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Updated: 2015-09-16T13:59:36.115-07:00

 



RJ a White Sox.....Its a Possibility Again

2004-12-15T12:32:35.956-08:00

Todays USA Today had a new article on Randy Johnson and it talked about the White Sox as a potential front-runner. The new found interest comes from reports that "Johnson's agents privately told the White Sox last week that he would accept a trade to the White Sox, sources close to the negotiations told Sports Weekly."

The article went on to list the Dbacks demands (according to a high ranking executive) as Jon Garland, a starting outfielder, minor league outfield prospect Ryan Sweeney, reliever Damaso Marte and perhaps another prospect.

To me this deal comes down to who the starting outfielder is. If its Carl Everett, you make this trade. If its Aaron Rowand, you do not make the deal and instead direct your attention to Matt Clement or Odalis Perez.

However, if this deal were to happen, the time would be now. Kenny has roughly 9-10 million avaiable to spend this offseason, if the budget is 75 million, and he's going to spend some of it on a starting pitcher. Right now it appears RJ is Target Number 1 with Perez and Clement as the fall back plans. In fact I think Williams quotes on the interest of Clement, may of been a move to gain leverage with the Dbacks (it tells the Dbacks that they do have other options).

This leverage will be gone pretty quick though, so the timetable is narrow. If they wait till Christmas time, Perez and Clement will be gone and the starting pitching market will be rather barron, barring some good starters being non-tendered. This means Kenny is backed into a corner and the Dbacks would know it.

No doubt I do the deal if the Outfielder is Everett, although I would prefer to see the Sox give Anderson as the prospect in the deal, but I'd do it regardless and I'd even give up Diaz or Munoz as the extra prospect. However, the loss of Marte hurts, but the Sox would still have a net gain in the pen because they have Hermanson and Vizcaino this year, but It makes resigning Scho more important. I have my opinion that Scho, while not as good as Marte, is one of the best left handed relievers in all of baseball (assuming he's healthy).

The Sox will be left with payroll after the deal is made too, because they would be giving up approximately 9 million in payroll and adding 16.5 million (10.5 mill base; 6 deferred..but likely becomes guaranteed with a trade). But with them adding a net 7.5 on the deal, the Sox whom have 10 mill to blow would still have 2.5 million left over. My belief is an acquisition of the magnitude of RJ will lead chairman Jerry Reinsdorf to set the teams budget to 80 mill, giving the Sox roughly 7.5 million to sure up the remaining holes (signing Scho, picking up a cheaper 5th starter - Elo, Meche, etc), and hopefully a catcher (AJ Pyrz) or middle infielder (Alex Cora).

JR wouldn't have to up the teams budget at all if the money stayed deferred and the Sox handled it as if it didn't count on this years budget. In this case the Sox would have 8.5 million under the current 75 million budget following the deal.

Folks, this could be the ace pitcher that not only pushes the Sox over the Twins for the Division, but also leads the Sox to their first World Series in nearly a century.



Sox Busy...Pick up Spod and Vizcaino

2004-12-14T19:37:22.736-08:00

I'm a little late on this entry, but yesterday the White Sox acquired Scott Podsednik, Luis Vizcaino and a PTBNL (believed to be Mitch Stetter) for left fielder Carlos Lee. This deal was made for multiple reasons and talent wise its a deal the Brewers win. However, its a deal that is good for both teams. The Brewers get a run producer that they vastly needed in Lee, 28, who should only get better. However, Lee's numbers should take a drop now that he's being removed from one of the better offenses in baseball and one of the better hitting parks in baseball. But talent wise Lee has room to grow and is due to make 8 million this year and has a team option worth 8.5 mill in 2006. The White Sox on the other hand don't get a player as talented as Lee, but they get what Ozzie has wanted for quite a while, a leadoff hitter. Statistically we will have to see what Podsednik the Sox get, whether its the one who hit .314 with a .379 OBP in 2003 or the one that hit .244 with a .313 OBP and 70 stolen bases in 2004. Regardless we know one thing about Spod, if he's healthy he will steal 50 plus stolen bases and Ozzie will give him the green light on the paths. In fact, his average should go up from last season soley by moving from more of a pitchers park to a hitters park and it should only help that he'll find himself in a better offense, even without Carlos Lee. One encouraging stat was last seasons road split, where he hit .274 with a .330 OBP and very respectable (especially for a leadoff hitter) .741 OPS. You should expect to see these type of numbers at a minimal from Pod with the Sox next season. However, he could see his numbers jump more if the Sox can get him to shorten his swing. Regardless, his addition gives the Sox a better looking defensive lineup, one that will have good range between Pod, Rowand, and Dye. Power wise the Sox lineup takes a bit of a hit, but that doesn't mean the Sox lineup lacks power. Paul Konerko (30), Frank Thomas (20), Aaron Rowand (20), Juan Uribe (20), Joe Crede (20), and Jermaine Dye (25) all should hit 20 plus homers. In fact with conservative estimates (seen in parantheses in the previous sentence) those six would combine for 135 homers. But we all know Konerko is capable of 40, a healthy Frank 40, a healthy Dye 30, Uribe 25, Crede 25, and Rowand 25. That would give the Sox 185 homers between those six with Everett, Pod, Gload and Davis easily adding 20 homers. Now its unlikely Thomas will hit 40 Hr's, considering he's on the rehab path right now, but even if his average isn't where he'd like it to be, with at bats, Frank is going to hit the ball out of the park. For those curious, the 205 homers I mentioned would place the Sox 8th in the majors this past year, just behind St. Louis and ahead of Los Angeles. The little talked about portion of this deal is reliever Luis Vizcaino. His addition will be huge for the Sox. With Hermanson already on board in the back of the bullpen, joining closer Shingo Takatsu and stud set up guy Damaso Marte, the Sox now have what looks to be one of the better bullpens in baseball. Its also a serious step up to the pen they ran out last season. Vizcaino is a hard throwing righty who throws a mid 90's fastball, a slider, and a newly added split-change (no thats not a typo). And the most talked about part of the deal is that the Sox will save roughly 6-7 million in payroll. This means Kenny is now roughly 10 million under budget to add a starting pitcher and then potentially a catcher and infielder. The key to this deal is the Sox picking up a good pitcher. Ken Williams has already said they are interested in Matt Clement, but this isn't Kenny's style (at least not of late) which leads me to believe this is a ploy and that he's actually targeting someone else. Free Agent Odalis Perez doesn't seem to be getting the interest of Clement and is just as good of a pitcher and younger and would be a stabilizing factor in the rotation. Of course there is also the possibility that the Sox look at Vazquez, AJ B[...]



