Agent says Sosa likely staying in Chicago
Not only is any trade of Sammy Sosa not imminent, it is less than likely.
"At this point, I'd bet on him staying with the Cubs," Sosa's agent, Adam Katz, told ESPN's Peter Gammons. "If there were anything going, they'd have to contact me, and no one has. Nothing is even close to irreconcilable. Both people [Sosa and Cubs manager Dusty Baker] are good people who want to win and do so in Chicago."
Sosa's 2004 season with the Cubs ended on a sour note for both parties.
Sosa arrived 70 minutes before the first pitch of the Cubs' meaningless season finale, and he apparently left 15 minutes after the game started without ever putting on his uniform, as security cameras in the team's parking lot at Wrigley Field showed. Sosa told the Chicago Sun-Times he was in the clubhouse until the seventh inning.
The Cubs' fading slugger was fined $87,400 -- one day's salary -- for arriving late to that game.
Sosa, who spent time on the disabled list with back problems brought on by a violent sneeze, batted just .253 -- his lowest average since 1997 -- and in 126 games finished with 35 homers and 80 RBI, ending his run of 100-RBI seasons at nine.
"He's got to go to work this winter. Get in tip-top shape mentally and physically," Baker said after the season.
Baker's comments angered Sosa.
"I'm tired of being blamed by Dusty Baker for all the failures of this club," Sosa told the Chicago Sun-Times in early October. "I'm always the guy they are going to blame. They blame me for not going to the World Series last year. They blame me for not going to the playoffs this year. I'm tired of it."
The Los Angeles Times reported that the Cubs and Dodgers planned to discuss a swap of Sosa for Shawn Green at this week's general managers meetings in Key Biscayne, Fla., but thus far, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry has not talked to the Dodgers.
Since Sosa gets an $18 million option for 2006 if traded and Shawn Green will make $16 million in 2005 -- the last year of his contract -- for such a deal to occur, either the Cubs would have to split the $18 million option or Sosa would have to restructure his deal.
At this point, the Cubs expect that Sosa will remain in Chicago.
The Mets will not take on the $18 million in 2006, either. However, Omar Minaya has made one notable hiring -- luring onetime mentor Sandy Johnson away from his position as assistant GM of the Diamondbacks to a similar position with the Mets. Johnson was Minaya's boss with the Texas Rangers.
Information from ESPN's Peter Gammons and The Associated Press was used in this report.