Sox Exchange Bailout Plan Part I


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By Soxman and Paul M. Banks

(PMB) The 2008 exceeded the projections of most speculators by winning the 2008 AL Central Division. However, like the stock market itself, they had a very down October. This team has many assets, but there a few liabilities. Which Sox would you keep in your portfolio to increase your ROFI? (Return on Fan investment) Who would you buy, sell and trade if you were Kenny Williams? The Secretary of the Baseball Diamond department and Chairman of the Southside Reserve are here to talk possible transactions and prospectus for 2009…

(PMB) Soxman, I see that Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune seems to agree with a lot of the ideas that you posted in your blog, about trading for Chone Figgins and adding Rafael Furcal. Tell us how you would do it and what your new lineup would be.

(SM) My thoughts for 2009 build from a quote Ozzie made to Kenny Williams after the 2004 season:

“I can’t win with a bunch of plow horses.  I need some stallions.”

We need to add some speed and defense plain and simple.

While I expect Kenny Williams to be active in the trade market, making trades will not be easy.

Paul Konerko, Jim Thome, and Javier Vazquez have no-trade clauses.  Konerko is the only player with the power to veto any trade, while Thome and Vasquez have limited veto power.

Jermaine Dye is a very marketable player but also the most talented and fastest runner in the middle of the Sox line-up of the “slow sluggers.”  While I think he would be the most coveted player, I’m planning as if we keep him.

Nick Swisher has quickly become a fan favorite and is likely to stay as his trade value would likely not wield the bounty we gave up for him in the 2007 off-season.  I’m also hopeful he can improve his on-base percentage.

Orlando Cabrera is gone without a doubt and there is no-way Ken Griffey Jr’s option will be picked up as it is for an estimated $16 million.

The likelihood of Scott Boras accepting an incentive-laden one-year deal for Joe Crede is also slim so we may have seen the last of old #24 as well.

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The free agent market has several options that could fill holes that will open up the middle:

Rafael Furcal is an unrestricted free agent and stole an average of 36 bases per year between 2000-2007.  He was hurt most of this season, and fizzled a little in the play-offs.  The Dodgers might try to re-sign him.

Nick Punto (versatile and fits the grinder mold), stole 69 bases in limited play from 2005-2008.

Willy Taveras stole 68 bases in 2008, but his OBP is horrible at .308.  He would make a great number nine hitter without the pressures of batting leadoff, like Carlos Gomez was on the Twins.  It could mean more walks for Swisher, as they will pitch around him to get to Taveras.

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The trade market offers a couple of options as well:

Chone Figgins could be used to get Konerko or Thome if the Angels can’t re-sign Mark Teixeira.  The Angels openly coveted Konerko after the 2005 season.  For planning purposes, we’ll say Konerko gets moved, although I think Kenny might try to avoid trading the team captain.

There is also a possibility the Sox could trade for Juan Pierre, who wants out of LA.  In just 375 Abs last season he stole 40 bases.  While I think he is expensive ($28.5 million owed for three years) and the Sox could do better, Ozzie loves him from his days with the Marlins.  Taveras is likely to be the cheaper option.

If healthy, Furcal and Alexei would make an awesome combination up the middle with Punto serving as an excellent utility reserve (although I have a feeling they may bring Juan Uribe back instead).

I’ve read reports that the Sox will already have a high payroll next season, but I believe these signings could happen and it would bring GREAT balance of speed and defense to the Sox line-up.  By trading Konerko or Thome, and letting go Crede and Cabrera, you open up about $24-26 million off your payroll.

With these moves, look at your 2009 Chicago White Sox everyday line-up:

S-Chone Figgins- 3B (.356 career OBP, 34 SB in 2008)
S-Rafael Furcal- SS (.352 career OBP, at least 20 SB each year since 2001)
R-Carlos Quentin- LF (.394 OBP, 36 HR, 100 RBI, in 2008)
L- Jim Thome-DH (.406 career OPB, 34 HR in 2008)
R-Jermaine Dye-RF (34 HR, 96 RBI in 2008)
R-Alexei Ramirez-2B (.290, 20 HR, 77 RBI, 13 SB in 2008)
L- AJ Pierzynski-C (.281, 13 HR, 60 RBI)
S-Nick Swisher-1B (.354 career OBP, 24 HR in 2008)
R-Taveras/Pierre- CF (Taveras stole 68 bases in 2008)

Your bench would consist of Brian Anderson, Nick Punto (speedy utility infielder), Toby Hall, Wise/Owens, and Fields/Getz.

Ozzie loves Wise, who could be back as a 5th outfielder.  Several players could also play multiple positions adding versatility.