Sox Ink Dye to a 2yr contract

2004-12-10T00:19:20.780-08:00

The moves started on Wednesday and continued into Thursday as Ken Williams and the White Sox announced it had come to terms with free agent RF Jermaine Dye. Dye signed a 2 year deal worth a guaranteed 10.15 million. The deal calls for 4 million in 2005, 5 million in 2006, and a team option in 2007 worth 6 million. There is a 1.15 million buyout.

Dye played the past three seasons in Oakland where early in his A's career he looked as one of the more promising right fielders in baseball after tours in Kansas City and Atlanta. But Dye's A's days were marked with injuries, the most notorious being a broken leg which was suffered in a playoff series versus the New York Yankees, yet another series the A's would blow in the postseason.

However, this past season Dye proved to be relatively healthy, at least his legs, minus a thumb injury that cost him much of August. In the first half of the season Dye hit over .280 while putting up good slugging numbers.

Moving from an extreme pitchers park to a hitters park should only benefit Dye. Plus Dye should find himself in a better offense. This is a guy who averaged 117 RBI over a 3 season period prior to his injuries.

At 30 he's still in the prime of his career and is a major signing when you consider Jeff Kent received 17 million over the next two years. Dye also plays a very good right field and has a strong arm. His only major flaw is a semi lack of a walks mixed with an affinity for strikeouts.

However, a .280, 30 HR, 100 RBI season isn't something to look past. More importantly this signing means the Sox outfield is filled and Ken Williams can now turn his attention on finding the starting pitcher this team needs at the Winter Meetings (start on Friday).

The move also will likely put an end to the Sox splash into the free agent market. However, the Sox should still have roughly 4-6 million to sign a utility infielder as well as a potential replacement for Paul Konerko (if dealt).

Two options that immediately come to my mind are Alex Cora and Jay Gibbons. Gibbons would provide a left handed stick and power in the middle to back of the lineup as well as a good glove at first base. While Cora is a good defensive middle infielder who had a .360 + OBP last season's. He's also White Sox 3rd base coach Joey Cora's little bro. The Dodgers are expected to trade him, but if they can't get a deal done they will likely non-tender him.

Thats my take, check back tomorrow for my thoughts on the news coming from the Winter Meetings.



Sox Sign.....Dustin Hermanson

2004-12-08T11:54:36.260-08:00

Well, Kenny Williams flew under the radar just fine and the Sox inked the best closer on the market Dustin Hermanson to a 2yr 5+ million dollar deal. The move will bolster a bullpen that needs help.

Hermanson was converted to closer late last season with the Giants and saved 18 games in 21 opportunities. Many teams looked at him as a closer this offseason, but the Sox pulled off the deal. General Manager Ken Williams said on the radio today that he will serve as a setup man to Shingo Takatsu along with Damaso Marte.

Hermanson was long a starter in his career, one with loads of potential, who never panned out, but his upside is high in the bullpen and this could turn into a fantastic deal for the Sox who know have depth if Takatsu falters.

The Sox could still use another reliever but Scho could fit that bill nicely. Scho would be a very versatile reliever out of the pen.

Now the Sox figure to turn their attention to starting pitching, right field, and the middle infield. However, lets take note that Hermanson's and the White Sox were never mentioned by any news organization up until the signing, which could mean were in for another shocker!!!

Note: The Giants did not offer Dustin Hermanson arbitration.



A Realm Of Possibilities

2004-12-08T09:37:12.353-08:00

Well, its been a rather dissapointing 24 hour window. It also has been like 3 weeks since my bold prediction of Randy Johnson pitching on the South Side of Chicago.

It appears that I was wrong on that prediction, just like experts Bruce Levine and Peter Gammons were wrong on Omar Vizquel and Jaret Wright joining the White Sox.

Now, in the aftermath of those three non-moves, it seems like the dust is settling and White Sox fans are getting bitter. But I ask why? Is it because we got our hopes up based on rumors, of course, but at the same time I think most are willing to admit that not getting RJ had nothing to do with management while not getting Vizquel and Wright came down to the Sox not willing to saddle themselves with a risky contract.

In fact, I am pleasantly surprised to see that KW recognized he would of been overpaying and backed away, especially since their are still plenty of options out there. Whether those additions come via trade or free agency, I don't know, but as far as pitching goes the two most likely possibilities for ace potential come in the form of trades for either Tim Hudson or Javier Vazquez.

If a deal is done quickly, you'd have to think it would be Vazquez coming to the South Side. The Yanks are doing all they can to pick up Randy Johnson to go along with the signing of Jaret Wright and the soon to be announced signing of Eric Milton.

Vazquez will be headed Arizona's way, unless a 3rd team, ie the White Sox, get involved and snag Vazquez for a package believed to be Paul Konerko and Jon Garland. The only flaw to this mess is their is a strong rumor that Troy Glaus may end up in Arizona which would leave them with Chad Tracy and Shea Hillebrand under contract, plus the potential of Richie Sexson accepting their arbitration offer.

If the Sox look out to free agency, they can snag Matt Clement with a 3yr 21 mill contract, but thus far it appears that the Sox have had minimal discussions with Clement's people. However, Clement has made it no secret that he would like to remain in Chicago, even if it meant joining the hated SouthSiders.

The Sox also appear to be looking at right field as Phil Rogers reported today that the Sox may have a 3yr offer on the table to Jermaine Dye. Some believe the offer to be around the 5 mill a year figure, however, my inkling tells me it will be somewhere in the range of 3-4 million a season. Dye is a good right fielder whose just starting to recover from his gruesome injury. He had a very positive 2004 and should put up even better numbers playing in half his games at the Cell.

Look back later today for more of my reading between the lines.



Prediction: RJ will be a White Sox

2004-11-17T13:30:53.483-08:00

Thats it, I've made a verdict and Randy Johnson is going to be pitching for the SouthSiders this season. Sure, I may be going out on a limb here, but the Sox have the best offer on the table and I can't see any team matching it.

