Can the White Sox consider Buying Now?

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Chicago White Sox News and Notes

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By Soxman

Yes Chicago baseball fans, I’m back from a long winter’s nap,
To talk Sox rumors, to dispel some of the flap.
Who will our teams trade, and who might they acquire?
Will we be buyers, or sellers by fire.
So grab your Sox Snuggie and drink some egg nog,
Soxman is here with an overdue blog.

The Bears stink.  The Bulls and Hawks?  Well that’s Paul M. Banks’ department.  Notice I didn’t even mention the Cubs. The most exciting news in Chicago sports the last couple of weeks has actually been the Chicago Fire, who lost for the third time after being one win away from the MLS cup on Saturday.  So after getting over my disappointment that the New York Monopoly (Yankees) bought, errr ah won another World Series, I can’t help but start paying closer attention to how our White Sox will look in 2010.

So without haste lets give a summary to date.soxmanbatboyhottie

Paul Konerko for Adrian Gonzales

The hottest rumor as of late is a three way trade where the White Sox send team captain Paul Konerko to the Angels, the Padres send Adrian Gonzalez to the Sox, and the Padres get a ton of prospects from both teams in return. While Konerko has full no-trade rights, he has indicated in the past he would accept a trade to Arizona or the Angels.

The gray area here is what prospects would also move in the deal.  I would think that the Angels would be offering the most as they are really giving nothing up in the deal. However critics are arguing that their assumption of Konerko’s $12 million salary would put the burden on the Sox.  The rumors have said the Sox would send cash to the Angels in the deal as well.

I have heard crazy speak of the Sox top three prospects- Jordan Danks, Daniel Hudson, and Tyler Flowers going to the Padres in the deal.

After we drank the “going young” Kool Aid from Kenny Williams last year, this would be a huge mistake. Kenny should hold his ground here.  The Angels have coveted Konerko since 2005.  At worst, if the Angels took on Konerko’s salary, the Sox would send one prospect to the Angels 2 or more in the deal.

Gonzales is a gold-glove caliber first baseman who has hit 130 home runs and driven in 400 runs the past four years.  He also hits the ball to all fields.  He would be under the Sox control for two years.

Free Agents Chone Figgins and Nick Johnson

Nothing brewing here at all despite both players being a good fit for the Sox in both the OBP and speed departments, not to mention Figgins is a switch hitter and Johnson hits lefty.

While Figgins appears set to command top dollar and most likely will either return to the Angels or sign with the Yankees, Mets or Phillies, Johnson does not have an active list of suitors at the moment.

Johnson has a career on-base percentage of .402 and is showing no signs of decline after posting a .426 OPB in 2009.  He could be a cheap source of run production.

After trading Chris Getz and all but promising Scott Podsednik will not return in 2010, the Sox need more speed.  Lets not forget that Kenny!

Curtis Granderson

The Chicago native, who hit 30 HRs last season with the Tigers is rumored to be on the trading block and is also a left-handed hitter.  However, the chances of the Tigers trading him to a central division rival are somewhere between slim and none. The Cubs are also rumored to be in hot pursuit if they can dump Milton Bradley.

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Rookie of the Year Snub?

For those of you who believe Gordon Beckham was snubbed, think again.  He had a great rookie campaign, hitting .270, 14 HR, and 63 RBIs in just 378 ABs.  But he tailed off towards the end of the season, hitting just .221 over the last 21 games.

Oakland closer Andrew Bailey clearly deserved the honors as he was consistent all season long, breaking camp with the team.  Posting a 6-3 record with a 1.84 ERA, a miniscule 0.88 WHIP, 26 Saves, and 91 Ks in 83 innings was just sick. As a matter of fact, his wins and saves combined indicate that he played a key role in 43% of the team’s 75 victories on the year.

As avid sportsbank readers might know, he has had my vote since July.

Rookie Watch: Jordan Danks

So far in the Arizona fall league, Danks is the Sox farmhand with the greatest chance of starting 2009 on the active roster perhaps starting in RF. Danks is tearing up the fall league sporting a .329 average with two home runs and 17 RBIs through 21 games according to MLB.com.  Soxman’s favorite statistic is that his on-base percentage is a sweet .457.

His glove was major league ready last year according to many scouts and now his bat may be close.  As the Sox currently have a vacancy in RF, the job could be his to lose.

The Mark Teahen Trade

Before spring training began on the 2009 season, Kenny Williams was asked why he didn’t grab a marquee free agent second baseman like Orlando Hudson.  His answer was that he was building a young core of more athletic, quicker players who have earned their chance as a starter.  Chris Getz was specifically mentioned.  Battling several injuries all season long, Getz hit .261 and stole 25 bases in 375 Abs, being caught only twice. As Sox fans, we drank the “younger, faster, from within Kool Aid.”IMG_9701

So we trade a player who was a “core part of our future” and under control for at least five more seasons for a player who will be a free agent in a year.  Better yet?  He’s now our everyday third baseman moving Gordon Beckham to second base, a move Kenny Williams said was not in Beckham’s best development interests as a player. What flavor Kool Aid should we drink now?

