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Sunday September 17, 2006 5:57 pm

Soriano Joins The 40/40 Club

Alfonso SorianoWashington Nationals 2B Alfonso Soriano joined Jose Canseco (Oakland Athletics, 1988), Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants, 1996), and Alex Rodriguez (Seattle Mariners, 1998) in the elite 40/40 club, where the four players hit at least 40 home runs and stole 40 bases in a season.  The historic moment happened in the first after Soriano reached base on a single off of Milwaukee Brewers SP Dave Bush and on a 2-0 count to SS Felipe Lopez, stole second uncontested.

Soriano, is having an MVP type season, hitting .287 with 45 homers, 91 runs batted in, 111 runs, and 40 stolen bases.  However, thanks to the Nationals falling out of contention a long time ago, it’s unlikely Soriano will get the hardware.  It’ll come down to, amongst others, Philadelphia Phillies 1B Ryan Howard and St. Louis Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols, both of whom are playing for teams that are in playoff contention. 

The amazing thing about Soriano’s season is that he’s hit for power in a typically pitcher friendly park in RFK Stadium, which is why many people thought there would be a power drop for Soriano before the season started.  I guess you can’t stop quick wrists.  Another thing that many people wondered about with Soriano was how he would transition to the outfield after playing second base his whole career.  Well, there was definite growing pains and while Soriano may not be as fundamentally sound, there have been some highlight worthy catches.  Oh, and he leads the league in outfield assists with 21.  It’s safe to say that we should never doubt Soriano again.

However, what is doubtful - actually very doubtful - is that Soriano comes back to the Nationals next season.  They will simply not pay Soriano what other teams will offer.  Why the Nationals didn’t trade Soriano and not gamble losing him for nothing is something they’ll probably have to wonder about during the offseason.  What’s worse, with the new bargaining agreement coming up, the Nationals may not get any compensation if/when Soriano leaves. 

Wherever Soriano ends up next season, this season will always be a historic one.

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