I don't give a rats butt about the rumors that Johnson would or has turned down a deal to the White Sox. The White Sox train in Arizona, in fact, they share the same facility that his Dbacks use, which is a big plus (its not quite being in Scottsdale, but it will do).

Because of this Randy should be familiar with some of the Sox and the players. No, they may not be grand friends, but a familiarity is definately a nice thing to have. On top of all this, RJ is neighbors with JR. Just call it a hunch, but Johnson is coming out to Chicago this Saturday, don't be shocked if the Sox maybe talk to Johnson over the weekend.

Johnson is also meeting with the Dbacks GM this week to discuss some things. One of the rumors is they will discuss a contract extension that will keep him a Diamondback.

To be honest, the big potential holdup I see over a deal with the Diamondbacks is whether the White Sox would extend his contract another year at 16 million. Considering RJ has been willing to go deferred in the past, this should act as at least an aid in the possible extension. Johnson may be on the otherside of 40, but he was the best pitcher in the NL last year and the second best in baseball (Johan being the best).

I expect Randy Johnson to be a White Sox by the end of the Winter Meetings in December. I also expect the Sox to be rather quiet after that. They will pick up a free agent reliever, probably one that is non-tendered. Keep an eye out of Shawn Chacon whose name keeps coming up in rumors with the White Sox (he'll likely be non-tendered). Then the Sox will look to possibly pick up a cheaper RF since Everett will be Dh'ing the first month of the season.

If Jay Gibbons is non-tendered don't be shocked if Hawk himself goes down and talks to Kenny and says to sign the guy. Hawk always seemed to like Gibbons, based on the comments he's made during broadcasts against the Orioles. Jermaine Dye, Richard Hildalgo, and Jeremy Burnitz are other options.

You know who isn't an option: Joe Borchard. Borchard will likely be competing with Escobar for the final outfield spot. Both can play every position in the outfield, which helps, but if Escobar can just make contact, he should get the nod over Borchard. For those unaware, Borchard was released by his Mexican League Team for sucking ass.

Anyway, we'll see if my predictions come true, but I got a feeling this is the direction the Sox head and I think it will work out. I could give a damn if RJ ends up failing. He's the best pitcher (arguably) in baseball and makes this rotation awesome and gives the Sox a rotation that should be devasting in the playoffs. Konerko and Garland are both good, but were talking world series and Randy Johnson can help get the Sox there.



More Writing on the Wall In Regards to Maggs; Kevin Millwood

2004-10-28T21:51:01.890-07:00

Magglio Ordonez was among 65 players who filed for free agency today (first player available) . This is pretty much the final step, minus him signing a contract to another team, to his depature from the SouthSide.

It seems like so long ago when Magglio and Kenny were joking out on the Fan Deck and when both sides were actually optimistic a deal would get done. But 5 yrs and 70 million wasn't enough for Magglio.

Now Magglio has hired a new agent (Boras), has yet to inform Kenny Williams of the switch (or so he says). An ESPN.com article went on to make these statements:

White Sox general manager Ken Williams said he is not optimistic about being able to re-sign Ordonez.

"Hearing everything second- and third- and in some cases fourth-hand, I think I have to wait until there is direct dialogue," Williams said. "From what I've heard, it doesn't give me any reason to have any optimism."

I think we all know my stance on Magglio, good riddance. Maggs, I loved you when you were on the field and playing baseball, but quite frankly, you had some bad baseball people giving you advice because you dont' deserve Vladdy money, you ended up getting Vladdy money offered to you and you turned it down and now you and Boras will be scrambling to get you anything near that 5 yr 70 million offer.

Now onto a new name, that of Kevin Millwood. Millwood also filed for free agency today, as did Beltran, Beltre, and Brad Radke, just to name a few. However, Kevin's name hasn't come up yet and I figured I'd go out and throw it out there.

While I think were all aware of Millwoods slide since the 2nd half of the 2003 season, you can't help but look past some of the good numbers he's put up. And it appears that part of the reason for his down-turn were health related.

Now he would have to take a substantial pay-cut and potentially a shorter term deal (its unclear whether he would do that) but at the right price he would be a good option for the White Sox. You can't look past his career numbers: 98-64, 3.89 ERA, 1367.1 INN, 1283 H (1.24 WHIP), 1134 K (7.46 K/9). He has also done a relatively good job limiting the long ball in his career.

Assuming he checks out physically, he's definately an option worth looking at, especially if teams look past him in the early part of free agency.






Carl, Frank, and Shingo All Coming Back

2004-10-28T21:18:36.996-07:00

Today Carl Everett and Frank Thomas both announced that they will be accepting their player options for the upcoming 2005 season. This came as no surprise as both players had already given every indictation that they would be accepting this options.

Everett' option calls for him to be paid $4 million, but he also has a $500,000 buy-out next season that will come into play, so he's going to get 4.5 million guaranteed.

Frank Thomas, who has a much more complicated contract, will be paid 8 million in 2005, which could potentially be his final season with the White Sox. In 2006 Thomas will have a player option at $10 million, while the White Sox hold a $12 million option. However, the Sox also hold a $3.5 million buyout in 2006, so Thomas is guaranteed $11.5 million. Thomas will also have plenty of motivation, because he has a 2 million bonus coming his way if he finishes in the top 10 of MVP voting.

Some papers are reporting that Cliff Politte's option was accepted, but a couple weeks back Politte signed a new contract extension with a club option for 2006. The White Sox also accepted Shingo Takatsu's $2.5 million option. However, the Sox declined a $1 million option on Sandy Alomar Jr.

Its not secret that the White Sox would like Alomar to stay with the organization in some form, but at this point Sandy doesn't appear ready to hang up the spikes, although that could change as spring training gets nearer.

It appears that Sandy Alomar, Roberto Alomar, and Jose Valentin are the three players most likely to be out of Chicago. Timo Perez may also be gone, although for some reason both Ozzie and Kenny look past his awful splits (just check Cheat's blog, he sums up Timo's performance or lack-there-of quite well).



Sox Targeting Randy Johnson

2004-10-25T17:43:13.490-07:00

This weekend the Daily Southown reported that White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams plans on contacting the Arizona Diamondbacks about the possibility of a deal that would send the Dbacks ace, Randy Johnson, to the South Side of Chicago.

