Sammy Sosa Rumors
FRIDAY, 9:10am: Sherman reports that Sheffield demanded to be released or traded to the Marlins.
THURSDAY, 8:48pm: SI's Jon Heyman reports, via Twitter, that the Giants were the team that claimed Sheffield on waivers earlier this month.
6:23pm: David Lennon at Newsday reminds us that earlier this month, the Mets placed Sheff on waivers, but pulled him back when he was claimed. This means he cannot be traded; the Mets could release him or place him on irrevocable waivers and lose him if he is claimed.
5:57pm: Via Twitter, Sherman cites a Mets official who says that "Sheffield has not been released."
5:47pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that Gary Sheffield and the Mets are at odds about his contract situation. Sherman cites "two sources" who say that Sheffield asked the team for a contract extension and was denied. The sources say he is now threatening to leave the team.
The two parties are now in discussions, according to Sherman, and the release of the aging outfielder is "a possibility." Sheffield was pulled from the roster for tonight's game, but Jerry Manuel said he pulled himself "to clear his head."
Links for Tuesday evening...
- Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times reports that lawyers with knowledge of MLB's 2003 drug tests say Sammy Sosa tested positive for PEDs that year. Not our domain here at MLBTR, but easily the biggest baseball story of the day.
- Tom Verducci of SI.com reports that Bryce Harper has been flooded with interview requests since being profiled on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
- Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star believes the Jays should pursue Pedro Martinez.
- ESPN.com's Jayson Stark profiles Raul Ibanez and the hot start to the 37-year-old's season.
- Not only did the Rockies agree to terms with Tim Wheeler, they made progress with Rex Brothers and signed 27 players in total, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
Yoel Adames of ESPNdeportes.com is reporting that Sammy Sosa will announce his formal retirement from baseball soon. Sosa was still waiting for contract offers as recently as last Christmas. He last played in the Major Leagues in 2007, when he hit .252-.311-.468 in 454 plate appearances for the Texas Rangers. Sosa will retire sixth on the all-time career homerun list with 609.
Mike Axisa writes for River Ave. Blues.
C. Trent Rosecrans of TheLotD.com also talked with Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty today. Here are some conversation highlights:
- The Reds are still talking to Jerry Hairston Jr. to play left field. "We’re still trying to get Hairston," Jocketty told Rosecrans. "We’ll have a different look on our club, but we still have guys like (Joey) Votto, (Jay) Bruce, (Brandon) Phillips, (Edwin) Encarnacion and even (Ramon) Hernandez with power."
- Jocketty hasn't spoken with Pat Burrell in awhile. They are holding back on that one right now.
- Health remains a serious issue with Rocco Baldelli, Jocketty said.
- The Reds have been in discussion with the New York Yankees about their extra outfielders, but no deals are close.
- No Barry Bonds; no Sammy Sosa.
The MLB Hot Stove Blog is reporting that free-agent veteran Sammy Sosa won't be playing for the Florida Marlins.
Joe Frisaro believes the Marlins want to go into Spring Training with a younger group of outfielders, in particular John Raynor and Scott Cousins, competing for a major-league job.
Raynor is a speedster and played for Double-A Carolina Mudcats in 2008. He hit .312 over 452 plate appearances, and he stole 48 bases. He can play left field or center field.
Cousins split 2008 between Carolina and High-A Jupiter. He hit .304 with the Jupiter squad and dropped to .264 with the Double-A club. He primarily saw time at right field and center field.
Frisaro wrote that Jeremy Hermida will switch from right field to left field, and Cody Ross will be in right field.
Rangers beat writer Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes that the Texas Rangers don't want Sosa's services, either. "I don't think we'll pursue Sammy," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels wrote.
C. Trent Rosecrans of TheLotD.com, and formerly of the Cincinnati Post, spoke with Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty about Sosa. "I don't think so," Jocketty told Rosecrans.
Does anyone have a major league job for Sammy Sosa?
That's the question that he's (still) waiting for the answer to, according to Dominican newspaper Listin Diario (via ESPN.com). "I still don't have an offer and I shouldn't be looking for offers out there," said Sosa, 40, who sat out 2008 after posting a .252/.311/.468 line for the Texas Rangers in 2007. He currently sits at 6th place on the career home run list, with 609.
Let's dig in with today's links!
- As you know, the Steinbrenners want Brian Cashman back for '09. Now it's up to him.
- Geovany Soto was discussed as a throw-in on the trade that ultimately sent Sammy Sosa to Baltimore back in '05. One that did get away that year: Ricky Nolasco (in the Juan Pierre deal).
- Michael Gluckstadt interviewed ESPN's Buster Olney.
- CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler takes a look at the deep free agent class of starting pitchers. Dave Cameron considers this "the greatest collection of free agent arms to hit free agency at the same time in the history of the game."
- Joel Sherman disagrees with the '09 Joba Rules.
- Ned Colletti, the game's best GM? It's hard to tell if T.J. Simers is being entirely serious here.
- Nick Piecoro gives a scout's take on Chad Beck, who the D'Backs sent to Toronto for David Eckstein.
- The Red Sox, Braves, and Mets are eyeing Japanese amateur pitcher Junichi Tazawa, and Patrick Newman has more details.
- John Perrotto says Pedro Alvarez is coming across as a punk.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick examines the status of nine free agents: Sammy Sosa, Kenny Lofton, Reggie Sanders, Jeff Cirillo, Royce Clayton, Steve Finley, Freddy Garcia, David Wells, and Damian Miller.
- Lofton is likely to find a job; he's healthy and played reasonably well last year. The Cubs still might be a fit.
- Seems that Garcia probably won't reach a big league mound until September; auditioning for teams may take place in July.
- Miller received calls from the Yankees and Padres, but he's still taking a Brewers or nothing stance.
ESPN's Enrique Rojas, quoting the Dominican paper Hoy, writes that Sammy Sosa intends to retire after playing in the next World Baseball Classic (to be held in March '09).
Sosa's quotes are confusing:
"There's something that I wish to state very clearly: I'm not looking for a job. In fact, I have told my agent that he should stop offering my services to MLB teams. I'm not retired. I remain highly focused and not begging for a contract."
I think Sosa's point is that he is still willing to play for an MLB team, but only if they come to him.
According to Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune, Sammy Sosa is considering retirement if he doesn't get an offer soon. Sosa passed the 600 HR plateau last year, so there's no statistical reason to hang around.
Sosa drove in 92 runs in 114 games in his comeback season for the Rangers, but struggled against right-handed pitching. Apparently he has looking for regular playing time and/or decent money to play in '08; the Royals passed on his offer to play for them. Ken Rosenthal noted back in February that the 2013 Hall of Fame voting could be mighty interesting.