1. Thursday, February 3, 2005

    Critic’s corner: Cubs whiff on Sosa deal 

    By Jim Harding

    Tribune staff reporter

    February 2, 2005, 10:57 PM CST

    So Sammy Sosa has taken his 133 strikeouts with him to Baltimore.

    And the Cubs replace him with free-swinging Jeromy Burnitz, who struck out 124 times in 2004 with the Colorado Rockies.

    Someone please help me with this logic. I’m sure Derrek Lee (128 K’s in 2004) and Corey Patterson (168) will welcome him to the middle of the order. Burnitz’s lowest strikeout total since 1998 was 121, his highest 158.

    Were the Cubs watching when Burnitz faced them last season? Here’s how he fared: 3-for-23, all singles, with two RBIs and six strikeouts.

    And how about the discrepancy between his numbers at hitter-friendly Coors Field and on the road in 2004? On the road he hit .244 with 13 homers, 42 RBIs and a .448 slugging percentage, compared with .322 with 24 and 68 and a .670 slugging mark at the Launching Pad.

    And who could forget his stellar season in the big-city spotlight with the Mets in 2002? A .215 average with 19 homers, 54 RBIs, 135 strikeouts and a .365 slugging percentage. Oh, yeah, he also has a .976 career fielding percentage (Sosa’s was .973) and has made 64 errors in 12 seasons.

    Baseballreference.com posts similarity scores on all player pages. They are based on stats guru Bill James’ methodology. Here are a few of the players listed with Burnitz: Jay Buhner, Jesse Barfield and Danny Tartabull.

    Who is on Sosa’s page? Try Hall of Famers Harmon Killebrew, Willie Stargell, Mike Schmidt and Mickey Mantle.

    Sounds like a swing and a miss to me.

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