For all of the Ken Griffey Jr. fans out there, one of the spots could be offered to him as a part-time, pinch hitter, but I do not believe it would strengthen the team or that Griffey would accept it.  Fields could easily play the 1B/3B utility role and earn more playing time like Brian Anderson did.  He is one season removed from clubbing 23 dingers.

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Like Kenny Williams, I’m closing deals on my phone. With one of my four green Sox hats on. Pictured with me is my friend, Time.com’s Ann Binlot.

(PMB) That’s quite a lineup you’ve put together. It makes me feel very optimistic. I am also in awe oh how in-depth you went. GREAT JOB! This team needs to study up on their grinder rules again. They’re investing in a market while forgetting what they learned in Business school. The slogan “The Oriole Way” sounds like kind of a joke right now as the team is finished its 11th straight losing season. Peter Angelos, with Bill Wirtz’s death, now widely regarded to be THE worst owner in all of sports, is currently running this franchise into the ground.

However, the team had some glory days. From 1966 to 1983, the Orioles won three World Series (1966, 1970, and 1983), six American League pennants (1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1979, 1983), and five of the first six American League Eastern Division titles. They played baseball the Oriole Way, an organizational ethic best described by longtime farm hand and coach Cal Ripken, Sr.’s phrase “perfect practice makes perfect!”

The Oriole Way was a belief that hard work, professionalism, and a strong understanding of fundamentals were the keys to success at the major league level. It was based on the belief that if every coach, at every level, taught the game the same way, the organization could produce “replacement parts” that could be substituted seamlessly into the big league club with little or no adjustment.

This is why the Orioles became the envy of the league and winningest team during this period. This philosophy sounds a lot like what the White Sox sold to the public in 2005 under the phrase “Grinderball” Some referred to the Grinder Rules as “Ozzie Ball.” Of course, this sounds much more like the Minnesota Twins organization has done lately and what the Tampa Bay Rays are starting to do.

(SM) Hopefully, the Sox will learn this lesson as well.  However, if they want to win now, while developing talent, this is the best way I see to do it.  The three new pieces you add to the line-up can execute and have made a career out of it.  Taveras is a little more risk/reward type player, but we must remember the Sox almost acquired him in 2006 in a Jon Garland trade.  The double play log-jam in the middle is also broken up significantly.
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Comments

  1. the gooch says:

    I love the line-up possibility. I heard Furcal is likely to resign with Dodgers though. Still, we would go from zero speed to ultra speed and we would have some pop, speed, and defense on our bench. Sweet!

  2. I love it! Soxman do you really think it is possible? Would Konerko waive his no trade agreement? most exciting post of the off-season.

  3. Heidi Hot Sox says:

    I love it! Do you think it could really happen?

  4. Really awesome information. While I would hate to see Paulie go, something has to be done. I really like the speed that would be added to the team.

  5. Wow…great plan. lets hope Kenny does not screw it up by bringing back Griffey and holding onto the same Mules that are approaching the glue factory.

  6. I love the idea of Chone but would miss Paulie.

  7. Great stuff. Pretty in depth views.

  8. Taveras broke his leg. Will be be as fast and ready in 2009? Love the re-building plan.

  9. Soxman. I miss you and ball games my sexy super hero. Love the ideas but don’t know much about Tavares.

  10. Love the plan. Especially because it involves keeping Dirty 30. :)

    I also think the sox need to bring in anoher starter, just in case.

  11. I think that Soxman’s plan is intelligent, within budget, and brings balance to a line-up that was focused on high risk offense. It is very similar to my plan to stimulate the economy. Like, Senator McCain proposes to stay the course in Iraq, we know the plan will not work. It is basically 4 more years of Bush as he employed a slug first, speed last offense when he owned the Texas Rangers.

  12. Good work and great plan. You have my vote. ;)

  13. Myspace mike says:

    I really like the plan, but what do you see happening if Furcal signs with the Dodgers again? Would Figgins go to 2B, alexei to SS and Fields at 3rd?

  14. Myspace mike says:

    I read somewhere we are going to go after Rocco Badelli. He can’t even play every day. Would you like that move? Seems like a vintage cheap Sox move.

  15. Ko’d Konerko says:

    Konerko gets KO’d? Have to admit. I like the line-up. Taveras is only 26.

  16. I like it. I don’t think Juan Pierre would work because the contract is so big and the Sox really have nothing to give back in return.

  17. Soxman I’m going to cry. I do not want to see Paulie leave.

  18. Cubby blue says:

    Soxman, screw Jim Hendry can you come up with a plan to save the Cubs?

  19. paulmbanks says:

    I think going after Baldelli would be a huge mistake. that would remind me of the Darin Erstad move a couple years ago which didnt bare that much fruit.