At this point this rumor has to be taken as pure speculation, although it was widely reported that the White Sox were very interested in him at the trade deadline. At the time of the deadline reports were that the Sox package would have to start at Aaron Rowand, Jon Garland, and a prospect.

With one year and 16.5 million remaining on his contract, it is evident in my mind that a package along those lines would be damaging to the White Sox. There is no doubt that Randy Johnson at the top of the rotation would make the Sox pitching staff vastly superior to anyone else in the division, but at the same time, they would be creating numerous long term holes for a one year solution.

If the Sox are able and capable of adding payroll, they could target one of the A’s big three as it appears that one of Hudson, Zito, and Mulder will be on the block. The most likely to be dealt is Barry Zito, who had a down year in Oakland but has proven himself as an ace.

A package to acquire Zito should also be less costly (in terms of everyday players and quality of prospects) and is also a better long term solution. The Southtown article also went on to speculate that if the price was too steep for Johnson or if he wasn’t willing to accept a trade to the South Side, that Williams would target another ace, possibly via free agency.

However, like I’ve made mention on multiple occasions, at this point, while the FA market for starting pitching is strong, there are no sure-fire aces on the market. However, there are a few players with the potential to turn into aces (Carl Pavano, Matt Clement, Odalis Perez, etc) and one aging ace (Pedro Martinez).

Could this off-season have a similar fate to the 1996/1997 off-season. An off-season in which the White Sox thought long and hard about Roger Clemens, the Red Sox ace, but in the end felt he was past his prime, as did numerous other teams, when Clemens eventually landed in Toronto. Instead the Sox opted to get a “developing” ace in Jamie Navarro and offered him what was then the fattest contract ever offered to a pitcher (in White Sox history).

We all know what happened from their. Navarro literally got fat from his contract and reported to camp out of shape. Unlike one of his predecessors, Bartolo Colon, Navarro proved he was unable to pitch at that weight and turned into one of the biggest busts in the modern era of the White Sox. It ranks right their with the Todd Ritchie deal in my mind.

The only bright side in Jamie Navarro was the eventual trade out of Chicago, when he and RHP John Snyder were sent to Milwaukee for Jose Valentin and Carl Eldred. Those two pieces, along with a young nucleus of hitters, and James Baldwin, helped catapult the White Sox to the 2000 division title.

Could Pedro be the next Boston ace that appears to be on the downside of his career, but instead, an ace on the brink of re-inventing himself someplace else? Who knows, but is it a risk worth taking, considering the “Bosses” need for a few more able starters in New York?




AFL 2004 Update #2

2004-10-22T17:38:57.793-07:00

The Arizona Fall League is upon us and the Mesa Solar Sox, whose roster is made up of 6 Sox farm-hands, have played 13 games (6-7) thus far. Lets take a look at a closer look at how the Sox farm hands are doing: Brian Anderson, OF – R/R – March 11, 1982 .206 AVG, .303 OBP, 6 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 7 BB, 6 K, 1 SB (0 CS) The good news is that Brian Anderson is playing. Anderson suffered from a hernia injury late in the 2004 season and is back getting at bats in the AFL. Anderson hasn’t put up great numbers thus far in the AFL, but is the White Sox top position prospect. The young outfielder has received glowing reviews from manager Ozzie Guillen and GM Ken Williams and will potentially get a shot to compete for a starting job this spring, although the odds are against him breaking camp as a starter. Anderson excelled in high A last year posting a .925 OPS with Winston Salem (High A) before being promoted to Birmingham (AA) where he hit .270 with 4 HR and 26 RBI’s while posting a .762 OPS in 48 games. Pedro Lopez, 2B/SS – R/R – April 28, 1984 .318 AVG, .308 OBP, 2 R, 0 2B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 SB Lopez, 20, replaced shortstop Andy Gonzalez on the AFL roster. This was a wise decision considering Lopez is more advanced with the bat and was less likely to struggle in the AFL. Thus far Lopez is putting up solid offensive numbers, although as usual he has an atrocious OBP (.328 with the Warthogs last year; .379 OBP in 7 games with Bham). One of the big weaknesses has been the lack of walks. And if he ever wants to be a top of an order guy, he’s going to have to improve on this, but he does still have time. Defensively Lopez has soft hands, a good arm, and good range. Him, Gonzalez and Valido have all the tools to be plus defensive middle infielders. The question with all three of them is the bat and at this point Lopez is the most advanced in that category. Casey Rogowksi, 1B/OF – L/L – May 1, 1981 .409 AVG, .536 OBP, 4 R, 2 2B, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 6 BB, 2 K, 1 SB (1 CS) Rogowski, 23, continues to rake the ball. He had an outstanding 2004 campaign with the Warthogs and has seen some development in the power aspect of the game (18 HR’s in 2004). Rogowski has a good eye and is able to work the counts (.401 OBP in 04, Career .380 OBP). He’s played 4 games in the OF and two at first base. Up until late last season Rogowski has only been thought of as a first baseman, but that appears to of changed and Rogowski could find himself in the Barons outfield next year, along with Ryan Sweeney. Rogowski runs well for a big man and uses all parts of the field. Jeff Bajenaru, Reliever – R/R – March 21, 1978 0-1, 10.80 ERA, 5.0 INN, 7 H, 6 R, 5 K, 1 BB Bajenaru has been mired in a mini slump ever since being called up to the big leagues. Baj pitched better then his numbers would indicate at the major league level, but is struggling again in the fall league. Baj should get a shot to compete in training camp for a position with the Sox, but with Politte signing a new contract, Takatsu’s option being picked up, and the persistent reports of the Sox looking to sign another set up man, the margin of error will be small as Felix Diaz, Arnie Munoz, Jon Adkins and him all compete for what could be the only open bullpen spot come spring training. Baj has a good fastball and slider (“slutter”) and does a nice job mixing his pitches. He had a tremendous season with Birmingham (1.34 ERA, .89 WHIP, 13.63 K/9) and Charlotte (1.80 ERA, .75 WHIP, 7.20 K/9) and is a favorite of FutureSox.com. Matt Smith, Reliever – RHP – August 14, 1978 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 8.1 INN, 11 H, 0 R, 4 K, 3 BB Smith has been sharp in Arizona, although his peripherals aren’t tremendous. Averaging about 4.5 strikeouts per 9 while giving up over a hit per inning pitch isn’t the way you succeed at the majors, [...]



