Soriano and Matthews, Jr.
So far this season, the two players are lagging behind their hitting statistics from last season and they are doing so in similar ways. Last year through thirty-eight games played, Soriano had a batting line of .285 BA/.327 OBP/.544 SLG, giving him a .283 GPA (OBP*1.8+SLG/4; read like batting average). This season, in the same time frame, he has only managed to compile a line of .283 BA/.341 OBP/.459 SLG and a .268 GPA. The most glaring difference between these two lines is that Soriano has seemingly left behind his power in moving to Chicago. Soriano's isolated power (slugging average minus batting average) has decreased from .259 when he was playing for a contract to only .176 after he achieved financial security. For a corner outfielder, where high power numbers are demanded to warrant the player maintaining his position in the starting lineup, the drop-off should be especially troubling for the Cubs.
Gary Matthews, Jr. has decided to take even more of a vacation away from hitting well after signing his contract with the Angels. In his first forty-six games of the 2006 season, Matthews, Jr. was hitting .318 BA/.380 OBP/.547 SLG and a .308 GPA, which is far superior to the .296 BA/.350 OBP/.453 SLG and .271 GPA line he is carrying this year. Like Soriano, Matthews, Jr. has suffered a power outage with his new team, with his isolated power through forty-six games last year of .229, surpassing his cumulative isolated power this season of .159.
Unless both Soriano and Matthews, Jr. kick it into high gear and pretend they are playing for a new contract, which is highly improbable, the Cubs and the Angels will find themselves not witnessing more career years from the players, but instead a decline in the players' skills.