Ignoring the prospect of smashed boomboxes, corked bats, indifferent defense, slower bat speed, decreased muscle mass and a short fuse, the NY Daily News’ Mike Lupica makes a less than compelling argument for the Mets’ pursuit of Sammy Sosa.
Sammy Sosa is the same age as Gary Sheffield. Start there. Sosa just turned 36, Sheffield turns 36 next week. It doesn’t mean Sosa had the year that Sheffield had, or was any kind of MVP candidate. Sosa used to be the MVP, and hit 60 home runs every season. He doesn’t do that anymore, and isn’t going to do it again. He only knocked in 80 runs last season. Sheffield knocked in a ton for the Yankees, even if he did have Jeter and A-Rod hitting in front of him.
But in a year when he was supposed to have turned into some kind of bum, he hit 35 home runs. Sheffield hit 36. Why is it the crime of the century for the Mets to consider making a deal for him?
Sosa is scheduled to make $17 million next year for the Cubs, even though it is impossible to see him playing for the Cubs after the way last season ended. There is no way the Mets go for him at a price like that, or should go for him at a price like that. If the Cubs are as hot to move Sosa as we all hear, then they are not just going to have to take Cliff Floyd and the $14 million that the Mets still owe him, they are going to have to take on some of Sosa’s salary.
The Rangers did it to get out from under A-Rod’s contract. The Cubs would have to do that to move Sosa to New York. There may be a few more takers out there than the Mets. You wonder where they are. Omar Minaya has history with Sosa, because he helped sign him to his first contract, back in the day, with the Texas Rangers. He is intrigued by the idea of making a big move and putting Sosa in the outfield at Shea.
Can Minaya do it? Maybe he has a 50-50 shot, the way things look right now. But if the Mets can somehow get Sosa’s salary under control, and get rid of Floyd – who started talking about retirement in the middle of last season – in the process, why would this be the worst move in the history of the franchise?
In terms of the worst Mets moves ever, it probably wouldn’t be as bad as McDowell/Dykstra for Juan Samuel, or even Appier for Vaughn, but for a club that needs to get faster, younger and strike out less often, this would be the wrong deal —presuming Chicago are dumb enough to take Floyd, whose appeal is more tangible to an AL club. Is Lupica making the Sheffield analogy because of the steroid rumors surrounding Sosa? Drugs or not, Sheffield didn’t appear to be slowing down during his final year in Atlanta, nor can I recall the terminally battered and bruised Yankee missing playing time after a painful sneeze.