And just like that, he was gone.
Say what you will about Sammy Sosa. He was caught using a corked bat (despite physics studies that say cork doesn't help, by the way.) He was selfish, left games early, and whined about being moved to 6th in the batting order. He had a terrible 2nd half of '04. All that is true. But he was Mr. Cub, and it's going to be a little strange to see the Cub lineup without Sammy.
Ok, sentimentality aside, how does it affect the Astros?
Well, it's hard to analyze the deal (Jerry Hairston Jr. and from 2-4 minor leaguers for Sosa, and the Cubs pay around 10 of Sosa' 17 million dollar salary) by itself, because I think the Cubs aren't done dealing. Rumors say they'll trade some of those prospects to Tampa for Aubrey Huff, or to Washington for Brad Wilkerson or maybe even go after Magglio Ordonez (thought Boras wants SEVEN YEARS...screw you, Boras). If the Cubs follow up by doing that, I think they'll be a better team. If they platoon Hairston at 2nd with Walker or play Hairston in LF and sign Jeromy Burnitz, I think this a bad, bad move by them. Maybe Andy can answer this better than I can, but had Sosa really fallen so far so fast? Did he have to be traded? From the Orioles perspective, I think it was a necessary kind of move since they missed out on Beltran and Delgado and everyone else. Giving up a guy they can easily replace (Brian Roberts can play 2nd) and some decent prospects in return for an aging but still effective slugger is probably a good deal, and Sosa should sell tickets, if nothing else. It's also the first time two 500 HR guys (Sosa and Raffy) are on the same team. Check out this middle of the lineup for the 0's:
Go back and see how Mora did last year, and you see that this lineup might score a helluva lot of runs. Too bad their pitching is craptacular.
Anyway, more Astros thoughts - if the Cubs make a trade for Huff and include Jason DuBois in the trade, the Rays would probably love to move Jose Cruz Jr., who I'm sure would love to come play for the 'Stros. So if that happens I'd be pretty happy, as Cruz Jr. would make a better all-around CF than anyone we've got.
I'm still stunned Sosa's not a Cub. It might take me a few days. He was a worthy adversary.