Sosa would like bigger offer from Nats
Slugger said to want at least twice club's recent bid
WASHINGTON -- Outfielder Sammy Sosa has not decided if he will sign with the Nationals, but according to a source familiar with the slugger's thinking, Sosa wants at least $1 million to sign with the Nationals.
Washington has offered a one-year, $500,000 non-guaranteed Major League contract and the team would like Sosa to make a decision before pitchers and catchers report to Viera, Fla., on Saturday morning.
General manager Jim Bowden had a meeting with Sosa's agent, Adam Katz, on Saturday, but in an e-mail to MLB.com that same night, Bowden said no progress was made.
According to the source, Sosa feels that he has done a lot for the game of baseball and should be treated with respect. Sosa has 588 home runs, is the only player with three seasons of at least 60 home runs and won a Most Valuable Player Award in 1998 as a member of the Cubs.
The source also said that Sosa has hinted about not playing during the 2006 season.
"I think Sosa is interested. ... If [the Nationals] give him a base of $1 million, they will get the deal done," the source said. "He is in the frame of mind that if he doesn't play, he doesn't play. It's a respect type of thing for him. There are only four guys that have more career home runs than him in Major League Baseball."
Another source put Sosa's chances of signing with Washington at 50-50, maybe 60-40 against. The team is not planning to increase the offer. The Nationals already moved from their original offer of a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
If he accepts the deal, Sosa has to prove he can still play. He is coming off the worst season of his career, hitting .221 with 14 home runs and 45 RBIs, and he had two stints on the disabled list with Baltimore.
The Nationals look at Sosa as Spring Training insurance in case Jose Guillen's injured left shoulder has not fully recovered, and if Alfonso Soriano continues to refuse to play the outfield, or plays in the World Baseball Classic.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.