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Soxman and Paul M. Banks
Alas the dynamic duo of White Sox blogging returns.  With the NBA draft complete and the Chicago Blackhawks on ice for the summer, “Sports Ace,” Paul M. Banks returns to wrap up the Cross-town Classic, discuss the White Sox chances in the AL Central, and to dive into the latest MLB trade rumors involving the southsiders.

(SM) Welcome back, Sports Ace.  Since you’ve been gone, we’ve seen the White Sox rise and fall several times.  Winning 10 of our last 12 games, we are creeping back into contention.  I think our dramatic win on Saturday, followed by the thrashing of the Cubs on Sunday may have been the spark we’ve been waiting for from this team.  Gordon Beckham has been on fire since delivering the game winning hit on Saturday (hitting .350 in his last 20 Abs), and the team appears to be playing with a little more passion albeit still playing sloppy defense.  Your thoughts?

(PMB) Thanks man, it’s great to finally be back. I’m glad you brought up “Bacon” because he’s just been a joy to watch lately, going 3 for 3 last night and playing a key role in the win that finally brought the Sox back to .500. I understand why people compared him to Robin Ventura early on, as they played the same position and both were highly touted first-round draft picks who struggled mightily at the plate and with the glove when their careers first began.

However, I don’t see Beckham as a guy who will ever hit 30-35 HRs in a season. He will be an excellent spray and slap hitter who could regularly see his average in the .310s and .320s each year. He may not have Ventura’s power, but he has way more speed. And as we’re learning now, the steroid era of earlier this decade is over and “grinderball” or “smallball” is the new home run.


UPDATE: Since I wrote this last weekend, before the current winning streak and when the Sox were 6 games out, things have changed.

“After completing a sweep of the Indians last night, the White Sox are 3.0 games back and two games over .500.  It’s been an up and down season, but the White Sox are finally providing legitimate reasons to believe that they can repeat as AL Central champions…40 of them in fact.” See our friends at Midwest Sports Fans.com for more

(SM) After winning 10 of our last 12 games, even the most pessimistic of Sox fans are starting to believe we can overtake the AL Central.  You once said, “the Sox will go as far as Gavin Floyd takes them.”  Well, he improved to 3-0 in June, is 4-1 since May 22 and has a 1.39 ERA in his last eight starts.  As a matter of fact, the Sox now have the 2nd best team ERA in the AL (4.00), second only to Seattle (3.64).  Care to comment on whether or not our pitching can continue to hold the line?gavinfloyd

(PMB) Yes, as far as Floyd (and Danks) will take them. Contreras seems to be young and talented again (or at least very much improved) since his rehab stint at AAA Charlottle, but Floyd is the man truly writing “a tale of two seasons.” You brought up Floyd’s numbers since May 22nd.  Here’s more statistics from that before and after date. In his first 8 starts “Pink Floyd” was 2-4 with a 7.71 ERA with a K/BB walk ratio of 35/23. In his last 8 starts since then, “Pretty Boy Floyd” has an opponents’ batting average of less than .200 and he’s improved his strikeout to walk ratio to 46/15.

(SM) While the pitching has been a bright spot, there is a reason we continue to flirt with mediocrity as a team.  Monday’s game against the Indians was the first time in six games, the White Sox did not make an error.  They have made 17 errors in their previous 11 games.  As we have three players with less than 2 full years combined experience playing 2B, 3B, and SS- this has to be expected.  This is a key area the White Sox must improve if they are to compete in the AL Central as the season presses on.

Other things to consider:  they also have the 3rd worst team batting average in the AL (.254), and are 4th worst in scoring runs (332).  The Sox have the worst team batting average at home (.231), in a hitter’s park, and still have several questions in our line-up, including the perpetual “double-play-in-waiting” with Thome, Konerko, and AJ batting in the 4-6 spots.  How can we fix these things and what are your keys to our successfully repeating as division champions.

(PMB) First A.J. HAS TO THROW SOMEBODY OUT ON THE BASEPATHS FOR ONCE! Of course, it’s not all his fault as Sox pitchers are ludicrously bad and trying to hold runners on base.

