'What the f--k': Sammy Sosa wants some recognition from the Cubs

'What the f--k': Sammy Sosa wants some recognition from the Cubs

A large statue representing legend Ernie Banks has rested outside Wrigley Field since 2008, recognizing the true greatness of Mr. Cub. The memorial serves an enjoyable purpose for fans who get to see Banks’ bronze replica next to the Friendly Confines on a daily basis. But for former Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa, that statue might be a constant reminder of what he does not have himself.

“I passed Ernie Banks for most home runs in Chicago Cubs history,” Sosa said in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “He has a statue, and I don’t have nothing. So, what the f--k?”

Here, Sosa does not imply that he specifically wants a statue like Banks, but he does bring up his place in Cubs’ history, which has been in question since he left the team in 2004.

Does Sosa deserve the recognition Banks has received over the years?

Sosa had a Hall of Fame-caliber career, winning six Silver Sluggers and being named a seven-time All-Star with Chicago. He had arguably the best year of his career in 1998, winning National League MVP and batting .308 with 66 home runs and 158 RBIs.

In 13 years with the Cubs, Sosa hit 545 homers, surpassing Banks’ total, and achieved a slash line of .284/.358/.569 with 1,414 RBIs. These are the kind of stats that make the former right fielder think about the way he is remembered in Chicago.

Banks played 19 seasons with the Cubs, hitting 512 home runs while knocking in 1,636 runs, giving him the advantage over Sosa in RBIs. Both players performed at a memorable level.

As of right now, only a small flag at Wrigley Field commemorates the Dominican slugger’s career. Unlike Banks’ number 14, Sosa’s number 21 with the Cubs is not retired.

Could this be due to the controversy that surrounded Sosa’s career?

Despite holding a multitude of team records, one of Sosa’s most unforgettable moments happened in 2003 when he was caught using a corked bat. He also fought allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.

In the interview with Sports Illustrated, Sosa spoke about his complicated relationship with the Ricketts family, who currently own the Cubs.

“They come in and buy the team and they have a mark on me, and I don’t know why,” Sosa said in the interview.

Another knock on Sosa over the last 15 years has been his ego after exploding as a star in the 1998 season.

In an interview with NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan this past spring, Sosa attempted to shoot down any talks of his arrogance.

“I’m a humble man,” he told Kaplan. “I’m not a man to have ego.”

But the Sports Illustrated piece mentions that a source close to the Cubs said Sosa agreed to issue an apology to achieve a ‘homecoming,’ but he changed his mind the next day.

He has not been invited to Cubs Convention or back to Wrigley Field to throw out a first pitch or sing the Seventh Inning Stretch.

For now, Sosa remains only a part of the Cubs’ past.

Christian Yelich to Yu Darvish on Twitter, 'Nobody needs help facing you'

Christian Yelich to Yu Darvish on Twitter, 'Nobody needs help facing you'

In the wake of the cheating allegations surrounding the Houston Astros, multiple parties have weighed in with their takes on the situation, and this includes Cubs starter Yu Darvish. He stated that this past season, he had noticed "weird behavior" from batters. Bleacher Nation then tweeted out a video showing Darvish stepping off the mound in a matchup against Christian Yelich and the Milwaukee Brewers, stating that he stepped off the mound because Yelich's "eyes move first...I'm not sure what he is trying to do."

Darvish then went on to elaborate that he wasn't trying to accuse the Brewers of stealing signs, rather that he was just stating what he had noticed in terms of batter behavior. Darvish made a minor grammar mistake, saying "your" instead of "you're" and when he responded to try to clarify that, it may have accidentally caused more confusion, as some mistakenly thought he was saying that Yelich indeed was stealing signs, but this was not the case.

That didn't stop Yelich from sounding off on Darvish with quite a harsh response, a response that was so harsh that some were shocked at the nature of it.

MLB free agent Josh Donaldson chimed in, humorously stating that he could definitely  use some help hitting off of Darvish and jokingly asked for what tips Yelich might have. 

Darvish then retweeted a few tweets that illustrated the point he was trying to make. 

Darvish also responded to Donaldson, saying that he doesn't think the third baseman needs any help hitting off of him either. 

At the end of the Darvish seems to be in a good place, and from his Twitter interactions, it is clear that he was not as upset or offended over the situation as Yelich was. 

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How the Cubs can get a Javier Báez deal done now


How the Cubs can get a Javier Báez deal done now

With the MLB GM Meetings now over, the Cubs will turn their attention to seeing how their fact-finding mission will influence their offseason makeover of the entire organization.

As Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Friday, the Cubs and Báez’s camp have begun negotiating a long-term contract extension. While many have speculated that Báez could command a massive salary that would rank among the top of MLB in terms of the total value, the Cubs do have some leverage. Báez still has two more years of club control, which should help to suppress the contract’s total value.

Put yourself in Báez’s shoes. If the Cubs offered you a six-year deal, would you do it? If you say yes, you have lifetime security for you and generations of the Báez family. However, you could be leaving money on the table because you would never reach free agency in the prime of your career.

Rejecting an offer of that size means you would have to perform at a level among the best players in all of baseball for two more seasons, and you would have to avoid serious injury as well. Báez plays with a flair and a passion that also puts his body in harm’s way on a daily basis.

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, 27, is two months older than Báez and the highest paid shortstop in baseball at $20 million per season. He signed a six-year, $120 million contract in 2019, which runs through the 2026 season.

Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor — who was selected No. 8 overall in the 2011 MLB Draft, one spot before Báez — will also be a free agent after the 2021 season. He made $10.55 million in 2019 and is projected to make $16.7 million in 2020.

Báez is projected to make $9.3 million.

So, would Báez accept a deal that would protect him against injury and set him up with lifetime security, knowing that with two more seasons before free agency he would potentially leave significant money on the table?

There could be three elite shortstops on the free agent market after the 2021 season: Báez, Lindor and Trevor Story of the Rockies. This may affect what each guy could make on the open market and what they might be willing to accept in a deal now. 

Add in the fact that there will be a new MLB collective bargaining agreement by the time those three stars hit the market, and there should be some impetus for them to get a deal done now. Multiple MLB front office sources expect Lindor to be dealt before he reaches free agency and some of those same sources believe Story could be traded before then as well.

What about a deal that helps the Cubs achieve payroll flexibility in 2020 and 2021 and locks Báez in long-term?

A former high-ranking MLB executive suggested a deal structure that pays Báez $10 million in 2020, $16 million in 2021, plus six additional years at an average annual value of $23 million. That would bring the total value of the contract to $164 million.

Add in two club options for an additional two seasons at $30 million each and it allows Báez to have the largest contract of all active shortstops in MLB. Total value of the deal: $224 million; guaranteed value of the deal: $164 million.

A deal structured like that gives the Cubs certainty with one of their most talented and marketable players and protects Báez from serious injury for the rest of his career.

Would he sign a deal structured like that? I know I would. There is no greater feeling in the world than long-term financial security. A deal structured like this is a win-win for both sides.

If the Cubs won’t give Báez a deal in this ballpark, then they have to think about moving him now. You can’t allow a player of his magnitude to reach free agency and you absolutely cannot lose him to another team. He is on a potential Hall of Fame track and he is one of the most charismatic players in all of professional sports.

This deal has to get done.

If the Cubs can sign Báez for less than the aforementioned deal, then they should consider themselves very lucky.

Either way, get a deal done. Javy Báez has to be priority No. 1.

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