] is one of the best right-handed hitters of all time and he was booed in New York.
"Once you get that contract, it happens," Byrd added. "'Sori' is used to the boos and it doesn't bother him. It's all worth it when he gets those cheers, and that's what he loves. When he hits that big home run and goes to the outfield and the entire left field is applauding him and bowing to him, that's what he loves. Boos come with the big market. He played in New York, he knows what that's about."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum has heard about Soriano's work ethic.
"He's a guy who still put up 28 home runs and drove in almost 90 runs," Sveum said of Soriano, who hit 26 homers and drove in 88 runs in 137 games last season. "You need that kind of bat in the lineup."
The Cubs got a scare on Monday when right-hander Kerry Wood hit Starlin Castro in the wrist with a fastball.
Castro walked out of the cage in obvious pain, holding his right hand. He showed off a red welt on his forearm afterward, but said he was fine.
"I was never scared," he said. "I'm only scared if it hits me in the head."
The Cubs will send reliever Chris Carpenter to the Red Sox as compensation for letting Theo Epstein out of his contract.
Chicago and Boston will also exchange a player to be named later.
The process of settling compensation had taken four months to the day since Epstein quit the Red Sox.
Carpenter, a 26-year-old righthander, is a prospect who has played in 10 major league games.
The Cubs informed first base prospect Bryan LaHair this offseason that they didn't intend on trying to sign Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder.
"I got a whole bunch of e-mails and stuff, and for a while there I wasn't sure what was going to happen," LaHair said. "They had the two big dogs out there- Prince and (Albert) Pujols available. When they came off the board, that felt a lot better."
LaHair, a 29-year-old, left-handed power hitter who earned Pacific Coast League MVP honors last year at Triple-A Iowa, really wasn't all that concerned.
"In the beginning they told me the whole Pujols-Fielder thing was all rumors at the time," he said of president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer. "They didn't really have much intention (on signing either one). Baseball can change day to day, so you never know, but it sounded like Theo really wanted to give me an opportunity.
"I think he feels like I'm capable and I have the abilities to succeed at the big league level, and that's what I want to show them."
The Cubs remain the front-runners to sign Jorge Soler, but the White Sox might be open to spending more to land the Cuban outfielder.
The White Sox are in position to spend having traded Carlos Quentin and Jason Frasor while allowing Mark Buehrle and Juan Pierre to leave via free agency.
Cubs Feb 2012 Archive