Twins Lose Kubel, May Add Vizquel

2004-10-22T17:40:47.610-07:00

For a couple weeks the White Sox have been rumored to be interested in Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel. Vizquel would bring something the Sox have lacked in a long time, both leadership and the ability to do the little things. The signing would also bring a future hall of famer and the greatest defensive shortstop of all time to the South Side of Chicago.

There is no doubt that Vizquel is on the downside of his career, but he posted his best numbers in a while in 2004 and is in excellent shape after suffering from a shoulder injury early in the 2004 season. Its unclear whether Vizquel could fit into the leadoff spot on the southside, because he’s a more aptly fit two hole hitter, but his presence would be a big improvement over that of “homer or whiff” Valentin.

Well, The Sox aren’t the only AL central team interested in Vizquel as the Twins are reportedly interested in him if they can’t come to terms with Christian Guzman. Vizquel would give the Twins yet another scrappy player that does all the little things that it takes to win. In fact, I’d fear the Twins getting Omar, because to me Christian Guzman is one of the few weak links on the Twins.

The Twins also suffered some bad news as RotoWorld is reporting that the Twins top outfield prospect Jason Kubel tore his ACL in the Arizona Fall League, the injury will sideline him past spring training, although he should be healthy near the start of the season. Kubel was expected to replace one of Jacque Jones or Torri Hunter, both of whom are reportedly on the block.

Even with Kubel’s injury the Twins have options. They still have 3 good outfielders in Hunter, Stewart, and Jones plus Lew Ford who played tremendous all season long.

We all know it will be an interesting off-season for the White Sox, but it appears the rival Twins are also going to be in for an exciting off-season. Expect both teams to have at different look when they meet in 2005.




Fixing the White Sox: Part Four

2004-10-22T16:48:34.460-07:00

The first three of my “Fix The White Sox” articles focused on the holes of the White Sox. They gave a little insight into some potential options, but not an in-depth insight. In this piece I will quickly summarize the holes I see and then give a few options at each hole, before giving my suggestions. Also want to make a quick note that I’ve pretty much finalized the format of this blog, minus the link section (which will grow). If anyone sees something they want to add, post a comment or shoot me an email at jason@futuresox.com The way I see it, the Chicago White Sox have 4 key holes to fill this off-season: shortstop or 2nd base, left handed hitting outfielder, starting pitcher, and a reliever. I think it’s realistic to expect the Sox to fill all but one of these needs, although I’ll hold out that they will fill all four needs. Shortstop/2nd Base This is the most likely position to be filled during the off-season. The Sox front office has already hinted that they will target Omar Vizquel, but a few other options are out their as well. What is clear is that the incumbent Jose Valentin will be gone. It appears more likely that they will add a shortstop with Willie Harris and Juan Uribe battling for 2nd base, but if the Sox opted to go with Placido Polanco who is another free agent possibility the Sox would opt with Uribe at shortstop. Omar Vizquel – Free Agent .291 AVG, .353 OBP, 28 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 59 RBI, 19 SB Vizquel would be a stop-gap solution to the infield, but he should be a very good stop gap. He is a savvy veteran who is still regarded as a good infielder. He also has an amazing ability to use the entire field, drop bunts and move runners over. Basically Omar does what the top of the lineup failed to do this year and that’s get on base and do the little things. Earlier in the week the Indians turned down the option on Vizquel, but may still make him an offer. Placido Polanco – Free Agent .298 AVG, .345 OBP, 21 2B, 0 3B, 17 HR, 55 RBI, 39 K, 7 SB (126 games) It is unclear whether the Phillies would let Polanco walk, but it wouldn’t be wise of them to let him get away without a fight. Polanco is a vastly underrated ballplayer. He needs to improve on his walk totals, but is very difficult to strike out and has surprising pop for a 2nd baseman. He doesn’t have the stolen bases of Vizquel and isn’t quite as good with the bat, but would be a good option. He is also a good defensive 2nd baseman and has the versatility to play 3rd base as well. Todd Walker – Free Agent .274 AVG, 19 2B, 4 3B, 15 HR, 50 RBI Walker joined the Cubs hoping to help them reach the promised land. The problem is he was the back up second baseman and eventually got upset over the playing time. Walker will look for a starting job elsewhere and isn’t the prototypical leadoff hitter, but does fit in the two hole. He isn’t exactly what you would call an Ozzie ball player, but he is a productive second baseman, although his defense is suspect. Walker has some pop (15 HR’s) and is typically a good OBP guy (.347 career OBP). Rafael Furcal – Atlanta Braves .279 AVG, .344 OBP, 24 2B, 5 3B, 14 HR, 59 RBI, 58 BB, 71 K, 29 SB (6 CS) Its unclear whether the Braves would deal Furcal, but there is no doubt that he’d fit in nicely in Chicago. Guillen is familiar with Furcal from his playing days with the Braves and Furcal’s recent run-ins with the law could push him out of Atlanta. The Braves have a need for a power bat, and that need will grow if JD Drew leaves via free agency. Both Konerko and Lee are on the trade block and each team has some guys that make sense. You could potentially see a deal with the Braves happen this offseason. The other player in Atlanta the Sox may have their eye on is reliever Juan Cruz. Luis C[...]



Twins Decline Option on Christian Guzman

2004-10-15T23:25:47.433-07:00

The Minnesota Twins may of gotten a bit weaker today, when they declined the option ($5.25 million) on starting shortstop Christian Guzman. However, don't think its a guarantee that the playoffs were the last time us Sox fans will see the speedy shortstop in a Twins uniform, because the Twins are still expected to try and sign him, possibly to a long term deal, just for less money.

Guzman hasn't quite developed like the Twins would of expected. In Sox fans eyes, we think of Guzman as a good shortstop and I know many Sox fans would be a fan of signing Guzman. However, that wouldn't be a wise choice. Guzman appears to show up in games versus the Sox but his career has been nothing but a dissapoinment, although the talent is there. He hit .274 with a .309 OBP and 10 stolen bases in 2004.

Guzman is capable of hitting for average and has amazing speed. It is a thing of beauty watching him run after he hits the ball into the gap or when he drops a bunt. However, his speed has never materialized on the base paths. Maybe with Ozzie at the helm that would change, but I'll look at career statistics to tell me its doubtful.

