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Hey Hey, Cubs Fans! Welcome to SammyStock 2004! Where legitimacy isn't the concern... its just rumors, free, casual rumors, with whoever happens to be in the majors.
We've got a lot of great suitors out there, so lets get Rumor mongering! Yeah!
What would possess the Devil Rays to desire Sammy Sosa? You know, the Devil Rays with their $28 million dollar payroll? Well, I'll tell you: 35.5%, 29.1%, 28.9%, 36.6%. Those four numbers are the Devil Rays attendance as a percent of capacity from 2001 - 2004. Following a fairly steep decline, the club learned that a team breaking .500 might attract a few fans.
So, with the lure of Sammy possibly surpassing 600 dongs this season, he needs 26, the Rays might be willing to take on a few dollars for some extra paying customers.
Some other factors that give this deal a chance are the following: Sammy has a home in Miami. Yahoo! Maps says that 1 Tropicana Dr. St. Petersburg Fl, 33705 is approximately 264.1 miles from 'Miami, Fl.' Yahoo! also tells me this would take 4 hours and 29 minutes to drive, but I've seen Sammy's car, and I'll bet he could do it in about three hours.
I'm not suggesting Sammy would commute, but it might be nice to be close to his home. Also, the Devil Rays play their spring games in the state of Florida.
At the very least, it would make Sammy's tax filing a little easier. At the most, it could save him a few bucks. (Florida not having an income tax and all. Illinois has a 3% income tax, but I don't have any idea how much of Sam's income is taxable by the state of Illinois.)
Of course, the Devil Rays might also be interested in a big name player who will bring a few extra SportsCenter highlights, and may also be a drawing card for the large immigrant population in the state.
All in all, The Devil Rays and Sammy have some excellent reasons to pair up (You don't think Sammy would be the star of that team?). So who's coming to Chicago? Thats a pretty tricky question. I think the one name that is obvious would be Danys Baez. Not only does Baez earn over $1 million (one of seven D-Rays with that distinction in 2004, $1.75 M to be exact), but Baez is also a closer. Or, at least he has 55 saves the last two seasons, while posting a sub 4.00 era both years. Although he blew 10 in 2003 with the Indians, he cut that number to 3 last year while pitching for sweet Lou.
Now if the Devil Rays were to pay all of Sammy's salary, this would be a fair deal, but this is the Devil Rays we are talking about here, so the Cubs will have to pony up at least $7-$10 million. In return, they will ask for Carl Crawford, who fits everything the Cubs think they need.
Crawford is a very fast left fielder who hits lead-off with a little pop (11 dingers in '04). His OBP isn't too high, and most of that is from his average. He is a career .286 hitter with a .315 OBP, but looks to be on an upward career path. His '04 numbers included a .296 Avg, a .331 OBP, a .450 SLG, 81 strikeouts, and only 35 bases-clogging walks! The Cubs scouts have got to be licking their chops over this guy!
So the deal, when everything closes up will be Sammy and $8.5 million to the Devil Rays for Danny Baez and Carl Crawford.... The Orioles
The Orioles are looking for more offense, and Sammy Sosa could be the one to start taking shots at the B&O warehouse in Baltimore. The dimensions down the line are 333 to left, and 318 to right. The power alleys are 364 in left center, and 373 to right center. So yes, small Sammy would probably have plenty of success playing in Camden Yards.
In a trade for Sammy, the Orioles would probably look to unload Sidney Ponson. From what I can ascertain, it looks like Ponson has two years and $19.5 million left on his contract. Provided Sammy nixes the 2006 option on his contract, this might be a straight up deal. However, the Cubs are likely to look for a little something more, and so I might suggest Larry Bigbie. Not only is his hometown, Hobart, Indiana, 25 minutes from my permahome, and an hour from Wrigley, Bigbie is a developing left fielder (15 homers) with a .280 Avg (.340 OBP) and lots of strikeouts (113 in 478 at-bats, 4.23 AB/K). In many ways, I think Bigbie could be the second coming of the 'Dandy Little Glove Man' Mickey Morandini himself!... The Blue Jays
J.P. Riccardi, the Jays GM is one of the 'new school' GM's from the Billy Beane school of thought. So, why he would be interested in Sosa is a good question. However, the team recently purchased the SkyDome and now has an even better incentive to draw a few more fans. They will also be losing Carlos Delgado and his $19.7 million salary, so they have some payroll flexibility.
As for players to send to the Cubs, the Blue Jays are rather thin. They don't really have a closer, although both Jason Frasor and Vinnie Chaulk had at least 13 saves last season. However, both of these guys are young, cheap, and haven't attained any kind of status as a closer, so I doubt the Cubs are interested.
As for overpaid players, aside from Delgado, who is now gone, Riccardi has followed Beane's example and kept the big contracts to a minimum. Roy Halladay got $6 million in 2004, but I'm not completely crazy, so we won't be getting him. I guess that leaves the Cubs with Miguel Batista ($3.6 million in 2004) and his 4.80 ERA while posting a 10-13 record. So, my guess is any trade with the Jays would include some moneyball type prospects, Sammy, and the Cubs would get Miguel Batista. I don't think any cash would switch hands in this deal.... The Red Sox
Um, Matt Clement felt really bad about smashing Sammy's boom box on the last day of the season. Immediately upon arriving in Boston, he asked Theo Epstein if he could show him how to use the clubhouse phone. So Theo placed the call and the Cubs switchboard operator mistakenly routed the call to Jim Hendry's cell phone, rather than Sammy's 30-30 shopping mall in the Dominican. When Epstein realized he was talking to Hendry, they started chatting about the Nomar trade. Epstein mentioned that it sure was a good thing he upgraded his defense, and Hendry saw an opening.
Manny Ramirez, and cash will come to the Cubs, while Sammy will be sent to the BoSox as a defensive upgrade for Ramirez. Matt Murton, the minor leaguer who came over with Nomar, will also be returned to Red Sox Nation.... The Yankees
Fearing his third string DH position is weak, George Steinbrenner orders Brian Cashman to go find one. As he walks out the door, Steinbrenner mutters something about how important a third string DH is, and so Cashman decides to shoot the moon. He calls up Jim Hendry, informs him that "Mr. Steinbrenner would like that home run hitter you have", and offers Hendry his pick of the remains of the Yankee farm system.
Hendry politely declines and asks for Kevin Brown and $10 million in cash. Cashman quickly replies, "But if I give you Brown, then I can't pay my fifth starter at least $10 million."
Realizing Cashman's bind, Hendry places a conference call getting John Schuerholz on the line, with Billy Beane and says, "OK guys, here is the deal. Billy, you can take anything you want from the Yankees farm system. John, you get Barry Zito, Brian you get Sammy Sosa and Mike Hampton. Billy, you are going to give us Charles Thomas, Schuerholz, you will give us Danny Kolb. Cashman, you need to give Billy $15 million and a copy of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King extended edition DVD.
Cashman: "That sounds good to me." Schuerholz: "Thats another 4 division titles." Beane: "Could we get some popcorn to go with the DVD?"
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