Cubs GM Jim Hendry still is trying to work out a trade that would send slugger Sammy Sosa to the Washington Nationals, but this might prove to be tricky business.
GM Jim Bowden has a projected 2005 payroll of $59 million and has said he has about $6 million to play with.
If Hendry swings a deal for Sosa, the Cubs likely would get left fielder Terrmel Sledge in return.
I understand that because of his big salary and lessened stature that a player of obviously equal quality won't come back to the Cubs in a Sosa deal. However, that doesn't mean that a 28 year-old with a nondescript minor league track record who hit .269/.336/.462 with fewer than 400 at bats at the major league level is appropriate compensation, especially when there's only $6M in payroll relief to be had.
I don't know who De Luca's source is on this and I have no idea if there's any veracity to what he writes, but I can only hope that Jim Hendry understands that when the end result of a deal is that you're essentially paying $11M for Terrmel Sledge's services in 2005, failing to run away isn't merely incompetent, it's grounds for flogging and a long stay at Big Muddy River.
I'll readily admit that speculation involving a deal with the Nationals for Brad Wilkerson is of pipe dream quality, but that has a lot to do with Washington continuing to be mentioned as a trade partner for Sosa, coupled with what's actually on the Nationals' roster.
Beyond Wilkerson, Jose Vidro, and possibly Nick Johnson, there isn't a position player on their 40-man who would be worth acquiring in trade, but Vidro and Johnson don't get mentioned as we toss names around because their positions are already filled in Chicago. Wilkerson may not turn out to be available - in fact, I'd bet that Johnson is the only one of those three who could be had for less than a good young Major League starting pitcher, an offer Hendry would never make - but he's the only position player in D.C. who would make a trade worth doing for the Cubs.