In a wild offseason that saw Randy Johnson go to New York, Carlos Delgado to Miami, Jeff Kent to LA, the Expos to Washington and the best player of our generation admit to using steroids.....it just keeps coming.
Sammy Sosa will [most likely] be traded to the Baltimore Orioles. And, to me, in every way the Cubs get screwed.
Sosa hit 35 HR and 80 RBI in his "off year" of 2004 for the Cubs. Yes...his image has taken a beating in the last few years and he’s on the decline of his career. But, he still puts up big numbers and butts in the seats. Chicago could have, should have, gotten more for him.
Sammy Sosa...who holds 3 of the top 6 single season HR marks [yet none of those years led the majors]....will go to Baltimore for infielder Jerry Hairston and two minor leaguers. Talent wise...that isn’t much. What makes it seem worse is the fact that the Cubs are going to pay $10M of Sosa’s $17M salary in 2005. They are paying him not to be there. The deal is if the Cubs pay that $10M of his salary to facilitate the trade....he will void his 2006 salary [player option].
This shows how bad the Cubs wanted Sammy gone. He skipped out of the final game of the season....peeving everyone off. He and manager Dusty Baker, who is known as a player’s manager, never hit it off. Baker demoted Sosa to 6th in the batting order after some deals were made....and Sosa pouted. Meanwhile, division foes St. Louis and Houston also made mid-season deals [Larry Walker and Carlos Beltran, respectively] and the big names on those teams did whatever to help that player and the team succeed. There are also rumors of steroid use by Sosa....who suddenly bulked up in the late 1990s.
This also shows how badly the Orioles need SOMEBODY of name value tied to their franchise. In a division with the Yankees and Red Sox....it is hard to find a spot of the marquee...especially since Cal Ripken Jr. retired. Not to mention that the NL has moved the Expos into Washington DC....Oriole territory....so now the team actually has to fight for fans with the Nationals. The O’s went after Carlos Beltran...and lost out to the Mets. They went after Carlos Delgado...and lost out to the Marlins. Sosa was the biggest name out there to get.
Baltimore has talent.....but not the name. They can pile Miguel Tejada, Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Javy Lopez in the three-thru-six spots in the lineup. Not bad. Not as strong as the Yanks or even the Bosox....but not bad at all. At least they are trying.