Maybe Sosa shouldn't be so calm

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After spending the last six months or so sitting around waiting for his phone to ring, Sammy Sosa is finally ready to call it quits.

He’ll walk away with quite a resume:
609 home runs (sixth all-time), three seasons with more than 60 home
runs, seven All-Star appearances, one MVP award. Clearly, Hall of Fame
numbers.

He’ll also carry with him, however, the stigma of steroid abuse.
None of it concrete or proven, mind you, but a large enough pile of
circumstantial evidence to raise plenty of suspicions.

In comments made Wednesday to ESPN, Sosa was already engaged in a
preemptive attack on anyone who would doubt his candidacy for
Cooperstown.

“Everything I achieved, I did it thanks to my perseverance, which is
why I never had any long, difficult moments [as a baseball player]. If
you have a bad day in baseball, and start thinking about it, you will
have ten more.

“I will calmly wait for my induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Don’t I have the numbers to be inducted?”

It’s an odd turn of phrase, and likely little more than bluster. Anyone
who would “calmly” wait out such an honor would not feel the need to
announce it to the world. Sammy Sosa is going on the offensive, while
sounding quite defensive about it.

In a thoughtful column for the Chicago Sun-Times, Chris De Luca takes Sosa to task. He has some questions for Sosa that he’d like answered.

Why, De Luca asks, didn’t Sosa meet with Sen. George Mitchell?

Why would Jose Canseco – who has been proven correct on a number of steroid issues – say that the physical changes in Sosa’s body clearly point to use of performance-enhancers?

Why, given the chance to confront the allegations, would Sosa take a pass?

While Sosa is calmly waiting for his induction to the Hall of Fame
— he can expect some anxious moments — he better either keep his
mouth shut on the subject of steroids or be willing to take the
allegations against him head-on.

So is Sosa a Hall of Famer? If it were solely up to the numbers, the question would be ridiculous. First ballot, no problem.

But as Mark McGwire has found out, it’s not going to be that easy. When
Sosa’s name comes up on the ballot in five years, voters will be faced
with these two questions:

1. Do you believe Sammy Sosa took performance-enhancing drugs?
2. Does it matter?

In the next five years, more information could come forth either
damning or absolving Sosa on the first question. It’s unlikely, but
possible.

So it will probably come down to the second question. Does it matter? Keep in mind, voters are asked to consider character.

Voting — Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

So far, based on the actions of Hall of Famer voters, it does indeed
matter. Unless Sosa comes up with a good explanation, he would be
advised to not sit and wait so calmly.

Danny Espinosa reportedly skipped Nationals Winterfest because of Adam Eaton

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Danny Espinosa #8 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after teammate Chris Heisey #14 (not pictured) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.

A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.

Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.

Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.

Nick Cafardo: Red Sox should deal Pomeranz, not Buchholz

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.

The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.

Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.

Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.