Also, prior to this homestand the Sox were hitting a horrific .221 at home this season. This team of slow-moving sluggers were not hitting home runs; in a power hitter’s dream ballpark. How is this worst of both worlds possible? It’s like encountering some dude who’s both an arrogant jerk and a soft, pansy man at the same time. And if it weren’t for singer-songwriter John Mayer, I didn’t think such a man could exist. Also, if weren’t for Josh Fields, I didn’t think you could have an MLB regular who lacked power, ability to hit for average and be atrocious at fielding. Re: Fields, this offseason: HE GONE!

Luckily, the changes Ozzie made to the lineup a few weeks ago have improved the team dramatically, but I still think the AL Central is nowhere near as weak as people make it out to be. It’s going to take at least 90 wins to capture this division, and the American League is light years ahead of the National, so the playoffs are going to be even tougher than last season, if our boys are lucky enough to get there. As good as the Sox have been playing lately, they really didn’t make up much ground and didn’t even reach .500 until yesterday. Detroit and Minnesota are much better than people give them credit for.

(SM) Many fans are questioning whether or not the Sox will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.  “Armchair” GMs continue to name Paul Konerko and Jim Thome as the two players the Sox should get rid of in order to become faster.  It’s not easier said than done.  Konerko has 10-5 player trade rights and Thome is too expensive and streaky for anyone to take a chance on him at this point in his career.  Jermaine Dye and Bobby Jenks names have come up all season long as the most tradable commodities.

While we might not agree with unloading any player, let’s look at the latest trade rumblings involving the White Sox and possible impacts of the move:

Jermaine Dye to the San Francisco Giantssox-harmony

The 2005 World Series MVP is hitting .287 with 18 HR and 46 RBI through June 29th.  He’s from the Bay area and has been scouted by he Giants in the last week, who are 7 games back in the NL West but right in the thick of the wild card race.

The move would take away our most consistent bat from the line-up and would move Carlos Quentin to RF, assuming he’s healthy enough to return, leaving us with the continued platoon of Brian Anderson and DeWayne Wise in CF.

If the move were made, the Sox should command nothing less than top pitching prospect Madison Bumgarner.  The 20-year old lefty is 8-2 with a 1.79 ERA in 12 starts between single A and double A this year.
Omar Vizquel

This one was floated on 670 the Score this morning and is unlikely to happen.  The move would result in Alexei Ramirez shifting back to 2B in the hopes that Vizquel would continue to hit .300 and most importantly stabilize the defense.

This is not likely to happen as it contradicts the Sox underlying plan of getting younger.  The Sox remain committed to Alexei Ramirez at shortstop.

Juan Pierre

The rumor that refuses to die would likely be dependent on moving Dye and the Dodgers eating salary.  L.A. claims they are content with keeping him as a bench player, but a young arm like Aaron Porerda or Clayton Richard could change their perspective.

Assuming Dye is traded, your outfield would be Podsednik, Pierre, Quentin and your line-up would have two table setters at the top.  Pierre is hitting .329 with 21 SB in 239 Abs this season.

Bobby Jenks

This move would only occur if the Sox raised the White Flag.  While his name keeps coming up, the only contenders that have a need at closer are the Devil Rays.  I highly doubt anyone would pay top dollar to use him as a set-up man.

As this exchange is approaching extra innings let’s close with Maybe or Mirage, where we hit 5 quick points on the White Sox and offer our opinion whether it is a sign of things to come or something likely to fade quickly?  Remember, no answer can be longer than 20 words!  Let’s play ball…


The White Sox will always be a second class team to the Cubs.soxmanbooth

(SM) Mirage, I don’t count fan-base or attendance, I count championships.  101 years and counting is second class.

(PMB) I’ll have to break the word count rules here, but it’s worth it as I let Ozzie answer this question

Guillen was asked why attendance was so low at the Sox-Dodgers series, and said: “Because our fans are not stupid like Cubs fans. They know we’re horses***.” Ozzie also said Cubs fans will go watch any home game because “Wrigley Field is just a bar.”

Jermaine Dye will still be with the White Sox in August.

(SM), Maybe.  This is truly anyone’s guess, influenced strongly by the Sox play.

(PMB) Mirage. I still think Sox will be sellers come July 31. Like any good GM though, Kenny is keeping this fact close to his vest.

SoxGirl brought the Sox good luck on Sunday.

(SM) Maybe.  I promised a secret weapon and we won 6-0.soxmanonfield

(PMB) Maybe. Superstitions and baseball go together like celebrity deaths and mainstream media overkill.


The Sox should investigate “leaked clubhouse secrets” alleged by the Cubs.

