Sammy Sosa probably will retire after rejecting an offer from the Washington Nationals.
“It’s more than likely we have seen him in a uniform for the last time,” Sosa’s agent, Adam Katz, said Wednesday.
The 37-year-old outfielder ranks fifth on the career home run list with 588 but batted .221 with 14 homers and 45 RBIs last year in his only season with the Baltimore Orioles.
Washington offered Sosa a non-guaranteed contract that would have included performance bonus opportunities.
“It wasn’t about the money and it wasn’t about No. 600,” Katz said. “It was a function of Sammy’s expectation of his own performance. He didn’t want to go out there and underperform like he did last year because it was just too painful for him, and it’s just something he doesn’t want to go through again.”
Sosa became a free agent after last season and will not go on a formal retirement list.
He is not likely to play for the Dominican Republic in next month’s inaugural World Baseball Classic.
“The inclination is not to, but it’s unresolved,” Katz said.
After beginning his major league career with the Texas Rangers in 1989, Sosa was traded to the Chicago White Sox. He was dealt to the Chicago Cubs in 1992 and became a star and fan favorite, captivating the county in 1998 when he and Mark McGwire dueled to break Roger Maris’ season homer mark of 61. McGwire hit 70 that year, and Sosa finished with 66. Barry Bonds became the record-holder when he hit 73 in 2001.
With baseball mired in accusations that star players used steroids, Sosa was among the players called to testify before a congressional committee last March. McGwire refused to answer questions about past steroid use. Sosa said he never used illegal steroids.
Baker said the chase for 600 could motivate Sosa to play.
“That’s definitely something you got to consider,” he said. “That’s mighty close to a major milestone.”
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