One thing Guzman can do is throw the ball. He possesses an Uribe like arm (us Sox fans know the type of cannon Juan has) and Guzman has that same ability as well as good range. Christian could be fun to watch on the south side, but he's going to have to play a lot better for the Sox then he did for Minnesota.

Still, watch for the Twins to resign him. From what I can tell they don't have an in-house replacement ready and shortstop is a key position to be without. However, I could easily see Jose Valentin finding a home in Minnesota if the Twins decide against Guzman. Thats if Valentin will take a drastic pay cut, and consider this seasons .216 AVG...a pay cut is in order.

However, a Minnesota Paper is reporting that the Sox may have interest in Guzman and are also considering moving Jose Valentin to 3rd. I find this highly unlikely, although I have no doubt the Sox would consider Guzman and he is at least a lateral upgrade over Jose. This move would be completely ludricous because Jose Valentin is not an upgrade over Joe Crede.

As far as I'm concerned if the Sox are going to look to their rivals in Minnesota for help, they should focus on free agents Corey Koskie and Brad Radke. Both would be tremendous upgrades on the South Side of Chicago.

Lord knows the Sox have a lot to do and taking away two talented players from Minnesota would help lower the talent gap between Minnesota and Chicago. And for any Sox fan that thinks the Sox are more talented then Minnesota, I got news for you, we haven't won a thing since 2000 and their is a reason for that.

Minnesota plays better defense, has better pitching, has a better bullpen, and has smarter players. The only thing the Sox can do better is hit for a better average and hit more homers.


Other Options Declined:
  • Jermaine Dye, OF
  • Chris Hammond, LHP
  • Craig Counsell, IF
Options Accepted:
  • Felix Rodrigeuz, RHP - Accepted his player option for 2005



Audios Magglio Ordonez

2004-10-14T12:34:04.216-07:00

The writing has been on the wall for some time in Chicago and to most Sox fans it appeared quite obvious that Ordonez would be playing elsewhere in 2005. The odds of him remaining a Sox are now miniscule now that Ordonez has switched agents to Scott Boras. If the Yankees are the evil empire of baseball, then Scott Boras is the evil dictator of the sports agent world. He does an outstanding job getting his players as much green as possible, but he also burns friendship, makes no commitments, and makes no mention of hometown discounts. To him, its all about the benajamins. Now that’s not a problem from an agent, but its already a given that the White Sox shy away from Boras clients. Many teams in baseball shy away from his clients. His demands are usually excess and he will do anything possible to get his clients as much money as possible (Its his job afterall). However, the Sox won’t meet his demands. Ordonez was already offered the largest contract in the history of the Sox (reportedly) and he turned it down. He demanded Vladdy money even though he doesn’t have a Vladdy like presence in the lineup. Don’t get me wrong, Magglio is a good player, but he is not a 14 million a year player. As much as I don’t like Frank Thomas, Thomas is much more productive, as judged by his high OBP and OPS throughout his career, including the healthy portion of this season. Ordonez has yet to eclipsed the elite status of a 1.000 OPS, one of the true signs of a super star. In fact his career is .978 and his career OPS is .889. In the 2004 campaign, Ordonez was posting a mediocre .836 OPS while hitting .292 with 9 HR and 37 RBI in 52 games. If he played in all 162 games, that would project to 28 HR’s, and 111 RBI’s. No doubt those would be good numbers, 6 million a year better then Carlos Lee or Paul Konerko?? Lee hit .305 with a .891 OPS (higher then Magglio’s) hitting 31 HR’s and knocking in 99. Konerko batted .277 with an .894 OPS, 41 HR’s, and 117 RBI’s. Now lets take a look at the much maligned Frank Thomas. In 74 games he had a .271 AVG, .997 OPS, 18 HR and 49 RBI. Projected over a full season, that’s 39 homers and 107 RBI’s. All three of these players posted better numbers on the season then Magglio, statistically. Albeit Magglio plays a more important position, but not 6 million a year more important. The 6 million figure is representing what Lee is expected to make next year, cause in fact he was paid 7.5 million less then Ordonez in 04. Realistically the only thing that differs him from Carlos Lee is consistency. I don’t think any of us would be bantering for the Sox to offer Carlos Lee 14 million a year. If the Sox are going to spend 14 million a year, it should be on a special player like Beltran. Carlos Beltran, another Boras client (although rumors have been going around that he may switch agents) would be the better option. Beltran is better defensively, is one of the best base-runners in the game, and percentage wise the most effective base-stealer of all time (89.3% success rate). He also has plus power, the ability to hit for average, and oh ya, he plays gold glover caliber defense in centerfield. He also provides a switch hitting presence in the middle of the lineup, which will break up the monotony of righties. To be fair, Beltran hasn’t posted a 1.000 OPS either. But he was 2 HR’s away from going 40/40 this year. Is it realistic the Sox will get Beltran, No…but if your going to pay 14-16 million a year, you better make sure you get a super-star and Magglio is not a super star. So Maggs, thanks for all the great years you had here, but good riddance. The Sox are better off with an extra 14 mill divide[...]



