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Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
by alex ciepley
Apparently, I forgot about DHL. They seem to have some special dropoff point in L.A. county.
The new flavor of the minute in the Sammy Sweepstakes is the Dodgers, with rumors, rumors, rumors that the Dodgers and Cubs will try to pull off a Sammy Sosa-Shawn Green swap at the upcoming GM meetings. There are plenty of reasons to think this trade would never happen--not the least of which is that these types of blockbusters tend to surprise--so it's likely a bunch of hooey.
But hey, we like our Sosa rumors. Here are some Fors and Againsts:
1) Shawn Green is cheaper.
By, like, a teensy tiny bit. And when you throw in the no-trade, do-what-I-want, screw-you, and sayonara payments owed Sosa, Green's contract would actually be a few million off the tally. Unfortunately, I'm sure the Cubs would have to ante up the alimony, and the money would be a wash.
2) Shawn Green was better last year.
By, like, a teensy tiny bit. Both Sosa and Green have declined in bunches over the past three years, though Sammy has gone from higher heights to slightly lower lows.
Basically, Sosa and Green were both worth the big bucks in 2002, but have become relatively stinky in their recent goes at it. Even if they maintain this current level of production, though, I'd much rather have Green's higher OBP than Sosa's higher SLG.
3. Shawn Green plays more
Sosa used to play in all the games, but as the chart above shows, he now misses his fair share of time. Whether it's because he's being naughty with cork or rambunctious with sneezes, Sammy can no longer be counted on to play a full season. Green, on the other hand, has missed virtually no time at all in the past few years, despite some serious shoulder woes.
4) Green is younger
By a couple years. Though honestly, we really don't know how old Sosa really is. Some speculate Sammy is actually a year younger than his listed date, while others claim he's really 57. At any rate, Green is greener by at least two bits, and that counts for something, I suppose.
5) Green is left-handed
Even if all else is equal, this is still a big point in Shawn's favor. The problems with the Cubs' righty-dominated lineup are generally way overblown, but it would be nice to have a legit middle-of-the-order guy swinging from the left.
1) Sosa's upside may be greater
Despite all evidence to the contrary, I still feel that Sosa might have one more very good season in him. That said, I still think I'll end up marrying some rich hottie who owns an island off the coast of Thailand. Possible, but perhaps not likely. Maybe Sammy won't be 60-homer good, or .420 OBP good, but he might have another season with some oomph in 'im. Green had some great seasons a couple years back, but Sosa--at his best--is a better offensive player.
2) The DePodesta factor
For no reason in particular, I worry about the Cubs trading with a GM like DePodesta. I really shouldn't feel this way, since even a smart GM can make a good trade that doesn't work out: DePo was right, for example, to trade Lo Duca and Mota, but it didn't work out in the end... at least for the 2004 season. That said, I just think the chance that the Cubs get the short end of the stick may be higher in dealing with a smarty-pants guy like DePodesta.
3) He is still, after all, Sammy
Sosa has worn out his welcome, sure, but it would be pretty sad to see him leave the Cubs after all the great things he brought the team. (And yes, despite his recent fumblings, Sosa has been a truly remarkable player for the Cubs.) I'd like to see him finish his career as a Cub. In fact, I'd go as far as to say there is no Cub I'd rather see hit a walk-off bomb in the bottom of the ninth in Game Seven of the World Series. But if trading him helps get the Cubs to the World Series, then I'll suck it up and deal.