(SM) Mirage.  Moises Alou’s leaking secret was enough for me.

(PMB) Mirage. Cubs seem to think this is a slow sports news time of year…actually it is!


Bobby Jenks will be the Sox closer in August.
(SM) Maybe.  As long as he does not inch closer to 300lbs.

(PMB) Maybe. Who else do we have, Wes Whisler?

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    ok, I was actually joking about Wes Whisler being our new closer, but you guys have already figured that out probably

    BTW, I helped create a Twitter acct for Soxman last night..you can follow him here http://twitter.com/thesoxman72

  2. Awesome exchange. Welcome back Paul! While Soxman’s sub guests have been good, it is like activating Carlos Quentin off the DL seeing you guys work together again.

    Soxman love the trade rumor rumblings although I think it would be a mistake to trade JD. The Giants would never give up Bumgarner or Buster Posey for him.

  3. Mother F—er! You f–kers are point on. Would you want to play for me?

    Soxman, outside of DJ Carrasco, I think you should make the f—ing all-star team man.

  4. Very good exchange. Whatever happened to the idea of the video blog you guys were debating?

    Had Batboy left the justice league?

    Soxman loved seeing you in the Red Eye again. You need to break into television next!

  5. Mullet Kelly says

    The dynamic duo returns! Good point Paul on AJ throwing people out.

    Bacon gave credit to AJ for helping to break him into life in the majors. AJ? Any knowledge of this guys?

  6. Myspace mike says

    Soxman, with Bacon heating it up and Carlos set to return after the all-star break, what do you think of this line-up?

    Pods- CF
    Alexei- SS
    Dye- RF
    Thome-DH
    Quentin- LF
    Konerko- 1B
    Bacon- 3B
    AJ- C
    Getz- 2B

    I know AJ might not like hitting 8th but who cares?

    It breaks up the log jam you describe in the middle of our order, (assuming Carlos can still run), puts speed at the bottom with Getz and keeps Anderson on the bench where he belongs.

    Thoughts guys?

  7. Awesome article as always guys. Glad to see you back.

    Soxman I’d like to thank you for sending the autograhped picture for my sick nephew. He LOVES THE SOXMAN!!!

    He has it bedside at the hosptial and tells all the nurses you are his best friend.

    Sox hugs…

  8. Patrick Herbert says

    The John Mayer comment was priceless. Your comments regarding the AL Central are spot on. Anything can happen in the playoffs. Like they say…on any given Sunday. Sorry-wrong sport reference.

  9. Great exchange guys. Soxman why hasn’t some major media piece in Chicago hired you yet? It would be great TV.

    Better yet, the two of you could team with Ranger for an afternoon saloon like Sox post game. Get on it!

  10. Great work guys. The John Mayer ref was funny which is why your chemisrty is a team is awesome. You hit comedy and facts. I love it. Also know we can rely on Soxman to give us the latest rumors he hears from the Sox Cave. Are you tapped into that “Cell” spying device like the Dark Knight had?

    Soxman also still “Soxy” after all these years! Soxman is in his 5th season now right?

  11. THX for the Sox Signal e-mail last night announing this post Soxman! It’s great seeing you back in the Red Eye.

    Having Paul back is like Mark Buehrle getting AJ back to catch.

    I hate Josh Fields as well Paul!

  12. Soxman you are the best! A true Chicago legend.

    Do either of younhave any opinion on all of the Michael Jackson songs they played between innings on Saturday and Sunday at the Cell?

  13. PS Welcome back to Paul Banks! Clone yourself the minor leaguers don’t stack up to you! Soxman is the god of all white sox but you are the christ! LOL

  14. Soxman rocks my socks as always! Wheres the Sox Girl interview? Very interested to know more about the new side kick.

  15. I concur that SoxGirl is Michelle, Mr. Banks is Biden, and Batboy? Well, perhaps we can appoint him Secretary of State.

    God Bless Soxerica.

  16. The Little Flirt says

    Soxman has the sexiest eyes of anyone in Chicago. Welcome back to the exchanges Mr. Banks. I like both of your points on this team.

    Was not aware the Sox bating average at home was that bad. Perhaps I’m to busy looking at Pods butt. LOL

  17. The Little Flirt says

    PS- I agree the Sox Signal e-mail updates are very helpful. XO and High Five. ;)

  18. Texas Bagpipes says

    Soxman the signal reached me in Houston. THX man!

