Alfonso Guilleard Soriano (born January 7, 1976 in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic) is a Major League Baseball outfielder for the Chicago Cubs. He previously played for the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals. He played primarily as a second baseman for the Yankees and Rangers. He bats right-handed, and has batted as a lead-off hitter for most of his career.
Soriano began his professional baseball career in Japan with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, training at their Carp Academy for Dominican players. In 1997, he was promoted to the varsity team, and, wearing uniform number 74, he appeared in nine games, batting .118 (2 for 17) with two walks.
Soriano disliked the intense Japanese practice schedule, and the Carp denied him a salary increase from $45,000 to $180,000 per year. Like Hideo Nomo and Hideki Irabu, who had previously left Japan to play in the United States, Soriano hired Don Nomura to help his situation. After first attempting to void Soriano's NPB contract by unsuccessfully arguing that the player was legally a minor when he signed it, Nomura advised him, like Nomo, to retire from NPB and pursue a career in MLB. This prompted Carp executives to file an injunction against Soriano, and to send letters to MLB teams demanding that they cease all negotiations with him. After the Nomo case, NPB officials had amended the Working Agreement without consulting any MLB officials in an attempt to prevent the situation from recurring. Since MLB had not agreed to any changes to the agreement, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig declared that MLB would recognize Soriano as a free agent on July 13, 1998, and the Carp backed down.