Source: Sosa would rather retire than 'beg for a spot'

Updated: February 14, 2006, 5:32 AM ET
By Enrique Rojas | ESPNdeportes.com

MIAMI -- Sammy Sosa is seriously considering retiring from baseball instead of accepting an offer from the Washington Nationals, a source close to the player told ESPNdeportes.com.

A-Rod visits Sammy
MIAMI -- Sammy Sosa, who has been mulling retiring from baseball after receiving only a non-guaranteed contract offer from the Washington Nationals, received an unexpected visitor Sunday at his home in Miami: Alex Rodriguez.

The New York Yankees third baseman called on Sosa in order to find out from the slugger himself how the "Caribbean Bambino" is doing, according to Tuesday's edition of the Hoy newspaper in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

A source close to Sosa told Hoy that Rodriguez was not there as a "messenger" for the Yankees, but that he just wanted to find out what was going on with the 1998 National League MVP, and what his plans are for 2006.

In the past, the Yankees have used star players as "advance scouts" in some key trade and free agent negotiations.

Rodriguez, whose parents are Dominican but was born in the United States, maintains close relationships with many players from the Dominican Republic, including Sosa.

-- Enrique Rojas

Sosa has not made a decision regarding the contract offer from Washington, which is a non-guaranteed, one-year pact for $500,000.

"Sammy doesn't think of himself as someone who has to beg for a spot on a big league roster," said the source.

Washington's offer is the only one the Dominican slugger and potential Hall of Famer has received this winter.

With 588 career home runs, Sosa is the all-time leader among Latin American players. He had three years of 60 or more home runs between 1998 and 2001 as a Cub, becoming enormously popular in Chicago and throughout baseball.

However, injuries and some bad publicity, including the discovery of a corked bat in 2003, have affected his legacy and market value.

"Sammy wants to get to 600 home runs, but he's not willing to humiliate himself to keep playing. He feels that the lack of interest in his services this winter constitutes a humiliation," added the source.

Although the team has not set a deadline for a decision by Sosa, the Nationals would like to have the situation resolved before pitchers and catchers report to spring training on February 18. Washington originally only offered a minor league contract, with an invitation to spring training.

Sosa is taking his time to mull the decision, consulting with family and friends. Some have encouraged him to continue playing, while others have suggested he leave baseball.

Sosa, 37, was released by the Orioles after a disappointing 2005, when he hit .221 with 14 home runs and 45 RBI in 102 games.

Right Field
Baltimore Orioles

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

The "Caribbean Bambino" was affected by various injuries last year, when he made $17 millon in the last season of a five-year deal he signed with Chicago in 2002. Baltimore declined a $18 million option for 2006.

The Nationals see Sosa as an insurance policy entering spring training, in case Jose Guillen's shoulder does not heal as quickly as they would like, and also with Alfonso Soriano's apparent refusal to switch from the infield to the outfield.

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

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