Honestly, Teahen has a career slugging percentage over .500 at US Cellular field, which perhaps is alluring to him.  Given a choice between the two, I would have stayed with Getz and spent money on speed elsewhere. I do like Teahen’s versatility however.  He is a capable player at 3B, 2B, 1B, LF and RF. Now Mark, the ball is in your wheelhouse.  Knock it out of the park and prove me wrong.

Mark Buehrle’s OC Chopper

Tune into Orange County Choppers on the Learning Channel on December 19th to see Mark Buehrle’s wife surprise him with his own chopper commemorating his perfect game.  It should be fun to see what they come up with. That’s the closest we will ever come to allowing you to make a pitch in for anyone in the OC, Mark.

That’s the buzz for now Sox fans.

Keep your socks white, your cheers tight, and hopes of more speed in 2010 on the south side in sight.

Fixing the White Sox Part II, Infield and Catchers

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By Soxman

As the White Sox drop two of three to the lowly Royals and lose badly to the Twins, my hands can’t seem to type fast enough in publishing part II of our continuing series “fixing the White Sox” for 2010.

In this series, I’ll take stock of the players who will stay (”put ‘em on the board”) or those who need to move on (”He gone”), and look at possible trades, free agents and minor leaguers that could improve the team.

In our final edition, we’ll look at line-ups and rotations based on our newly found perspectives. Remember, this series is based on some semblance of reality.  For example, Alex Rios is one of our outfielders in 2010.  His contract is large, so his sub-200 batting average since coming to the south side pretty much assures he’ll be in the starting line-up in 2010.

Infield

I honestly don’t expect a lot of movement in our infield in the off-season as it appears as though Gordon Beckham will remain at third base.

Paul Konerko-  Put em on the Board.

As a ten and five player, Konerko has the right to veto any trade.  After an injury riddled 2008 campaign, he bounced back nicely hitting .287, 27 HR, 85 RBI.  He’ll be eligible for free agency after 2010 and the Sox will likely keep him around for his PR value as much as his HR power.  There would not be much of a market for Konerko in the off-season as the Angels, a team who has coveted Paulie in the past, have a fine first baseman in Kendry Morales.

Chris Getz- Put em on the Board

While this would be one spot that the White Sox could add a bat, the free agent market is slim and aside from injury problems, Getz put up a decent rookie campaign, hitting .263 and swiping 25 bases in just 364 ABs.  He needs to work on bunting in winter ball to be a catalyst of Ozzie Ball in 2010.

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Alexei Ramirez- Put em on the Board or He Gone?

If there is anywhere that the Sox could move a player, it would be here.  Ramirez comes cheap as he is under contract for two more seasons at $1 million per season.  Sure, he has hit at least 15 homers and stolen at least 13 bases in his first two seasons, and has made some spectacular plays defensively.  However, his play was lackadaisical in many games during the season and he is yet to add consistent execution to his game, choosing to swing for the fences rather than moving runners over.  He’s the one player who does not exceptionally thrill me.  Still, a power-hitting shortstop with a low price tag could command some top prospects in return.

Gordon Beckham- Put em on the Board

The 2009 AL Rookie of the Year Candidate is here to stay.  While I’d rather see him at shortstop, he will continue to master his craft defensively, develop his power and likely become the biggest stalwart at third base since Robin Ventura.alexeicheshirt1

Jason Nix- Put em on the Board

While his batting average is low and his strikeout rate his high, we should remember that Nix is officially in rookie status.  He is capable of playing any of the infield positions and can man the corners in the outfield.  In just under 250 Abs, he has hit 12 dingers and swiped 10 bases.  The ideal utility player, he should be back with the Sox in 2010.

Catchers

A.J Pierzynski- Put em on the Board

A.J. has been the team’s most consistent hitter all season long and has been one of the more passionate players in a rather lifeless clubhouse.  A free agent after 2010, A.J. knows he’s merely keeping the seat warm for top prospect Tyler Flowers.  Still, it’s safe to pencil AJ in as a starting catcher next season.

Ramon Castro- He Gone

Aside from catching Mark Buehrle’s perfect game, Castro hasn’t done much with the White Sox in 2009.  With AJ starting 75% to 85% of all games, back-up catcher is an area the Sox can trim a little payroll.  Castro made over $1 million this season. There are a host of free agent catchers out there who could act as serviceable back-ups at a much lower price tag.

Tyler Flowers- Put ‘em on the AAA Board

Flowers will benefit from a full season of AAA conditioning as he prepares to take over catching duties in 2011.

So to summarize the 2010 Roster thus far:

Carlos Quentin
Alex Rios (not by choice, by contract)
Scott Podsednik (4th outfielder/Super Sub)
Paul Konerko
Chris Getz
Jayson Nix
Alexei Ramirez (should explore trade market)
Gordon Beckham
A.J. Pierzynski

Na Na Na Hey Hey Hey Hey Goodbye

Jermaine Dye
Mark Kotsay
DeWayne Wise
Ramon Castro

Next edition we’ll look at pitching…then the free agent market.

