Friday, February 11, 2005
Sosa comes to the AL East
Sammy vs. Nomar
- Local legends for a team of lovable losers - CHECK
- Injury contraversy starting a decline in popularity (Sosa with the sneeze that threw out his back and Nomar with lying about how he got hurt) - CHECK
- Incidents leading to the player's attitude turning sour (Sosa with a drop in the lineup and Nomar with the A-Rod trade rumors) - CHECK
- Not being involved in a game becoming the final straw (Nomar in late July with sitting on the bench, uninterested in a Yankees/Sox game and Sosa leaving early on the last day) - CHECK
- Team so desperate to dump them that they go through great lengths to make it happen and end up with inferior players in return - CHECK
- Went from hero to zero in the minds of many fans - CHECK
I've heard a lot of talk about how people have never seen a player fall so far, so fast with his team and the fans than Sammy Sosa. Apparently those people weren't paying attention last July when Theo Epstein pulled the trigger that sent Nomar away in return for two players whose value didn't add up to Nomar's. Before the whole A/Rod for Manny trade fell through nearly all of Boston's fans were 100% behind Nomar. Then, after a little grumbling and after some (understandably) hurt feelings, Nomar began to be seen as a bad guy. It esculated over the year to the point where Nomar no longer wanted to play in Boston and many of the fans didn't want him here anyways. To me the Nomar situation seems much like the Sammy situation. We all know how the Nomar trade turned out for the Sox. The inferior players we received in return wound up being an important part of our 2004 World Series victory. Cabrera and Minty became loved by all and Nomar was pretty much forgotten about. Now, I'm not saying the same will happen in Chicago. Sosa might be in decline, but Jerry Hairston is a servicable bench player, at most and the two "prospects" the Cubs got aren't exactly superstars in waiting. I'm just saying, to me, the situations seem very similar.
The biggest thing I don't get about the Sosa deal is why there wasn't more interest. The only thing it's costing Baltimore for Sammy Sosa to play for them this year is a utility player, a couple of "prospects", and less than $9 in Sammy's salary. Why didn't any other team jump on this? Sure, Sosa is in decline, but if he puts together a healthy season 40 homers isn't out of the question. Now the Orioles have an icon in right field to draw in the fans and a guy who, even at 36, is a legitimate clean up hitter in any line up. Instead of throwing $50 million too much at Magglio Ordonez, why didn't the Tigers throw a few players at the Cubs to get Sosa? Or, instead of Alou, why didn't the Giants throw in an offer for Sammy? There are probably half a dozen teams out there that could use Sammy Sosa, but the only major rumors that were circulating were the Mets (who dropped out after landing Beltran) and the Orioles.
As for the Orioles, am I afraid? No. Sure, the Sox will probably, for some God forsaken reason, lose the season series to Baltimore. But third place is about the best that Baltimore can hope for. They have a hell of a (really old) line up, but they're still pretty thin and still are quite a few arms away from being a contender.