White Sox Adam Dunn: WORST. SEASON. EVER. Fire Ken Williams!

Manager Ozzie Guillen was let go by the Chicago White Sox last week, but the man who should have been cut was GM Kenny Williams. Williams has made so many bad trades, and HORRIBLE free agent signings that he was the one who really deserved to be cut.

Why? He wasted all that money on Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Jake Peavy– all ludicrously overpaid underachieving wastes of space that you can squarely point the finger  at for what a pathetic season it was on the south side.

“All in” my ass! We’ll touch on all these individuals, but let’s focus on the big FAT ASS Adam Dunn. Showing up horribly out of shape in spring training (after signing a four year $56 million contract) is one thing, but being unable to streamline your lard ass even though you’re a professional athlete with  access to the best exercise equipment and nutritionists every day?

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Alex Rios a HUGE Reason White Sox Aren’t Winning the AL Central

The Chicago White Sox should be closer to the division lead than they currently are. One of the big reasons, Alex Rios. He is hitting .215 with 8 homers and 32 runs batted in. He has 23 walks and 54 strikeouts and 52 runs scored.

Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has moved him up and down the lineup throughout the year, nothing has sseemed to worked. He is hitting .280 with 0 homers and 4 runs batted in, in the third spot in 25 at bats. He has the most at bats and homers in the sixth spot in the order this year. The only problem is he is only hitting, .185 from there with a .506 ops. That is not good
anyway you look at it.

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White Sox Back in AL Central Division Race- OMG! Are you Serious?

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During the infamous “White Flag trade” in early August of 1997, Chicago White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was infamously quoted “any one who thinks this team can catch the Cleveland Indians is crazy.” Given that the Sox were just 3.5 back of the division leaders from Ohio, with 7 weeks left in the season, it INFURIATED White Sox fans.

And it should; they conceded their season with more than enough baseball left to be played. The Cleveland Indians started 30-15; they’ve been just 4-14 since. And it’s very likely they’ll get another beat down from the New York Yankees again tonight.

The White Sox by contrast were 11-21, .344 pct. 11.5 games out, and the worst team in baseball on Cinco de Mayo. In the games since then, they’re 22-14, and now find themselves in the exact same position as they were on the day of the white flag trade 14 years ago, 3.5 behind first place Cleveland.

By Paul M. Banks

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White Sox Handle Good Teams, Struggle Massively vs. the Bad Ones

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The Boston Red Sox were everyone’s preseason champions, and up until the last few days, one of the hottest teams in major league baseball. It was the 27-31 Chicago White Sox who cooled them off, sweeping the BoSox in Fenway. This makes it seven in a row white over red. Chicago is starting to own Boston in the same manner the Minnesota Twins own them.

Or how the New York Yankees own the Twins in the postseason. The White Sox season has now been upgraded from nightmarish train wreck to mediocre with some rays of hope. They’ve passed up the Kansas City Royals for third place in the AL Central, and are currently within striking distance of reaching .500 and catching the second place Detroit Tigers.

But one number sums up their season more than any other.

By Paul M. Banks

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2011 Chicago Baseball as Horribly Atrocious as 2011 Chicago Weather

Any time anyone from my hometown talks about how Chicago is the greatest city in the world, the first dissenting retort you’ll hear is “but what about those long, harsh, brutal winters?”

Fair point, especially since we’ve had a whooping three days of 70+ degrees in 2011. (’09 had 11 by this point, last year had 14, the average is ten), and even though it’s Cinco de Mayo, this week felt an awful lot like winter at times.

The other main negative stereotype against Chicago (surprisingly, it’s not the obesity rate, people usually save the fat jokes for Milwaukee first, and Houston second) is it’s pathetic track record in MLB history.

Prior to the 2005 World Series win by the Chicago White Sox, the Chicago Cubs combined with the Sox to produce an incredible 176 seasons without a title. What follows is some numbers that redefine the ugly, the uglier and the hideous. Or as you can call it in 2011, the Cubs, the local forecast and the White Sox.

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White Sox Winning by Out-Bludgeoning Opposition

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After their 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday afternoon, the Chicago White Sox pushed their record to 5-3. There are still plenty of questions about this year’s White Sox team but one thing is for sure: they can score runs.

As of now they are leading the MLB in runs scored and are third in batting average. However, it’s troubling how they’re giving up plenty of runs as well. On Opening Day, the Sox looked magnificent at the plate, jumping out to a 14-0 lead over the Cleveland Indians.

Mark Buehrle cruised through five innings of shutout ball but then gave up four runs in the 6th. When all was said and done, the White Sox came out a winner, 15-10. That’s not exactly the ideal way to win. Yet, that’s the way Ozzie Guillen and his Sox are going to get the job done this year (for the most part) and fans better hope that method can carry them all the way to the Fall Classic.

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Chicago White Sox All-2000s Team

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By Soxman

In the ’80s pop culture classic “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” two teenagers traveled back in time to kidnap some of history’s most famous people to help with their history assignment.  Welcome to a life-long Sox fan’s version. Two key rules were followed in making these prestigious selections:

A player’s “name recognition” in MLB does not ensure him a spot on this list.  Their contribution to the White Sox does.  For example, David Wells’ 200+ career wins does not grant him a spot because he only threw 100 innings in a Sox uniform.  For that matter, neither does Jake Peavy’s handful of innings last summer.

Slight bonus points given to anyone on the 2005 White Sox.  Breaking an 88-year curse has to count for something.

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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.

Jake Peavy’s Debut Offers Sox Taste of 2010

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By Soxman

Coming from a lower-middle working class family, I’m no stranger to having to wait in order to get something you really want. One October during my childhood, I remember feeling excitement as my mom took me to K-Mart and picked out a brand new bicycle.  Man it was loaded.  Mag rims, free wheel and made of alloy instead of metal, so it was very light.  I got it off the rack and was even able to take it for a spin- about fifty feet past the blue light special icon.  Then I was reminded how I wasn’t actually getting the bike now, we were putting it on layaway for next spring.  Dreams of cruising past my jealous friends and being the coolest kid on the block would have to wait until after winter came and thawed.

This is what Jake Peavy’s long awaited White Sox debut against the Kansas City Royals is like for me, and probably for most Sox fans.

As Peavy himself admits that he’s not 100%, and still pitching in a game that has about as much meaning as that 50-foot spin down the aisle in Kmart, I’m excited.  But like all Sox fans, is anyone really thrilled?  It would have much more meaning if we were in the thick of a pennant race, or at the very least if we were seeing the true Jake Peavy.

As the winds of fall have the Sox playoff candle trickling out, I question what Peavy’s debut really means at this point.  He could be awesome, he could get shelled.  Worse, he could get hurt…AGAIN.  If it does not get us anywhere, does it really matter?

I’m not the only one raising this question either.  If you read behind Ozzie Guillen’s interview on Friday, he might feel the same way.

“We’ve been waiting for him for seven months,” said Guillen.  “Hopefully, when I take this guy out or he takes himself out of the game, he’s healthy.  That’s what I want.”

So what should Sox fans take from his start?  Aside from getting a look at one of the anchors of the 2010 rotation, don’t expect much.  Barring a horrific injury or another Williams blockbuster trade, we already know our starting rotation for next year:

Mark Buehrle

Jake Peavy

John Danks

Gavin Floyd

Freddy Garcia

So as the former Cy-Young award winning pitcher, with a career ERA of 3.29, and all the tools to be called ace takes the mound for the first time, enjoy the test drive.  He’ll soon be put on layaway until the spring.  Only then will we truly get to enjoy the ride.

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.

White Sox Ready for Fall

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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.