Stop the White Sox are still Alive Nonsense

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By Paul M. Banks

Is it possible that White Sox fans have become entitled? I guess having one of your own as the president might do that to you. But with 3 division titles this decade (not exactly the Yankees or Red Sox by any means, but pretty good within the context of cumulative White Sox history) maybe Sox fans are beginning to have loftier expectations for the Sox Which is actually a good sign, legitimately longing for and realistically expecting a World Series title every season. The magic and wonder of 2005 has truly had a lasting effect. However, Sox fans need to realize that this sure as hell isn’t 2005, it’s certainly not 2000, and it’s still not even close to 2008.soxmanseats

Just because this division as a whole would struggle in a series with…well, instead of college basketball’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge, how about an AL Central/Pacific Coast League challenge. I seriously wonder how our boys would fare in that. The fact the White Sox were able to rise up and claim first place in mid-season despite looking like complete crapola from opening day till June, is the best testimony to how bad the division truly is. But that doesn’t mean the Sox are still alive. Seriously, how bad did Gavin Floyd look last night? Following what Ozzie called his worst start of the season.

Yes, he’s had hip problems and a bit of a hard luck season, but Sox fans need to quit bringing up the “we have six left against Detroit line and we’re only 6 ½ out” line.

Didn’t the Jim Thome white flag trade teach us something? That management knows it’s been over for some time. But maybe it’s because Jake Peavy starting Saturday, maybe it’s because Detroit is about to become the worst division champion in the history of sports.

I understand the comparisons between this team and 2000. Both teams consisted of young kids that played to their level of competition. The 2000 division champs played really well against good opponents and in must-have games, but also stumbled against the Royals and (then last place) Tigers. But the main way this team resembles 2000, is they would get equally destroyed in October.

Fixing the White Sox, part 1: The outfield

Jermaine Dye

By Soxman

Easy Shoeless Joe Jackson fans, you see the title of this column and possibly fret. But don’t worry, Buck Weaver has no reason to turn over in his grave. We are not using the word “fix” as a reference to 1919, unless we are predicting Gordon Beckham’s chances of going 19/19 next year.

So before Josie goes on a vacation far away for the winter, we are turning our collective heads to look at next season. The most optimistic of fans called an official time of death on the flat-lining 2009 season when the Oakland A’s thrashed us September 8th. Even Darin Jackson and Ed Farmer’s in-game discussion turned from post-season to potential in terms of Ozzie Guillen using September to audition players for 2010.

Over the next few weeks, we will be offering our perspectives on “fixing the White Sox” for 2010. We will take stock of the players who will stay (“put em on the board”) or those who need to move on (“He gone”), and look at possible trades, free agents and minor leaguers that could improve the team. In our final edition, we’ll look at line-ups and rotations based on our newly found perspectives.

Let’s play ball! Outfield

Scott PodsednikScott Podsednik (LF, CF)

Put Em on the Board.

Kenny Williams hinted last week that he might not fill the DH spot next season with a traditional slugger. If that’s true, he could re-sign Pods and not promise him a starting gig, but instead rotating him in the outfield and DH where he could easily amass 350 or so ABs. But at age 34 can he repeat the .304, 5 HR, 26 SB, .355 OBP, season he has put together thus far? As he was unemployed before the Sox called this year, there likely isn’t a waiting list for his services.

Mark Kotsay

He Gone.

While Kotsay is well-liked by manager Ozzie Guillen and versatile in his ability to play all outfield positions and first base, he’ll be 35 next season and is in the twilight of his career. At best, he gets invited back to compete for the 5th OF position, which could likely be occupied with a much cheaper alternative. The Sox will look for bargains at back-up positions in order to address emerging needs as a team.

Dewayne Wise

He Gone.

We’ll always love you for the catch that saved Mark Buehrle’s perfect game, but a .207 batting average won’t cut it. You can hate Scotty Pods for taking your job.

Jermaine Dye

He Gone.

It kills me to say it as “JD” is one of my favorites. His bat vanished after the All-Star Break and his defense, while acceptable, has slowed considerably from what it was in 2005. How bad is his offensive decline? He’s batting .151 with one HR and 1 RBI over his last 53 ABs.

Carlos QuentinCarlos Quentin

Put Em on the Board

It what has been another lost season for Quentin, he’s still under the Sox control and is only 28 years old. His 16 HRs in just 289 ABs indicate the power stroke is still there. With 500 ABs and perhaps a little rest in a “fluid” DH spot, Quentin could revisit the 30 HR club.

Alex Rios

Put Em on the Board

I wrote an article indicating while the Alex Rios move was a good one, only Alex Rios Himself can prove me wrong. Starting fresh in 2010, without the pressure of taking fan favorites’ jobs, Rios will be given every opportunity to succeed. The negative indicators? His on-base percentage has dropped at least 20 points every year since 2007 and his slugging percentage has dropped at least 30 points! The Sox are stuck with his contract regardless.

NEXT WEEK: Catchers and Infielders