By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 31, 2005 11:45PM
After months of bickering between Cubs management and Sammy Sosa, it's looking like a deal sending the fading superstar to the Baltimore Orioles will be completed sometime in the next couple days. A number of hurdles have to be crossed before the deal is official, but none likely to kill the deal.
In return for Sosa, Baltimore will send the Cubs Jerry Hariston Jr. and two minor leaguers. As part of the deal, the Cubs will pay $12.5 million towards Sosa's 2005 salary and a buyout of his 2006 option year. Clearly, by giving up so much cash and receiving so little talent in return for Sosa the Cubs had become very desperate to move the disgruntled outfielder.
There was a time that Sosa overtook MJ as the most popular athlete in this city. But years of deminished stats, clearer skin, wierd injuries and the corked bat all fueled speculation that Sosa has been using steroids during his epic home run race with Mark McGwire. An ego that continued to grow even as his production declined created turmoil with his teammates and manager. His early departure from Wrigley during the first inning of the final game of the season pretty much sealed his fate.
As much as Cubs GM Jim Hendry tried all winter to convince the fans and media that the Cubs would welcome Sosa back this season with open arms, this deal proves he was willing to take just about anything to remove a cancer from the Cubs clubhouse. Chicagoist stated back in November that Sosa needed to go, and we still believe that the Cubs will be a better team this season without him -- regardless of who fills his position in right field.