Will he retire or won't he? Is he playing in the WBC? Does he want to go to the Yankees? Perhaps Sammy should team up with Terrel Owens and do a reality show.
By Phil Rogers
Tribune baseball reporter
February 15, 2006, 11:21 PM CST
By rejecting an offer from the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, Sammy Sosa likely is saying goodbye to baseball, his agent said.
Then again, his Dominican compatriots believe he's likely to play in the World Baseball Classic and perhaps use his appearance as a de facto Major League audition.
Maybe the truth is in who you ask.
"We're not going to put him on the retirement list," agent Adam Katz told ESPN.com. "We decided that [not putting him on that list] was the best thing to do. But I can say, with reasonable certainty, that we've seen Sammy in a baseball uniform for the last time.
"Sammy spent a lot of time ruminating on this. And it basically came down to this: He has such high expectations for himself, and last year was absolute misery for him, the way he under-performed. Sammy just didn't want to put himself through the possibility of going through something like that again. He still thinks he can do it. But there's some doubt there."
But Manny Acta, manager of the Dominican Republic's team in next month's international event, said he is keeping a spot open on his 30-man roster for Sosa.
"We met with Sammy, discussed having him play for the country," Acta said during a conference call Wednesday.
"We wanted to make sure. He showed us the desire to play. We are confident about that. He worked out filling out the papers."
Acta, a coach for the New York Mets, said that although there was some doubt about the slugger's interest when Sosa was slow in returning the necessary paperwork, the issue was cleared up at a meeting Dec. 17.
His agent, though, told the Associated Press that Sosa is not likely to play for the Dominican Republic.
"The inclination is not to, but it's unresolved," Katz said.
The Nationals had offered Sosa a non-guaranteed deal that would have given him only a $500,000 base salary if he earned a roster spot. MLB.com reported Sosa had sought a guarantee of at least $1 million.
"This was not a money issue," Katz told ESPN.com. "Was the money fabulous? No. Was it part of the decision-making process? Absolutely. But by no means was it the only thing involved. In the end, the money was a secondary, maybe even a tertiary consideration."
So while his agent says Sosa likely will retire, he still could audition for a 2006 contract at the WBC, allowing Sosa to delay his decision. He is fifth all-time with 588 home runs and has indicated he would like to pass 600 before retiring.
Sosa also may have declined a non-guaranteed deal with the Nationals in the hope he will get an offer from the New York Yankees.
Acta indicated the only way Sosa will not play for the Dominican Republic is if a team signing him blocks him from participating.
"If Sammy gets an offer with somebody, it's not a guaranteed contract, and they ask him to show how well he can do in spring training, then obviously he won't be able to go for three weeks," Acta said.
The Yankees, who reportedly are seeking a platoon partner for Bernie Williams at designated hitter, blocked catcher Jorge Posada from playing in the WBC but might want to base their decision on whether to acquire Sosa on his play in the WBC.According to the Dominican newspaper "Hoy," Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, a fellow resident of Miami, met with Sosa last weekend.
Because he has become a one-dimensional player, Sosa would seem a better fit on an American League roster than an NL one.
The Dominican lineup might be the deepest ever put together. It includes Albert Pujols, Vladimir Guerrero, Miguel Tejada, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.
But Acta said Sosa should not be overlooked.
"He fits," Acta said. "He has to fit. I'm not down on Sammy. He has had only one bad year, last year, and he was hurt. Everybody says  was a bad year with Sammy, but he still hit 35 home runs and he was gone a month. He fits on the team."
Acta said the Dominican roster probably will not be finalized until the March 2 deadline.
"There are some question marks," he said. "We still don't know what will happen on [the Sosa] front."