    Senator Obama, it’s great to have you here on The Sports Bank, would you classify Soxman’s plan as “change we can believe in”? I like his ideas, but I think the free market of the Major League offseason might inhibit from saying “yes we can” to the actual implementation of his plan

  20. paulmbanks says:

    And again, my fellow Sportsbank and Soxman Nation citizens, thank you for coming out here during the offseason

  21. Soxman’s plan really is doable as it presents several options as he stated. I would hope that Thome or Konerko could be moved, but if it has to be Dye or even Swisher his verasility would still be entact. I like it.

  22. Bleeding Cheese says:

    It’s football season folks!!!! LOL. Man you are dedicatted fans of the game. LOL.

  23. Awesome article and pretty hilarious comments as well. I love this site.

  24. Sox it 2 Me says:

    The Sox should hire Soxman as a consultant. Although everything Kenny is expected to do rarely happens. Who saw Nick Swisher coming honestly? Ken Griffey Jr.?

    While these moves make perfect sense you might see him make a trade with the Cubs for Fukodome or the Astros for Michael Bourne. You never know with Kenny.

  25. paulmbanks says:

    I am taking up a grassroots political action committee to the White Sox to help bring Soxman in as a consultant.

  26. Way to go Paul. Let me know where to sign. I’m there.

  27. Billy Blast says:

    Love the plan soxman. Great exchange.

  28. Billy Blast says:

    Any truth to us going after Brian Roberts as you stated? He would be a good fit.

  29. Ok is it just me or does Paul Banks look a lot like Batboy. I know he denies it but the more I look at these pics the more I think..Batboy.

  30. Soxman love the fact you are on Facebook as well. It is different than myspace eh?

  31. Holy crap Obama reads the sportsbank? It is a great site sir with awesome writers. Soxman as i’m sure you know, is your key resource for White sox information and Mr. Banks is a pretty good politician and big environmentalist. It is an honro to know I’m reading the same internet site as you sir.

  32. Matt Saracen QB#1 says:

    Yep, Obama joins Jay Mariotti, Ozzie Guillen and John McCain as loyal site readers who post comments here!

  33. I answered most questions on part II of the Sox Exchange. Beyond a shadow of doubt I promise you that Paul M Banks IS NOT BATBOY. He attended a game with us over 80’s weekend. Paul all three of us should have taken a picture together.

    Now whether or not Paul is Chris Getz, is another question all together. ;)

  34. PS. I wanted to thank everyone for their continued support of my character and for all of your posts on this site. It means a lot to us.

  35. paulmbanks says:

    remember this story people? the one that set a TSB record with 111 comments? the same one I did for NBC Chicago.com that broke their record for 176 comments! It’s the night I followed Soxman and Batboy together at the ballpark to chronicle the evening. If you look on my myspace and facebook you’ll see a pic of me with Soxman AND Batboy, along with their good friend Bobby Biceps.

    http://www.thesportsbank.net/2008/07/22/a-night-at-the-ballpark-with-soxman/

    And I told someone else the Chris Getz thing last week. They were like oh my God yes, totally. Theresa thought so too.

  36. paulmbanks says:

    And Meg yes, Facebook is very different from Myspace. I’m on both and it seems, from my experiences that Facebook is significantly less White Trash and spam filled than myspace.

  37. Now lets take a step into the real world and note how delusional White Sox fans are. It think that Konerko has any trade value with declining ability and a big contract is absolutely insane. The same goes for Thome. Also, the Angels have no control over Figgins unless the Angels resign him or he accepts arbitration. Even if Figgins was under control of the Angels, it would take more than just Konerko to pry Figgins away from the Angels. Tavares is in the same boat as Figgins, still arbitration eligible. Even if Tavares was able to be traded for, who are you going to trade to the Rockies? Poreda? Floyd? Danks? Nick Punto will resign with the Twins. Also KW mortgaged the farm system to get Nick Swisher. Good move. Good luck!

  38. chriscassata@gmail.com says:

    When will you people learn, speed is overrated. We need players capable of putting up good to high OBP. I’ll take a consistent doubles hitter over Pierre/Tavares ANYDAY of the season…

    Wise up Sox fans, and u 2 Sportsbank…

  39. So Cal Jack says:

    Signing Furcal is totally unrealistic given the White Sox projected payroll for 2009 as is. Furcal’s going to want a long term deal starting at least around $11M/year. Konerko’s worth more in a deal than just Shawn Figgins straight up too, and the Angels owner has said he’s going to “hold the line” and not increase payroll next year (meaning to take on a salary like Konerko’s, the Sox will have to take one back in return).

