On February 2, 2005 the Cubs made a trade with Baltimore for Mike Fontenot and the pride of Naperville, Illinois, Jerry Hairston.
Fontenot was the Orioles first round draft pick in 2001 (19th overall) and Hairston a super utility player during his first seven seasons in Baltimore.
But does anyone remember who Chicago sent packing in return?
In exchange the Cubs parted ways with Sammy Sosa and his then 573 career home runs.
As early returns go, the deal appeared in Chicago’s favor.
Sosa quickly fizzled out during his lone season with the O’s. Presumably carrying the weight of his suspected steroid use, the aging star played in just 102 games batting a paltry .221 with 14 HR and 45 RBI. By the following spring the 37-year-old was out of baseball entirely.
Meanwhile, as Fontenot progressed through the minors, Hairston filled in as needed with the Cubs before being traded to Texas in late May 2006 for Phil Nevin, who never panned out, either.
Thus, by 2007 the trade edge for Chicago fell directly on the progression of Fontenot.
But with Fontenot’s inability to establish himself as an everyday player or live up to the billing of a first round draft pick, it seems this deal was an honorable draw at best.
While the O’s gamble on Sosa clearly backfired, the Cubs also misfired on Fontenot, perhaps missing its chance to land unknowns Casey Blake or closer BJ Ryan.
Five years later, it’s all water under the bridge.