Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Sigh! Not More Sosa!

Alright, you're getting sick of it. I'm getting sick of it. But it won't last much longer. I promise. Cut me some slack, I haven't mentioned anything about Barry Larkin in a week.

Murray Chass writes about a grand conspiracy in the New York Times. He thinks that the Nats were blocked from completing a trade for him because Selig wanted to appease Angelos.

The Cubs, disenchanted with Sosa, will pay $12 million of the 2005 salary and the $3.5 million severance. When they were talking with the Nationals last week, they were prepared to pay even more of the total....

To take suspicion to the extreme, suppose baseball officials, knowing the Orioles wanted Sosa, made sure that the Nationals didn't get him first.
Whether it was Tavares, the Selig-appointed Nationals president, or an official above him, perhaps someone blocked the Nationals from completing a trade with the Cubs.

Budget could always be used as the reason, no matter how little of Sosa's $17 million salary the Nationals would have had to pay, even as little as $2 million.

This would explain why baseball people were hearing Friday morning that the Nationals were getting Sosa, then have it turn around later in the day to have the Orioles getting him.

I don't know if I believe it, but it certainly seems plausible. The AP reported (10th paragraph) that the Nats were in negotiations for Sosa as late as friday. And the Post reports that Angelos resumed negotiations with Selig and Dupuy yesterday. (Second Story)

Regardless of what happened to cause the deal to short circuit, it's pretty clear that the best thing happened for all parties. Sosa's pretty cleary a good fit in Baltimore. Apparently, 5,000 new season ticket plans were sold. (I think the Orioles count the mini-plans as season tickets.)

He just wasn't as valuable to the Nats. We've got more outfielders than we know what to do with. The Orioles has holes at first and in the outfield. The Nats have a huge demand for tickets and plenty of positive buzz. The Orioles needed to strengthen their ticket sales and have been written off for dead by most casual fans. It just makes more sense for Baltimore.

And if it was Selig and his typically-Machiavellian ways, then thanks, Bud. You've done both teams a favor.