No Joy in Cubville

MB writes:

Where’s a blurb about Sosa? I’ve been awaiting your comments.

Sorry to keep you waiting.

It’s official: Sammy Sosa is no longer a member of the Chicago Cubs. The Players Union approved a trade that sends Sammy to Baltimore for Jerry Hairston Jr. and a couple of minor leaguers.

Sammy: Going to the Orioles

It appeared inevitable after Sammy took off rather than sticking around for the meaningless final game of the 2004 season. Sammy felt slighted by the way he was used by Dusty Baker late in the season, even though Dusty hung with Sammy in the three-hole a lot longer than his .253 batting average deserved.

Hairston, whose father I remember from his 14 years with the White Sox, is no Sosa, but he’ll fit into an outfield rotation with Corey Patterson, Todd Hollandsworth, Jose Macias, and Jason Dubois. The minor leaguers may or may not ever make the team, but I don’t think it’s important either way.

This trade is classic addition by subtraction. The Cubs should have given the Cardinals a battle for the NL Central last year. They had the best starting rotation in baseball, and they led the league in home runs. However, the late relief, closer LaTroy Hawkins, and an overdependence on the home run–the team was only 7th in the league in scoring–kept the Cubs out of the postseason.

The Cubs made far too many mistakes for a team with so many veterans. That boils down to attitude. Three of the problem children are gone: Sosa, Moises Alou, and lefty reliever Kent Mercker. Even though that’s 60-70 home runs and 160-180 RBIs gone from the lineup, my gut feeling is that the team will be better for it.

So long, Sammy. You were a delight to watch. But it was clearly time to go.

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