Wednesday, February 02, 2005

posted by James - 5:46 PM

"Yes, the Cubs will pay him his "true market value" to play for somebody else next year..."

I said that in my post Saturday night... and apparently, I was wrong (I'm writing a lot like Ron White these days. I sure hope I don't get brought up on copyright charges or something). Oh, somebody will pay Sammy Sosa his true market value next year, but it's not the Cubs...

They'll pay a lot more.

When I wrote that on Saturday, I was talking purely in terms of salary. And maybe someone, somewhere could make a case Sosa is worth the portion of his salary the Cubs will pick up for 2005. But the amount of monies Sosa will "earn" in 2005 doesn't stop there.

Here's a breakdown of those monies:


2006 option buyout:

Contractual severance pay:
Total Due Sosa:

$17 million

$4.5 million

$3.5 million
$25 million

That's a whole lot of money, and Sosa will get every cent of it next year whether he passes today's physical or not.

Ok, funny thing just happened (it's also kinda why this post took so darned long). I'm writing about this and my Yahoo Messenger pops this at me:
1 new message: From: cubs.com; Subj: BASEBALL NEWS: Sosa goes to O's, Burnitz becomes a Cub.
So apparently, I can talk about this in a more official nature, specifically the amount of money the Cubs will "save" with this deal.

The AP has reported the full details of the transaction including the changes to the four-year, $72 million contract Sosa agreed to before the 2002 season.

First off, Sosa has waived the contractual provision stating his option years in 2006 and 2007 would vest automatically, if the Cubs traded him. He has, in effect, voided the options altogether, changing the $4.5 million dollar option buyout for 2006 into an "assignment bonus." The Cubs have to pay him this money by March 15.

The Cubs also have to pay Sosa a $3.5 million severance package by March 2.

Also, Sosa's contract runs over a 12-month period, which means the Cubs have already paid Sosa $1,307,692 of the $17 million in salary Sosa will earn this year. This will count against the money the Cubs are sending to the Orioles in this transaction.

After all is said and done, the Cubs will send $6,842,308 cash along with Sosa to the Orioles for 2b/of Jerry Hairston, Jr., minor-league RHP Dave Crouthers and minor-league 2b Mike Fontenot, the 19th-overall pick in the 2001 amateur draft.

For those still on this ride, let's recap shall we.

Total Due Sosa:

"Assignment Bonus":

Contractual severance pay:

2005 salary already paid to Sosa:

Cash paid to Orioles:
Cubs payroll savings:

Amount Cubs will pay Sosa
to not play for them next year:

$25 million

-4.5 million

-3.5 million


$8.85 million

$16.15 million!!!

That kind of money can buy major talent in today's market. Heck, that's more than the Cubs will pay Nomar this year, before he earns all those incentives. Of course, it's not as simple as saying the Cubs have $8.85 million more to spend this year.

In the deal, the Cubs took on $1.8 million from Hairston's salary and whatever they'll owe the two minor leaguers (whatever it is, it's not important enough to add).

And of course, Master Hendry couldn't bear to have that much money lighting up his payroll ledger, so he spent a whole bunch of it today on OF Jeromy Burnitz - $5 million of it to be exact.

To recap:

Sammy Savings:

Jeromy Burnitz:

Jerry Hairston, Jr.:

$8.85 million

-5 million

-1.8 million
$2.05 million

So, the Cubs essentially traded Sammy Sosa - an icon, a legend, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, who finished third on the team in homers though he played in only 126 games - for Jeromy Burnitz, Jerry Hairston, Jr., two minor leaguers and $2 million.

Now, there's a good chance Burnitz and Hairston could match or exceed Sosa's production, since it's no guarantee Sosa and the Cubs could co-exist in 2005 (THAT MEANS YOU DUSTY!). They certainly give the Cubs something Sosa wouldn't: speed, versatility and left-handed power.

But if not, that better be one happy-ass clubhouse.

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