Fixing the White Sox: Part Three

2004-10-13T09:23:00.986-07:00

Last entry I told you how the Sox pitching staff is short a starter and that my thinking is the Sox will fill that opening via trade. I also told you that Jose Contreras and Jon Garland would be two guys to key in on to see if the Sox are winning or not. If the two of them have a strong year, then most likely, the 2005 Chicago White Sox will have a strong year. In today’s piece, I’ll focus my attention on the bullpen. First off, I want to state the importance of a good bullpen. A good bullpen not only enables you to win the close games, but it can be an insurance for when your starters faulter, which is inevitable. Once you have a good pen, you can start having your questionable starters go less innings, keep you in the game, and then turn it over to the pen knowing that most likely your bullpen will keep the game in check for a rally. I also think the bullpen, not the starting rotation, is one of the keys to getting to the post-season. A strong bullpen and a good offense help you win many games. If you have those two characteristics then you don’t need one ace on your staff, you just need 5 pitchers that will keep your team in the game. That philosophy won’t fair well once your in the playoffs, but it will get you to the playoffs. That’s why I’m a firm believer in the White Sox strengthening their bullpen. While their bullpen showed some improvement in key areas, most noteably the closers spot, where Shingo Takatsu converted 19 of 20 saves after replacing Billy Koch, it still isn’t good enough. The Sox had a difficult time getting the ball from the mid-relievers to closer Shingo Takatsu. . The Sox bullpen finished 19th in the majors. They went 21 and 21 with a 4.31 ERA, blowing 12 saves. The Sox bullpen was also the least worked pen in 2004, throwing 424.1 innings. Don’t expect this to happen again in 2005, although if their pitching staff is healthy, they should once again rank low in bullpen innings pitched. However, with another quality reliever (every indication is that the Sox are going to try and add another reliever) it means Ozzie will have one more guy that he can have faith in, which should increase the bullpen workload just a bit. This low IP is a nice stat because it tells you that the Sox starters are getting deep into games, but it also tells you that Ozzie Guillen has little faith in his bullpen and because of it the pitchers had to undergo more wear and tear then they should of. Of course itt also tells you that the Sox are able to keep their relievers fresh. The flaw is even with the relievers fresh for most of the year, the Sox bullpen failed to be anything more then mediocre. Despite being last in innings pitched, the White Sox bullpen was 12th in homers allowed with 61 in 424.1 innings of work. The scary thing is, of all the teams that ranked ahead of the White Sox in homers, the closest team to throwing as few innings as the Sox was Detroit’s bullpen which threw 56 more innings. Jon Adkins led all White Sox relievers with 13 homer runs allowed. However, Neal Cotts (11) and Damaso Marte (10) both gave up double digit homers as well. Sox closer Shingo Takatsu gave up 6 long balls in 62.1 innings while Jackson gave up 7 and Politte 6. Its obvious that the Sox, whose long ball numbers were inflated by pitching in a home-run park, need to put a focus on bringing in pitchers who don’t give up the long ball (DUH!!!). They also need to get at least one hard throwing reliever. It appears that the Sox are going to make a push at one good free agent reliever. This will make the Sox bullpen so much better. Troy Percival and Armando Benitez are the most attractive names on the m[...]



AFL Update: October 12th 2004

2004-10-12T15:16:15.966-07:00

The Arizona Fall League started up roughly a week ago and the White Sox, like every other team, have sent five representatives out to Arizona. The White Sox players will be lumped with up prospects from 5 other teams (Cubs, Devil Rays) to make up the Mesa Solar Sox. This team has some very good non Sox prospects and I'm going to talk about the other prospects at a later date. Today I'm going to give a quick update on the 5 Sox farmhands (Brian Anderson, Pedro Lopez, Casey Rogowski, Matt Smith, and Dennis Ulacia). Brian Anderson - CF .154 AVG, .313 OBP, 2 H, 3 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K Anderson ranks just ahead of Ryan Sweeney as the White Sox top outfield prospect. Anderson played exceptionally well between Winston Salem (High A), and Birmingham (AA) in his first full season. Anderson's season ended a little early due to a hernia. It is good news the Anderson is able to play in the fall league and the outfielder will start next year in Birmingham or Charlotte. Projection: Anderson will get plenty of at bats during spring training, but don't expect to see him till next September, barring injuries or an insane terror. Expect him to fight for a starting job in 2006. Pedro Lopez - SS/2B .200 AVG, .167 OBP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K Lopez was a late addition to the AFL roster, replacing fellow infielder Andy Gonzalez. The idea is that Lopez is a little more advanced at the plate and should be more capable of handling the tough fall league pitching. Remember, the AFL is a spot designated for some of the best prospects in the game, so the competition is fierce. Lopez is a toolsy infielder who projects to be very good defensively but still has to work on consistency. Offensively he is capable of producing a good average, but must improve on drawing more walks if he ever wants to be a top of the order threat. Casey Rogowski - 1B/OF .250 AVG, .400 OBP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 SB Rogowski had a monster year in 2004 for Winston Salem and late in the year shifted to play a little outfield after Thomas Brice joined Australia's olympic team. While Rogowksi creamed the ball all year, he was stuck repeating Winston Salem for the entire season, which has to be considered a set-back in his mind. However, Rogowski was invited to the AFL and is expected to get more outfield time, possibly grooming him for a position change. Rogo saw a power surge this year and has the kind of eye you love in a hitter. While some may consider him a little old, keep an eye on Rogo. Matt Smith - RHP, Reliever 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 4 G, 3.2 INN, 3 H, 2 BB, 2 K I'm sure many people are curious about Matt Smith, well from what I know, this spring you should get a little more familiar with him. Smith is expected to be invited to camp with the team and will have an outside shot at one of the bullpen spots. Of course its highly unlikely that he'd get a slot, barring injury, considering the Sox are hinting at signing at least one reliever via free agency and have already came to terms with Cliff Politte. This means one in house minor leaguer will probably get a job out of camp, two if Adkins doesn't make the roster. The most likely candidates would be Baj, Diaz, and Munoz. Now onto Smith. Smith was downright impressive for the Barons and should pitch for the Knights next season, setting up for Baj or closing if Baj makes the roster. 3-4, 1.83 ERA, 78.2 INN, 58 H, 50 K, 26 BB. Those numbers alone warrant a shot. Dennis Ulacia - LHP, Starter 0-0, 15.43 ERA, 1 GS, 2.1 INN, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K Ulacia was the starter the Sox sent, opting out of sending Brandon McCarthy. The decision was wise. McCarthy had a full season and a spectacular one at th[...]



