Source: Sosa could be headed to Nationals

Updated: January 12, 2006, 2:23 PM ET
By Enrique Rojas | ESPNdeportes.com

MIAMI -- The Washington Nationals and Sammy Sosa have been involved in preliminary discussions for a possible one-year agreement.

Right Field
Baltimore Orioles

Profile
2005 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R OBP AVG
102 14 45 39 .295 .221

The information spread quickly on Tuesday in the Dominican Republic, where some media sources said that the signing of the slugger with the Nationals was all but done. But Washington and Sosa have only sat down for preliminary meetings.

A source close to Sosa told ESPNdeportes.com that Tom Reich, one of Sosa's agents, will meet with Nationals' Jim Bowden on Wednesday. Reich did not return calls from ESPNdeportes.com to confirm or deny the meeting.

Bowden, however, said in an e-mail to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick: "We would have interest in bringing a healthy Sammy Sosa into camp on a non-guaranteed minor-league deal and giving him an opportunity to make the team."

If he were to sign with the Nationals, Sosa would probably move to left field, with Jose Guillen most likely in right field and Ryan Church in center. Complicating matters would be Alfonso Soriano, who the Nats have wanted to move to the outfield, but who has also resisted a change from second base. Washington also signed veteran outfielder Michael Tucker this week.

Sosa, a future Hall of Fame candidate who has hit 588 home runs in his 17 year career, is one of the 90 players who still remain unemployed with five weeks to go before the start of spring training. Sosa, 37, was cut by the Baltimore Orioles after a disappointing 2005, in which he batted .221 with 14 homers and 45 RBI in 102 games.

Sosa was slowed by several injuries last season, in which he earned $17 million on the last year of his $72 million contract he signed with the Chicago Cubs in 2002. The deal included an $18 millon option for 2006.

Sosa said last week that his decision concerning his next contract will not be determined exclusively by financial factors.

"At this stage of my career, money is not the priority. There are other things I am taking into account," said Sosa, who has earned over $120 millon in his Major League career. He has said many times that his most pressing goal on the field is to surpass 660 home runs, and he does not exclude the possibility of reaching 700 homers before retiring.

Sosa was the Most Valuable Player of the National League in 1998, when he had the first of three seasons with over 60 home runs. He also has been selected seven All Star Games.

ESPN Insider Jerry Crasnick contributed to this report.

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.