01/27/2005: The biggest move in the NL Central this off-season...
may be a non-move; specifically, the failure of the Chicago Cubs to unload churlish right fielder Sammy Sosa onto another team. Bruce Miles of suburban Chicago's Daily Herald takes a look at the situation:
Should he stay or should he go?From the analyses I've read, Sosa's contract, coupled with the snit he got into near the end of last season, and his childish behavior in the last game of the season (leaving the stadium without asking permission of Cubs management) have been the deal-killers. Nobody seems to want to pay Sosa what he's owed in order to take the risk that he'll take a dump on them like he dumped on the Cubs, but the Cubs (understandably) aren't inclined to pay for the privelige of Sammy possibly breaking through somewhere else.
Like the song says, if he goes, it could be trouble. If he stays, it could be double.
We're talking, of course, about Sammy Sosa, the wayward right fielder of the Cubs.
Heading into last weekend's Cubs convention, I figured Sosa's chances of staying with the Cubs at 60-40. Now, I'm not so sure. If the Cubs can find a taker, Sosa's a goner.
The fans booed loudly when a videotape image of Sosa was shown during the opening ceremonies. Sosa's teammates didn't exactly sound eager to hear Sosa yell, "Miss me, baby?" during his grand entrance at spring training. (If Sosa stays with the Cubs, he might not want to use that line, for fear of what the answer might be.)
Most important, neither general manager Jim Hendry nor field manager Dusty Baker seemed overly eager to meet with Sosa, even though Hendry conceded a meeting might be a good idea if Sosa indeed is coming back.
As much as the Cubs would like to move Sosa, they need a willing partner, and so far, those willing partners have had lukewarm interest in Sosa at best.
Maybe Sosa's walkout on the final day of the season soured the rest of the industry on him. (It was tough to find anybody in baseball who had a good word to say about Sosa last month at the winter meetings).
Remember, we're talking about a player who not only threw protective manager Baker under the bus, but also verbally torched Don Baylor in Baylor's first year as Cubs manager back in 2000.
Sosa's contract, which pays the aging slugger $17 million this year with a new team having to guarantee $18 million in '06, also is no small factor.
So trouble comes for the Cubs if he has a big year somewhere else with the Cubs footing a big portion of the bill.
If Sosa has that big year for the Cubs, maybe the bad feelings will be forgotten. But the Cubs' trouble could be double if Sosa' remains an unhappy camper this spring.
So meanwhile, Sammy stays in Wrigley poisoning the atmosphere in the clubhouse of The Cardinals' Hated Rivals.
Suits me fine. :-)
Len on 01.27.05 @ 12:45 PM CST