Every media outlet is reporting that Sammy is heading to the Orioles for Jerry Hairston, Jr. and two minor leaguers. The names of the minor leaguers that seem to keep coming up are pitcher Dave Crouthers and infielder Mike Fontenot.
It became apparent last weekend--at the Cub convention--when fans booed Sosa in a video that the brainwashing of fans by the flagship radio station along with Dusty Baker had been a success. The fandom that had followed Sosa's meteoric rise to superstar was no longer interested in their one time hero. Sosa's numbers as a Cub speak for themselves and he will hold a special place in Cubs lore.
What the Cubs are getting in Jerry Hairston is the leadoff hitter that they need. The 28 year old second baseman/outfielder has had injury filled seasons in 2003 & 2004. Hairston is a lifetime .261 hitter with a .334 lifetime OBP. The reality of this trade is the Cubs see this as addition by the subtraction of the future HOFer Sosa. This deal creates an OF hole for the Cubs. The names of (gulp) Burnitz, Huff and Ordonez have been thrown around. Maggs is unlikely as the Tigers have given him an offer the Jim Hendry won't (and shouldn't) match.
What's in this for the O's? The Orioles need a PR splash. Baltimore/Washington is now a two team region with the Nationals coming to town. Peter Angelos and Mike Flanagan have failed to acquire Pavano and Los Delgado. One thing about Sammy is he is popular nationally. Sammy will put butts in the seats at Camden Yards. Sammy will also hit alot of balls out to the 364' gap in left center (see The Cubdom's SammyStock Day 3) at Oriole Park. By moving to the AL Sammy can become a DH and extend his career.
This is a bittersweet deal for me as a Cub fan. I understand that it was time for Sammy to leave. Hopefully this move will make the Cubs a team again. Still it is hard to see a legend at Clark and Addison leave in such a bitter way. I do not think the Tribs anti-Sammy campaign following last season was beneficial to anyone. Following the departures of the popular Steve Stone and the once popular Sosa there is little doubt that Dusty Baker is the King of Cubdom right now. Long live the King.
.....More on the Sammy Trade as it becomes available.....
Update: the Cubs are going to pay $10 million of Sammy's $17 million salary in 2005. Sammy and the MLB Players Union have agreed to waive his option on 2006. This deal simply needs Uncle Bud Selig's approval and it's over.
It'll be real interesting to see what Jim Hendry does next to reshape your 2005 Chicago Cubs.