On this day in 2005, 13 years ago, the Cubs traded away a player that is currently in a controversial discussion. In return, they acquired two average players and a player that retired before spring training began that same year.
Sammy Sosa was one of baseball’s most compelling hitters at the time where he hit 35 home runs in 126 games played. All that while missing a whole month of play due to a back injury the year before. Sosa’s 2004 season was also his 12th straight season of hitting 20 or more home runs, and 10th straight season of at least 30 home runs. Obviously, Sosa was well past his prime at the time of this trade as he would retire three years later.
The Cubs acquired second basemen Jerry Hairston, Mike Fontenot, and RHP David Crouthers out of this deal.
Jerry Hairston was the biggest name from who the Cubs were acquiring. The year prior, he hit .303 in 86 games while battling a finger injury and an ankle injury. In his first season as a Cub, he was used primarily as a utility guy. He was blocked at second base by Todd Walker, and blocked in the outfield by Todd Hollandsworth, Corey Patterson, and Jeromy Burnitz. In the 114 games he played in 2005, he batted .261 at the plate with 99 hits and 46 strikeouts.
When it comes to Mike Fontenot, he played in only 7 Major League games in 2005 before gaining more playing time in the ensuing years. He didn’t peak in his career until 2008 when he batted a notch above .300 for the only time in his big league career. Overall, he was a pretty average player, although his best years came as a Cub.
The third player in the trade was RHP David Crouthers. There is nothing to say about his time in Chicago because he retired before the 2005 season due to personal issues.
In the long run, this was not a bad trade for the Cubs. Chicago traded away a home run hitting outfielder that needed a change of scenery to finish his career. In return, they got two young and athletic middle infielders.