    So there are three deals I can see happening, all involving Konerko. Konerko is on record as saying that he’d be open to a trade to either a Southern California team or of course Phoenix (which is home), but if a team on the west coast like the Giants were to offer a contract extension, I think he’d go there as well. So here are the three possible deals:

    1) Konerko to the Dodgers for Juan Pierre, a good pitching prospect and cash (the difference between Konerko’s and Pierre’s remaining contracts);

    2) Konerko and Mac Dougal (bad contract), to the Angels for Figgins and Gary Matthews Jr. (bad contract going back the other way offsetting Konerko’s contract); and

    3) Konerko to the Giants for SP Matt Cain (Giants have money to spend and are seeking a clean up hitter).

    Swisher obviously is a defensive liabiility in CF so it just makes the most amount of sense to move him full time to IB. Pierre’s a mediocre center fielder (girly arm like Jerry Owens), but he’s a legit leadoff hitter. Matthews Jr. is a former gold glove center fielder, but since he (alledgedly), went off the juice he can’t get up over the .250 bar (making him expendable), and the Vlad Guerreo is up for a big contract extension (I would think making it enticing for them to include Figgins just to dump Matthews).

  40. Vote4SoxIn09 says:

    This is almost identical to my offseason wish list. I like your reasoning and descriptive comments behind each move. Some of my questions are, what do we give up for Tavarez? The Rockies are looking for starting pitching and with Javy Vazquez’ meltown I think we can probably ship him off to Colorodo for Tavarez and relief pitcher Vizciano (former 2005 relief pitcher). He bolsters our bullpen and adds speed to our lineup. I think Konerko for Chone Figgins is a very good posibility. But this will only happen if the Angels DONT re-sign Texiera. I don’t think Furcal will be our SS next year. All signs indicate that it will go to Alexie. With that being said I think the Sox WILL win the Orlando Hudson battle in free agency.

    What about the starting pitching then? If we trade Javy to Colorodo, and with the career threatening injury to Contreras, there are big 2 holes. Do the Sox trade for another SP? Do they sign a pitcher via free agency? Not only do we need to give up some of our power for speed, but for at least 1 more starting pitcher. Guys like Matt Cain and Jake Peavy are currently being offered… stay tuned.

  41. Its funny that people think players like Konerko and Vasquez have any trade value. The Sox would be lucky to get rid of the bad contracts and a mid-level prospect. The think the Rockies would even want Vasquez is hilarious and then on top of that, give up a young centerfielder with speed with a favorable contract. Come on guys, be realistic. It would be fun to think of trading Alberto Pujols for Brian Anderson, but that is just stupid. Also, I do hope that the Sox sign Hudson so they lose their first round draft pick thus continuing the traditional of having a crappy farm system.

  42. paulmbanks says:

    Vote4Sox,

    we will answer your questions in the next couple of days.

    Reality, and So Cal Jack,

    good to have you here. welcome. please feel free to voice your plans for fixing the Sox

  43. So Cal Jack says:

    It’s unusually quiet on the hot stove league front right now. Last year during Thanksgiving Day weekend the logjam of free agents and resulting moves started to break free with the Angels snipe signing of Torii Hunter. That of course led to the disasterous Nick Swisher trade too.

    Jenks, Dye and Vazquez are all rumored to be being shopped by Kenny. My best guess it that Kenny figures Jenks will want more than a three year contract, which the Sox won’t give to any power pitcher. But the drop off from Jenks to Dotel and/or Thornton is precipitous in the closer role. My guess here is that Kenny’s thinking “closer by committee” until Poreda is ready.

    I get why Kenny’s likely shopping Dye too, and it has everything I’m willing to bet with the Sox not wanting to put Josh Fields at 3B full time. So you slide Quinten to RF and limit your defensive liabilities by moving Fields to LF, and free up a big chunk of change to perhaps pursue Orlando Hudson, and you don’t have a resulting big power drop off with Fields playing every day.

    And Vazquez DOES have good trade value, simply because he eats up a lot of innings and never goes on the DL. But the domino’s have to first start fallilng as to where Sabathia, Lowe and Burnett land first.

    And Konerko DOES have good trade value too, but of course would have to waive his “5 and 10″ no trade rights. Poster “Reality”, what you’re overlooking is that Kobnerko had a painful soft tissue injury to his right hand the first half of last season that limited his power and bat speed.

    Word out here on the West Coast is that Angels owner Arte Moreno is balking at giving Texeira any more than a 7 year deal (Bor-ass wants 10); that would leave the Angels without a first baseman and short a power bat to protect Vlade in the lineup. So a Konerko for Matthews Jr. deal would be pretty much a wash money wise and would solve a problem for both teams.

    Konerko and Kenny though are golfing buddies and of course Paulie’s a huge favorite. I would think that if Kenny had ANY intention of shopping Paulie, he wouldn’t have given up on Swisher so quickly.

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