T.R. Sullivan blogs on the pros and cons of adding Sammy Sosa. Sullivan doesn't seem enthralled with the idea of Sammy coming to Arizona.
He does, though, have one comment that I think is worth following up on:
This is incorrect. Most players should be over the hill at age 38.
Sosa's last really great season was at age 33. So I figured it would be revealing to see where similar players -- guys who had production similar to Sosa through age 33 -- were at age 38.
According to Baseball Reference, the 10 most similar players to Sosa, at the same age, after his age 33 season were, in order:
Ken Griffey, Jr. -- Struggled last season at age 36. 2008 is his age 38 season, and I don't like the odds of him being a productive player then.
Mickey Mantle -- Out of baseball at 37
Eddie Mathews -- Out of baseball at 37
(You know what's creepy? Mathews was born exactly one week before Mantle. And Mathews played his final game one day before Mantle played his final game. Weird, huh?)
Willie Mays -- A very good player at age 38
Juan Gonzalez -- He turns 38 in October, and has played 34 games since he turned 34 years old.
Duke Snider -- Out of baseball at age 38, after a disastrous age 37 season with the Giants
Barry Bonds -- You probably know this story
Frank Robinson -- Split the season between the Angels and the Indians, and was a terrific player
Reggie Jackson -- Poor performance at age 38, on the heels of a poor performance at age 37, although he bounced back with solid 39 & 40 seasons
Jim Thome -- His age 38 season won't be until 2009
Looking at that group, it looks like a player like Sosa is more likely to be done, or close to done, at age 38, than to be productive.
Which is a large part of the reason I don't buy this "what if he's back?" idea.