Should Sammy Sosa be in the Hall of Fame?

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Should Sammy Sosa be in the Hall of Fame?

Should Sammy Sosa be in the Hall of Fame?

You could make a case that this is the most important question facing Cubs fans today, a modern-day equivalent of Shakespeare's "To be or not to be."

I'm totally serious.

What other player impacted the North Side like Sosa? Even when he left, his exit was as controversial as any Cubs player's ever, including Carlos Zambrano's one-way ticket out of town last winter.

Yes, there are some Cubs fans that are done with the Sosa era, that want to keep the past in the past. And you can't blame them. But no matter what they want, Sosa's name is on the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot, and there may come a day where he gets voted in.

After the 1994-95 MLB strike, Sosa and Mark McGwire brought worldwide interest back to the game with their thrilling home run chase in 1998. Yeah, there are questions regarding their use of performance-enhancing drugs during that time, but the numbers still stand. Go to BaseballReference.com and there are no asterisks next to Sosa's 66 homers in '98 or 64 dingers in 2001.

It happened. Regardless of how people -- mainly, Cubs fans -- think and feel about it today. Sosa hit 545 home runs in a Cubs uniform, more than any other player. (He also struck out almost 600 times more than any other Cub, but hey, that was Slammin' Sammy.)

For 13 years, some of the loudest cheers heard at Wrigley Field came when Sosa streaked along the right-field wall, waving to the crowd. His home-run hop and two-finger salute became Chicago and national icons. Kids imitated them at sandlot fields across the country.

But that was long ago. Baseball fans remember the steroid suspicions and the corked bat. Cubs fans remember the injuries (like that time he hurt his back sneezing) and the attitude. Everybody remembers his most famous quote -- "Baseball has been very, very good to me." And, anybody who has ever seen a recent photo of Sosa will never forget his Michael Jackson-esque makeover.

From strictly a statistical standpoint, Sosa is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. There's no question. But in this day and age, in the post-steroid era, numbers are not the only thing that matters. There will always be a black cloud hovering over Sosa's head.

So I ask you, baseball fans, should Sosa be in the Hall of Fame?

Check out the complete 2013 Hall of Fame ballot, which features a slew of other controversial names.

Koji Uehara would add another dimension to Cubs bullpen

Koji Uehara would add another dimension to Cubs bullpen

The Cubs are reportedly on the verge of adding another pitcher who’s notched the final out of a World Series as Theo Epstein’s front office builds out the bullpen for manager Joe Maddon.

The Cubs are nearing a one-year, $4.5 million deal with Koji Uehara, according to Nikkan Sports in Japan, which would open up even more possibilities for the defending champs in front of All-Star closer Wade Davis.

The Cubs made their biggest splash during this week’s winter meetings at National Harbor in Maryland by trading young outfielder Jorge Soler to the Kansas City Royals for Davis, who finished off Game 5 in the 2015 World Series.

Uehara closed out the 2013 World Series for the Boston Red Sox, the beginning of three straight seasons where he put up 20-plus saves. The Cubs have not confirmed an agreement is in place.

The Cubs needed another lefty presence with Mike Montgomery – the pitcher on the mound when the 108-year drought ended in November – moving to the rotation and Travis Wood likely leaving as a free agent.

Uehara throws right-handed, but he shuts down left-handed hitters (.183 batting average, .555 OPS across 800 at-bats) and has appeared in seven postseason series after a distinguished career in Japan.

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Uehara will turn 42 the day after Opening Day. But an array of relievers should help preserve Uehara, strengthen Carl Edwards Jr. (who’s generously listed at 170 pounds) and maybe prevent the late-season injuries that marginalized Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop during the playoffs.

“We’re going to try to build up a ton of depth,” Epstein said. “We’re going to try to build up a really talented, deep bullpen with a lot of different options that you can use in close games.

“Instead of three late-game options, it would be ideal if you had five or six. And you could always like who you’re turning to in the ‘pen and not feel the need to use a Rondon four out of five times.

“(We could) use them every other day and occasional back-to-backs. And that would help keep them fresh down the stretch – and help keep them strong in October.”

Cubs unveil championship Trophy Tour

Cubs unveil championship Trophy Tour

The Cubs announced their World Series championship victory lap Thursday afternoon.

The Cubs Trophy Tour presented by State Farm will take the World Series hardware around throughout the Midwest, beyond just the Chicagoland area.

“We’re excited to share our cherished trophy with fans this offseason as we celebrate such a historic World Series Championship,” Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement. “This year’s World Championship team is unparalleled, and so are our fans. We can’t wait for them to experience the joy of seeing this piece of history in person.”

The tour begins Friday, Dec. 9 at the official Cubs Team Store on Michigan Ave. from Noon to 3 p.m.

From there, the trophy gets the weekend off before surfacing again Thursday, Dec. 15 at Chicago City Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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The Trophy Tour hits the road after that, with stops in central Illinois; the Quad Cities; South Bend and Indianapolis; Des Moines, Iowa and other Midwest locations.

Of course, the trophy will also be with the Cubs in spring training in Mesa, Ariz. and at Wrigley Field for the Cubs' home opener on April 10.

Check out Cubs.com/trophytour for more info, including a schedule, social media post and highlights from each stop along the way. 

Also be sure to follow @Cubs on Twitter and Instagram for more updates while CSN will document the Trophy Tour.