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.

White Sox Ready for Fall

thomedugout

By Soxman

The Chicago White Sox are officially ready for fall after they waved a flag with a color that’s a fashion taboo to after labor day: white. The actual “fall” of the team occurred when they failed to dominate their easiest home stand of the year two weeks ago.

So,  Jim Thome is traded to the Dodgers for a player that doesn’t even rank among the Dodgers top prospects.

For all of the excitement that Mr. Incredible Jim Thome gave to the Sox in his four seasons on the southside, Kenny Williams said thanks by giving him a chance to achieve a milestone that has thus far eluded him in his Hall of Fame career: a World Series ring.

Less we never forget

-His 500th career home run, which also happened to be a walk-off winner in an otherwise miserable 2007 season

-His multitude of mammoth dingers, the largest of which made us 2008 Central Division Champions.

To a lesser extent, Jose Contreras was also given a similar gift for his 2005 play-off pitching heroics, a trade to the wild card seeking Colorado Rockies

When the flag was waved it was waved loudly.  Through a personal memo sent to contending teams, Williams announced his “everything must go” sale of aging inventory.

Among the items “for sale” were Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, Scott Linebrink, Octavio Dotel and Scott Podsednik.

With the exception of Konerko and Linebrink, who are under contract for at least one more season beyond 2009, player rentals could be had to a bidder willing to pay just pennies on the dollar.

So what does this mean to the 2010 and beyond Chicago White Sox?jose-contreras-2005-studio-plus-posters

Here are four quick points:

1. The Jim Thome trade identifies a need for a left handed hitter.

As Kenny Williams often has multiple plans, and has a history of bringing players back for multiple tours:

-Jim Thome could return at a reduced price.

– A free agent option that could make sense is Nick Johnson.  He has a career on-base percentage of .400 with good contact capability.  His injury history could bring him in at a reduced price and the allure of the DH spot could save miles on his body.  The launching pad of U.S. Cellular field could also help his power numbers.   He could rotate the DH spot with Paul Konerko reducing breakdown risk to Paulie as well.

2)      Absent from the “For Sale” List was Freddy Garcia.

Is this a hint that he could be a firm part of the Sox plans in 2010?  Your rotation would be set:

Jake Peavy
Mark Buehrle
John Danks
Gavin Floyd
Freddy Garcia

Assuming all players remain healthy, this would be a better than average rotation, surely among the strongest in the AL Central.


3)      Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko might not return in 2010

See point one.  Depending on which of Kenny’s plans are activated, both could return.  Given Konerko’s contract and no trade clause, he’s the most likely of the two to be on the 2010 roster.  Along with Mark Buehrle, he’s the face of the organization, which is an intangible Kenny Williams values.

In the spirit of re-building and going with a youth movement:

Tyler Flowers, hitting a combined .297 with 15 homers between Double-A and Triple-A this season is one option, who we will see in the month of September.  While I hope they do not give up on him at catcher, an indicator could be whether or not he plays any first base in the Arizona Fall League.

Dayan Viciedo could be another.

Savings from letting Dye go could be used to add Chone Figgins, a versatile player with speed that Williams has coveted for years.  His style of play is conducive to “Ozzie Ball” as well.


4) Alexei Ramirez might not be the long-term answer at shortstop.

Sure the white flag trades have no nexus to this statement, but I had to make it anyway.  Alexei has the second lowest fielding percentage among White Sox regulars.  He could move back to second base where he was serviceable, or return to the outfield. alexeicheshirt

He’s only owed $2 million over the next two seasons and his offensive capability makes him a bargain, so he is not likely to be traded.

Gordon Beckham makes more sense at shortstop as a player to build around in the infield.

There are a host of possibilities in the off-season including bringing back Scott Podsednik, who could act as a speedy super-sub.

Here’s ONE possible line-up for 2009 if some of these moves were made.

Chone Figgins- 3B
Gordon Beckham- SS
Carlos Quentin- LF
Paul Konerko- 1B
Nick Johnson- DH
Alex Rios- RF
A.J. Pierzynski- C
Alexei Ramirez- CF
Chris Getz- 2B

Remember there are always options.

More posts as the off-season approaches.