All of Chicago is abuzz these days with talks about the Cubs trading their brightest star, outfielder Sammy Sosa, to the Texas Rangers.
Fans are outraged, and Cubs owner Andy MacPhail, trying to maintain some semblance of control, keeps lying through his teeth, saying that no trade will be made.
The trade would likely be a five-for-one swap, with the Cubs getting players such as outfielder Gabe Kapler, relief pitcher Jeff Zimmerman Ruben Mateo and possibly additional minor league prospects.
From the Cubs’ point of view, I think this would be a steal. They have so many holes that Sosa can’t possibly fill them all by himself. A big trade for their star might have a similar effect on them as the trading of Herschel Walker had on the Dallas Cowboys back in 1989. That trade was directly responsible for bringing Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith to the team, the duo that caused the Dallas dynasty in the 1990s.
This kind of affect was also felt by the Colorado Avalance when they traded Eric Lindros and recieved draft picks that would eventually produce Peter Forsberg.
That said, should the Cubs make the deal? Yes. That is, if Sosa wants them to make it.
First of all, because Sosa has been in the major leagues for 10 years and spent the last five of them with the same team, he has the power to block any proposed trade. Trying to trade him somewhere he doesn’t want to go would be futile. More importantly, the Cubs owe it to Sosa to send him somewhere that he wants to go.
When Sosa hit 66 home runs in 1998, and again the following year when he hit 63, he virtually carried the Cubs and all of baseball on his back. The Major Leagues were still reeling from the strike that wiped out the 1994 World Series, and Sosa, with the help of Mark McGwire, brought baseball back from the brink of utter catastrophe.
The way that Sosa and McGwire composed themselves throughout the race to knock down Roger Maris’ immortalized single-season home run record was both an honor to watch and a testament to the character of the two men.
So now it is time to pay Sosa back. The only problem is that nobody seems to know what he wants to do. Last season, he basically demanded a trade, and later in the year he said he wanted to end his career, where he started, in Texas.
Sammy, it makes it hard for people to honor you by doing your will when you can’t resolve what it is.
When Sosa finally decides what he wants, it should be given to him with haste. Baseball and the Cubs owe him at least that much.