The Cubs and Dodgers could exchange high-priced outfielders at this week's general manager meetings.
Right fielders Sammy Sosa and Shawn Green could switch teams in a blockbuster proposal the Dodgers and Cubs plan to discuss in the next couple days,
according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The Dodgers were contacted by the Cubs about acquiring Green, and baseball sources indicated to the Times that Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta
and Cubs general manager Jim Hendry have planned to meet early at the general manager meetings, which are set to begin Tuesday at Key Biscayne,
However, a number of obstacles stand in the way of this potential blockbuster.
Green — who turns 32 on Wednesday — and Sosa — who will turn 36 on Friday — have no-trade clauses in their current contracts. There are also
other potential contract obstacles to completing a deal that may be expanded to include additional players and teams.
The Cubs are eager to deal Sosa, whose relationship with manager Dusty Baker deteriorated horribly last season. Sosa was fined $87,400 (a game's
salary) for arriving late to the Cubs' season finale at Wrigley Field and leaving the game early. In responding to reporters' questions about next
season, Baker said he wanted Sosa to report to spring training in top shape. Sosa angrily said he was tired of Baker blaming him for the Cubs'
Sosa is guaranteed $17 million in 2005, and an $18-million option in 2006 becomes guaranteed if he is traded. Sosa's contract also includes a
$19-million option, or $4.5-million buyout, in 2007.
Green has stated publicly that he'd like to remain in Los Angeles with the Dodgers. However, the left-handed slugger did not rule out waiving his
Green batted only .266 with 28 home runs and 86 runs batted in while being paid $16 million last season. However, the two-time All-Star was recovering
from arthroscopic shoulder surgery and adjusting to playing first base for the first time in his career. Down the stretch, when the Dodgers needed him
the most, Green delivered with some timely home runs as L.A. won the NL West.
Green has a salary of $16 million in 2005, which would make him the team's highest-paid player for the second consecutive season.
DePodesta said that re-signing third baseman Adrian Beltre was the team's top priority and Beltre could receive a significantly more lucrative offer
from other teams after an MVP-caliber season. Acquiring Sosa could fill a void in the lineup left by the potential loss of Beltre, and his star power
could help a team in dire need of it.
[Edited on 11/7/2004 by Ben]