Chicago White Sox News and Notes

christna
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.

ozzie-guillen-choke

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.

What Clubs Would Be Cookoo for Carlos Zambrano?

PHILLIES  CUBS

By Soxman

As there is absolutely nothing else to talk about on either the North or South side of Chicago in terms of baseball this year, the focus of Chicago media has turned to “playa hatin” and speculation over off-season moves.

Aside from the phrase Alex Rios=bust being a popular topic of discussion, and the suspension of Milton Bradley for the season, there’s really only major topic of discussion- the Cubs shopping Big Z, Carlos Zambrano in the off-season. It’s been a popular topic to twitter or tweet, or whatever else it is the kids are doing nowadays.

First, I know this may sound insane or even comical, but I like Carlos Zambrano. That’s right, I admit it.  His passion and insanity, his assault on a harmless Gatorade container, his admission that his abdominals will not get him an Abecrombie endorsement any time soon, his desire to be Babe Ruth.  Would I want him on my team?  Maybe.

While his strikeouts are way down, his ERA has remained consistent the last two seasons.  He also has a career ERA of 3.52 and is still under 30 years of age.  With a no-hitter on his resume, there is some semblance of appeal.  Sure there’s also a lot not to like, the laziness, the inconsistency from one outing to the next, and a contract that’s bulkier than his ever growing waistline.

On a team full of head cases, bloated contracts and underachievers, Carlos has become lost.  While his attitude is in need of adjustment, remember what a surprise he was in 2004?  Or how in 2005, he filled the shoes of both Prior and Wood while they battled injuries much of the year (and their entire Cubs careers for that matter), to emerge as the Cubs ace?

Allegedly, Big Z would only accept a trade to the White Sox, Red Sox, or the Dodgers.  Let’s start there, but remember that trade scenarios are pure speculation.

Carlos Zambrano to the White Sox

The key here is that the Cubs are looking to trim payroll,  Big Z has said on numerous occasions that he’d love to play for fellow Venezuelan, Ozzie Guillen.  What would it take to get this deal done?

If I were a Cubs fan:

Jake Peavy would be my hope.  Peavy could waive his no trade clause as the move would not uproot his family, and the Cubs were originally one of the teams on his wish list.

As a Sox fan: soxmanonfield

A Carlos Zambrano for Alex Rios, Gavin Floyd and cash would make sense.  We get rid of a bad contract and free up enough salary to sign Chone Figgins.  The Cubs would officially have the most overpaid outfield in all of baseball. The Sox 2010 rotation would be Jake Peavy, Mark Buehrle, Carlos Zambrano, John Danks, and Freddy Garcia. Having a rotation that consists of a Cy Young award winner, one perfect game hurler and two men with no hitters would be fine by me. Realistically, there is not a fit between these two teams.

Both the Dodgers and Red Sox are no fun to speculate over because they have such great payroll flexibility- making  anything possible.If Big Z were traded to either team, I’d be looking for youth in return and salary relief.  These are two things that both clubs could offer.

Other teams you can never rule out:

-The New York Mets have indicated they will be going after another consistent pitcher in the off-season.

-The Minnesota Twins who need an ace and could be looking to make a big splash in their new stadium in 2010.  Go ahead Twins fans, rip me a new one on how this would be a salary impossibility. 

-The New York Yankees.  Because they are like the Star Trek Borg.  Resistance is futile.

-The Los Angeles Angels.  They could lose Vladimir Guerrero’s contract this off season.  Could Ervin Santana and Brandon Wood bring the Angels a solid 2010 rotation of Zambrano, Lackey (pending FA), Kazmir and Weaver?

Ok baseball fans, if not the Cubs, or a heavy workload of anger management classes, where would Big Z have the best fit?

White Sox Trade Doesn’t Answer Buyer or Seller Question

soxmanandbatboy
By: Soxman

The question on every White Sox fan’s mind as the major league trade deadline approaches…“Will Kenny Williams be a buyer or a seller?”

Yesterday’s trade of minor league first baseman Brandon Allen for relief pitcher Tony Pena really didn’t answer the question either way.

Pena, 27, is 5-3 with a 4.24 ERA (16 ER/34.0 IP) and one save in 37 relief appearances with the Diamondbacks in 2009.  He leads the club with eight holds and ranks second in games pitched.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder is 16-13 with a 4.08 ERA (101 ER/222.2 IP), seven saves and 63 holds in 209 career relief outings with Arizona (2006-09).  He has limited right-handers to a .224 (100-447) lifetime average and ranks fourth among all major-league relievers since 2007 with 61 holds.

Allen, 23, is hitting .282 (84-298) with 16 doubles, eight home runs and 43 RBI in 62 combined games with Class AA Birmingham and Class AAA Charlotte.

So why is the “buy or sell” question not answered?

Let’s examine a few points:

If Kenny Williams were to sell…

Pena becomes a cost effective right-handed set-up alternative to Octavio Dotel or Scott Linebrink, who could be moved for a prospect or two.

While Allen is a promising prospect, he could argue that the Sox already have promising 1B/DH types in Dayan Vicedo or Tyler Flowers.  The future wasn’t really mortgaged here.

If Kenny Williams were to buy…

The Sox added another solid reliever to the bullpen, replacing their only weak link in Jimmy Gobble, who was designated for assignment yesterday after posting a 7.50 ERA in 12 IP.

As is, this move gives us one of the best bullpens in the game.

No one can argue with that.  Is this trade a prelude of things to come?  No one knows but Kenny Williams.  He likes it that way.

Keep those white flags in the closet for now Sox fans.