Chicago White Sox to Trade For a Closer?

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After the Chicago White Sox loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, 670 A.M. the Score broadcasters Ed Farmer and Darin Jackson indicated that GM Kenny Williams is likely going to be on the phone exploring ways to fix the back end of his bullpen. As the Sox blew another two-run lead in the ninth, it is obvious something needs to change. Just two days after White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he would likely stick with Matt Thornton as his closer, he brought in rookie Chris Sale. Sale quickly got into trouble, so he turned to Thornton, who blew his 4th save in as many chances.

Here are the top trade candidates followed by possible internal solutions within the organization who might to assume the role.

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Chicago White Sox: Offseason Additions and Subtractions

Going after pitcher Jake Peavy in 2009 proved that the White Sox are serious about getting their ace in what has become an ace-happy league. This is something that their rivals, cough, cough – the Minnesota Twins, have refused to do. No, Minnesota, it’s been four years, Francisco Liriano is not an ace.

Of course, the deal has been a major bust so far, as Peavy cannot stay healthy to save his life. The White Sox have the best rotation in the division with Peavy (if he recovers from his detached lat), Mark Buerhle and John Danks leading the way. But the question with the White Sox is whether or not their bullpen and lineup can keep up with the pitching.

Let’s take a look.

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Bobby Jenks, Oney Guillen Bring Junior High Level Drama to White Sox

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Wow. Just Wow! Welcome to Major League Baseball coverage in the era of social media and idiots with no inhibitions.

Chicago White Sox, welcome to damage control.

Bobby Jenks conveyed some classlessness, bitterness and angst about the way he was treated while a member of the White Sox. And Manager Ozzie Guillen’s son, Oney displayed plenty of childish vitriol, horrible spelling, typoes and terrible grammar on twitter.

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Bobby Jenks’ Failure creates Downward Spiral of White Sox Season

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If you’re a Chicago White Sox fan, football season may have just started for you this past weekend. If it hasn’t yet, I’m sure you took another step in that direction after last night’s soul-crushing and nausea-inducing last-inning loss. Just in case you didn’t get enough amebic dysentery in baseball form versus Detroit, Tuesday night’s blown save at Target Field made you even queasier about  2010 season.

I said coming into this series that the Sox needed a sweep, just to get back into this thing. That’s because

1.) Justin Mourneau, a former AL MVP is coming back to the first place Minnesota Twins at some point.

2.) The Twins have a vast/mental psychological edge over the White Sox

3.) The Twins have a much easier schedule remaining than the Sox

4.) The Sox have already imploded because of the Domino Theory at work in their bullpen.

Ready to “write off” the Sox in 2010? Or I guess “blog off” the Sox season?

By Paul M. Banks

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Fernando Rodney: Bad For Your Health, Good for the Tigers

That's the same look on my face whenever Rodney walks a batter

By:  H. Jose Bosch

For three years prior to this season, the Detroit Tigers relied upon closer  Todd Jones. Well, if by relied upon you also mean suffered through. His performances were so vomit-inducing; he even earned the moniker “The Roller Coaster.” And if he hadn’t looked like any of the fat slobs who play in a softball beer league (a.k.a. any of us), we probably would’ve been angrier with him.

 

Todd Jones is a nice jolly guy, a baseball Santa Claus if you will, and we dealt with it. At least we thought we were dealing with it. In reality he was getting the job done much more often than not.

 

Is that camouflage or a minor league uniform?

Is that camouflage or a minor league uniform?

 

From 2006-2008 he saved 86-percent of his games. The American League average over that time was roughly 67-percent. The gold standard, Mariano Rivera, saved games at a 93-percent clip.

 

So, despite the stomach-turning, we were pretty lucky to have Jones around. Now we’re Jones-less but there is still plenty of drama thanks to Fernando Rodney.

 

Rodney is in his first season as a full-time closer. As of now, you can’t ask him to be any better: 19-for-19 in save opportunities. But man he makes it interesting and at times, nerve wracking. As pleased as I am with his ability to close the game out, even if it takes a few batters, I still have the same doubts I did when Jones took the hill. My biggest question: can any team win a championship with such an up-and-down closer?

 

The Yankees’ dynasties in the late 90’s and early 00’s showed us the benefit of a lockdown closer (Rivera). The Angels had K-Rod, the Marlins had Ugueth Urbina. Boston had Keith Foulke and Jonathan Papelbon. Chicago relied on Bobby Jenks while the Phillies could call on Brad Lidge. I would love to have a Mariano Rivera but I’d also love to be dating Marissa Miller. We can’t have everything.

 

braun-and-marissa

 

All of the above teams had closers people regard as the best in the league. All of them have World Series Championships. Of course it’s not a sure thing. The 2006 Cardinals didn’t need a strong closer in that series and Byung-Hyun Kim was anything but clutch for the Diamondbacks in 2001. But that’s two series out of the last ten where the winner didn’t have a great closer.

I’m done with my statistical analysis/breakdown. Even if history is not on the Tigers side, I’m going to make up for all the Todd Jones bashing I have been guilty of for three years.

 

I’m going to appreciate a good thing the Tigers have going. I can only watch one game at a time.  Watching the opposing team execute a two-out walk or a lead-off hit in the ninth inning of a one-run game can be tough to put into perspective. But when Rodney & company finally get three outs and the Tigers win, I should be thankful.

 

Rodney will go out and get the job done, even if it kills us all. I’m just going to enjoy it. The more games he has to save, means the more games Detroit is winning.