Sosa fumes at Cubs over his unretired number 21

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Sammy Sosa hit 545 of his 609 career home runs as a Cub, won an MVP as a Cub in 1998 and was named to a total of seven All-Star games.  All as a Cub. 

Now the organization seemingly wants little to do with him, and he opened up to ChicagoMag.com on Monday about how it has affected his life after baseball.

Sosa’s name appears on an engraved stone outside of Wrigley Field and there is a flag on the roof of the stadium that pays tribute to the slugger’s record-breaking 66 home runs from 1998. 

But Sosa would like his number retired, along with the other Cubs greats, and it’s currently being used by rookie outfielder Tyler Colvin.

“That number should be untouchable because of the things that I did for
that organization,” Sosa said. “That right there shows me that they
don’t care about me, and they don’t want to have a good relationship
with me.”

The steroid era tainted the legacy of many of the last decade’s stars, but some have found a way to hug it out and be re-embraced.  Mark McGwire owned up to using performance-enhancers this offseason in a teary interview with MLB Network’s Bob Costas and now he is serving as the hitting coach of the Cardinals.  Jason Giambi apologized for his mistakes in 2005 and sends the Coors Field crowd into an uproar when he pinch-hits now in Colorado.  Andy Pettitte has moved on, and is going to play a major role in the Yankees’ quest for a 28th World Series this October.

The path to forgiveness must start with an apology, and Sosa has yet to acknowledge that he deceived the Wrigley Field faithful in the 90s and early 2000s.  He must come clean or the current feelings in Chicago and around the game of baseball are doubtful to change.

Dodgers, Cubs could be interested in Justin Verlander

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.

The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.

Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.

We wait see.

A 30-year-old rookie won his major league debut

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The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.

That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.

Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.