Fixing The White Sox: Part Two

2004-10-12T15:00:57.890-07:00

My last piece talked about the White Sox offense and how it wasn’t the problem. That puts the emphasis on pitching. In this piece, I will talk specifically about the starting pitching. When you take a look at the Sox earned run average, you get a quick glance at why the 2004 White Sox fell short. A 4.91 team ERA, which is good for 25th in the majors and 12th in the American League. Just divisional foes Detroit and Kansas City ranked worse. The starting rotation was even worse, posting a brutal 5.17 ERA. The bullpen had a 4.31 ERA. The rotations ERA is inflated due to the numerous poundings given up by the varying 5th starters. That list included Dan Wright, Arnie Munoz, Felix Diaz, Scott Schoeneweis, Jon Rauch, Jason Grilli, Neal Cotts and Josh Stewart. Their combined ERA’s is flat brutal. Truth be told though, the White Sox rotation was much worse after the trade deadline. This is a scary proposition, considering the Sox bolstered their rotation with Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras. Part of the reason behind this was Jon Garland and Jose Contreras. Plus this is 4/5ths of next years starting rotation. Garland had a 5.44 ERA after the break, with a more alarming 1.46 WHIP. Contreras wasn’t much better with a 5.30 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP. These two are going to play an integral part on the 2005 season. While Buehrle and Garcia are the Sox aces, at this point and time they aren’t capable of carrying a team. Garcia has ace potential and some would say Buehrle is an ace, especially when you look at his VORP which ranks him as the 17th most valuable player, just behind Pedro Martinez. When adjusting his ERA for playing half of his games at the hitters paradise known as US Cellular, you get an even better sense of value for Mark Buehrle. The man may not have ace stuff, but he knows how to pitch and performs like an ace. But the focus of the White Sox rotation will be the back of the rotation, which contains a talented Garland/Contreras duo. The mystery 5th men is yet to be known and while this years free agent crop offers some attractive names. From the likes of Pedro Martinez, Carl Pavano, Matt Morris, and Matt Clement…just to name a few. But don’t expect those names to be mentioned on the South Side this year. In fact, what the Sox need is consistency from Contreras and Garland. The only thing consistent about them thus far in their careers is that they will put up average to below average numbers, while flashing signs of why you keep them in the rotation. Did I just knock you out of your chair???? I sure as hell hope not, because this is no revelation, I wish I could of came up with something more creative, but luckily that’s not the case, cause I don’t know if I have faith on Kenny being uber creative. I have faith on him being cheap and on him acquiring veterans in the deadline (sometimes the wrong ones), but creativity implies numerous moves and that’s not something the Sox will do. Garland looked incredibly comfortable in many starts this year, but early in the season (late in the games) he would get batted up and hit trouble. As the year went on he was harped by the big inning. To check out more on this, see Cheat’s ChiSox Blog. The bad news is, statistically Jon Garland didn’t grow, although he once again was able to get deep into games and in general keep the Sox in games. Jose Contreras on the other hand improved after being traded to the White Sox. But really, how much better was he? Contreras posted a 5.30 ERA on the southside. However, minus a string of two starts (Sept 7th and 12th) he was more then solid. His big flaw is working on not tipping his pitches [...]



Fixing the White Sox: Part 1

2004-10-11T14:17:13.873-07:00

The 2004 Chicago White Sox failed to make the playoffs, but with that being said the team did make strides in a number of areas. First off, they added a manager who intends to build an offense to help create runs and not rely on the homer. While that is a great plan, it is unclear whether it will be a sucessful plan, especially given the current pieces on the White Sox (ie...power). While the power has led to just one division title, you can't necessarily place blame on the Sox power for the fact that they haven't reached the division. This season the Sox offense ranked once again amongst the league leaders in homers (Tied for 1st with 242), and Runs (3rd with 865). However, they ranked in the middle of the pack in average (15th with a .268 BA, tied with the Northsiders) and OBP (15th with a .333). So while it seems popular to blame the Sox offense, I think that is far from the problem. If you want to blame the Sox offense, don't blame the power, ie Paul Konerko, Carlos Lee, Magglio Ordonez, Aaron Rowand, and Juan Uribe. Two power hitters, Joe Crede and Jose Valentin deserve some blame because their averages, and OBP's were absolutely horrendous but aside from that the power hitters did a good job not only hitting for power, but average. The flaws with the Sox offense weren't even the fact that they didn't execute, in fact, the only major flaws of the Sox offense stem from drastically right handed lineup and a very weak top of the order. The Sox slow offense ranked 18th in stolen bases, but obviously they had a number of guys running that shouldn't be running, based on their atrocious 60% sucess rate (28th in the majors). Heck, with a power offense the Sox ranked 18th in strikeouts, which is a huge stride considering Jose Valentin was basically strikeout or homer. The Yankees, by comparison, were 23rd in strikeouts...another tremendous feat considering their penchance for power. However, unlike the Yankees, the White Sox offense ranked low walks. And that can be expected from an offense with the amount of youngsters the Sox had. Its not an excuse though because this number should increase next year, especially with Frank Thomas back. Plus Carlos Lee and Paul Konerko have both made strides in this area, although one of those two is likely to be moved. Some of you may say, well great, now what are the White Sox supposed to do. Remember, I'm not saying this offense is perfect but wholesale changes aren't necessary. One hitter for the top of the lineup and a left handed bat to replace Magglio Ordonez are necessary. That can be done one of two ways, but the most likely option is Omar Vizquel of the Indians. Vizquel is a veteran, who fits nicely in the 2 hole, but can also work in the leadoff slot. While Omar has had some down years, this year was not one of them. Omar was healthy and still is a very good defensive shortstop (not as good as he once was, but still good) and his leadership is something un-measureable by stats. The harder thing to find is the left handed or switch hitting bat to break up the mix and replace Magglio Ordonez, who is expected to depart via free agency. The White Sox could offer him arbitration or an incentive laden contract, but his health status appears "in the air" and Ordonez' camp doesn't appear to happy with Ken Williams and the White Sox. This is based on comments made in an article in the tribune a week or so ago. What am I trying to get at here, don't get so down on the Sox offense and don't think it needs to undergo a major over-haul. Now I'm ready to hear the one counter-argument, that the Sox offense is an all or nothing off[...]



This Blog

2004-10-10T16:19:28.120-07:00

This blog will be written by Jason Gage and will ocassionally feature stories from my White Sox minor league website FutureSox.com, but will have a specific focus of the Chicago White Sox and ocassionally baseball in general.

Jason is an avid baseball fan and is a die hard Chicago White Sox fan. With the playoffs in check and the offseason near, I plan on first evaluting the infield, outfield, starting pitching and bullpen. I'll mention which holes I believe the Sox should fill via free agency and which ones they should fill in house. I am going to try and stay away from talking Hot Stove, which is one of my more favorite things to discuss, but will ocassionally make comments on players available that would look good with the White Sox or potential trade partners.

Hopefully you'll enjoy my site and if you are a White Sox fan, make sure to check out www.soxtalk.com (Message Board), www.futuresox.com (Minor League Site), and two other awesome White Sox Blogs. Cheats Blog and Black Betsy's Blog.