The Cubs’ rocky relationship with former star Sammy Sosa — or, perhaps, the lack thereof — has been well documented. But Sosa himself hasn’t been much willing to discuss it, until participating in a chat with MLBTR contributor Chuck Wasserstrom at his personal blog. Sosa admits to some mishandling of the end of his tenure with the Cubs, saying: “My intention was to finish my career in Chicago. … The only thing we cannot do is turn back time. We can’t do that. But hey, we have to move forward. I understand I made a mistake. I regret it, definitely, but I have to move on.” There’s quite a bit of interesting information for Cubbies fans to digest; you’ll want to give the interview a full read.
Here’s more from the National League:
- Nationals manager Dusty Baker strongly hinted that the club will look to find a taker for catcher Derek Norris after agreeing to terms with Matt Wieters, as Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post tweets. “There’s always someone looking for a front line catcher,” the veteran skipper said of Norris. The addition of Wieters creates an immediate glut at the catching position for the Nats, who also employ reserve Jose Lobaton and prospect Pedro Severino. While the immediate speculation turned to the youthful Severino, who’d be a much more likely candidate to help the Nats address another need at the major league level than is Norris, he still has options and likely maintains an important place in the team’s long-term picture at the catching position.
- Over at Fangraphs, Dave Cameron opines that the Nationals’ deal with Wieters doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. While the price is reasonable enough, says Cameron, it’s just not clear that Wieters represents a significant enough upgrade over Norris to make it worthwhile. I’d note that the maneuvering could make greater sense if Washington were instead considering parting with Lobaton, whose switch-hitting capabilities aren’t as useful with a fellow two-sided hitter joining the mix, though the above-cited comments from Baker suggest that’s not the likely outcome.
- In his own look at the Wieters move, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggests that the signing was largely driven by the special relationship between agent Scott Boras and the Nationals’ ownership group. As discussed in our post on the deal, Boras and the Nats have linked up on a variety of contracts in recent years, often coming to fruition when the super agent sits down with principal owner Ted Lerner. As Rosenthal puts it, “Nats ownership … operates to its own rhythm, with Boras frequently calling out the beats.”
- NBA legend and part Dodgers owner Magic Johnson has taken over as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, and you can find all the details at MLBTR’s sister site, Hoops Rumors. Despite his new duties, Johnson’s role with the baseball organization won’t change, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports (Twitter links). “Whenever we need Magic, he’s been available,” says Dodgers president & CEO Stan Kasten. “That won’t change.”
- Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki suffered a bruised knee in a collision with fellow outfielder Brandon Barnes today, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (links to Twitter), though it was perhaps notable for reasons other than the actual injury. The ageless Ichiro is expected only to miss a few days, but did require — incredibly — the very first training-room treatment of his 16-year MLB career. Teammates used the opportunity not only to mark that occasion, but also to have some fun at Barnes’ expense. A note, signed by Ichiro, was left at his emptied locker informing him that he had been cut loose and wishing him good luck in Korea.