A reader emailed me with an interesting trade rumor nugget that I hadn’t noticed before. He directed me to the sidebar of a recent ESPN Deportes article by Enrique Rojas:
"Sammy Sosa, who has been mulling retiring from baseball after receiving only a non-guaranteed contract offer from the Washington Nationals, received an unexpected visitor Sunday at his home in Miami: Alex Rodriguez. The New York Yankees third baseman called on Sosa in order to find out from the slugger himself how the "Caribbean Bambino" is doing, according to Tuesday’s edition of the Hoy newspaper in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
A source close to Sosa told Hoy that Rodriguez was not there as a "messenger" for the Yankees, but that he just wanted to find out what was going on with the 1998 National League MVP, and what his plans are for 2006. In the past, the Yankees have used star players as "advance scouts" in some key trade and free agent negotiations."
Alright, so this looks like a non-rumor based on Hoy’s information. But for the sake of my own amusement, let’s take a look at the Yankees’ depth chart.
First off, you’ve got the 37 year-old Gary Sheffield without much backup in right field. Admittedly, he’s been very healthy for the past three seasons. But how much do the Yanks want to push their luck that he plays 154 games again?
Second, Bernie Williams is listed as the primary DH. I’m not sure if Sosa could outdo Williams’s .249/.321/.367 line. But this is a ballclub that gave 170 ABs to Ruben Sierra last year. Sosa can probably still hit lefties reasonably well (.841 OPS in 2005 though just 104 ABs), and he might swallow his pride for a team with the Yankees’ stature. I’m just saying is all.
UPDATE: Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune thinks Sosa should use the WBC as an audition, assuming he can pass the steroid test.