Rebuilding efforts could determine Soriano's future

Rebuilding efforts could determine Soriano's future

CHICAGO -- When Alfonso Soriano signed his eight-year contract with the Cubs in November 2006, it was with the intent of getting to the World Series. Soriano did make the playoffs twice with the Cubs, but they are now in rebuilding mode. He has two years left on his deal.

How long can Soriano wait?

"It depends on how long," he said prior to Wednesday's season finale. "If they want to rebuild next year, I'll be here. If they want to take longer than two years, I have to think about moving to another team that can win quickly. I have two more years on the contract, and maybe I'll retire after that. I want to have one more shot to get to the World Series before I retire."

Retire?

"I just say that -- the way I feel now, I wish it could be my No. 8 year on my contract, so I could retire today," said Soriano, weary from the season. "There's two more years left."

So he's not going to play when he's 40?

"I don't think so," he said. "I think two more years -- it depends on how I feel. If I feel like I feel now in two years, I'll want to retire right away."

Soriano did not start on Wednesday. Cubs manager Dale Sveum asked the veteran if he wanted to play, and Soriano said that was enough.

"Personally, I feel proud of myself," Soriano said of his season, in which he hit 32 home runs and drove in a career-high 108 runs. "At 36, what I can do, even with a bad knee, I just worked hard to do what I could do because I love this game and never like being down. I'm working hard to make this team better. If I'm healthy, I know I'll put up numbers, but more important, I can help this team win."

He will not have surgery on his troublesome left knee, but spend the offseason strengthening it. He's quieted his critics.

"People always see me with the wrong eyes," Soriano said. "I think the manager and [Theo Epstein] and all those guys, they appreciate what I do. They gave me an opportunity to bat cleanup and I did the best I could to make the team better."

Sveum wants Soriano back.

"No question about it," Sveum said. "To have 32 home runs and 108 RBIs, and to play left field like he has with his speed and the legs he has, he's done a great job in the outfield. Everything he does in that clubhouse, his work ethic is unmatched in my career. I haven't seen too many people in my career go about their business on an everyday basis like 'Sori' does. To produce, for a manager, is even better."