    Any truth to the rumor here the Sox may be interested in Michael Bourne? Also there were Tejada rmuors last month.

    You guys are the best. Still dreamining of a re-match of 2005.

  19. Great post.

    Pods for the All-Star team. If not comeback player of the year?

    Soxman when is your next game?

    Paul what do you have agianst Josh Fields?

  20. Love your baseball insight but but trying to explain to my kids what a pansy is can be tricky. Maybe the sportsbank should be the first to apply a rating system on their blogs so we know what is kid approved?

    Don’t mean to sound over critical.

  21. Disney Mom says

    Sox mom you need to thicken the skin a little bit. You were likely in agreement with Richard Roepers column on Monday about shirts worn at the cell.

    Soxman and his sidekick Mr. Banks are great reporters adding color and flavor. The best sox reporters I’ve read. Soxman is also the most kid-friendly figure in Chicago.

  22. Tommy Tutone says

    Great great great great Great great great greatGreat great great greatGreat great great greatGreat great great greatGreat great great greatGreat great great great exchange.

    I want the Sox Girl interview. Hot!

    Soxman she’s a great addition to the American League of Justice.

    You guys rock!

  23. paulmbanks says

    Josh Field is TERRIBLE! I can’t say the same about BA even though he’s been a major disapointment…Anderson is a really good fielder, just can’t hit.

    thanks for the compliments on the John Mayer reference every body. Mayer is a total dbag.

    a pansy is….you could say “not the strongest or toughest type of man.” A guy who’s really soft. that’s PG 13, don’t you think?

  24. paulmbanks says

    @myspace mike I like your lineup save 2 things- woudl switch Getz with Bacon..better average and you still keep speed in that batting position.

    Also the defense liability of having pods in cf (he’s a lot better in lf) and quentin..that’s an outfield that will require lots of late inning defensive replacements, so ba will get plenty of playing time

  25. Monica All night Long says

    Great post.

    Sorry for my comments on the last blog about Soxman being wrong for taking photos with so many Cubs fans. Maybe its the first step of coversion?

    I just think the Soxman and is lovely new Sidekick Sox Girl are ours and should not be shared with Cubs fans.

    But ti shows they actually do admire us.

    Secondhand fans my ass.

  26. paulmbanks says

    @Erica I’m going to do a separate post shortly on the whole Michael jackson thing..not the Cell, but the fact that the media won’t talk about anything else 24/7.

    Thanks you for all the kudos and welcoming me back…and to everyone else who’s excited to have me back. It’s our signature segment and I missed it

  27. Grinder Guy says

    Great post and a lot of comments too.

    Soxman how do I get a picture for my kids?

    I disagree with the line-up Paul. Bacon is showing power now (also disagree with you point he’ll never have power), he’s hitting like 500 the last week. Getz has speed and slap power, ideal for a 9 guy that Scotty could bunt over.

    Totally agree on the defensive liabilty part, but remember we won he division with Ken Griffey Geiartric in CF. Pods would be an upgrade over Griffey? BA is really only good for defense anyway. Wise could replace Quentin if he can’t move.

  28. paulmbanks says

    I’m thinking of getting one of those flip cameras that you can take in your pocket..they’re not too expensive and I heard editing them is super easy.

    And I agree RANGEY NEEDS to have us on his show soon!

  29. Mary, Mary says

    Yes why has the Score not contacted you guys already. I have been a fan of the Sportsbank since Soxman posted his first article here. Why this site has not become more popular I’ll never know!

    Awesome post guys.

    soxman you need to give us the dish on Soxgirl baby!

  30. Great stuff guys.

    If Dye is traded, I’m giving up my season tickets.

  31. PS.. but i’ll always remain a soxman fan and loyal reader of the sportsbank. :)

  32. Soxman Stalker says

    Soxman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love the aricle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think Mark Buehrle deserves to be an all-star.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. paulmbanks says

    @GG Beckham isn’t exactly driving the ball into the seats..he’s just getting deeper flyball outs..he may have a couple 15-20 HR seasons, but he’ll likely never hit 30 plus. I agree griff was a def liability, but he DHed some of the time, and we had Wise playing in place of him a lot down the stretch last season

  34. paulmbanks says

    Mary Mary

    The site’s traffic is growing, according to the Alexa and Ballhype rankings, so it is growing, but obviously I’d like to see those numbers heading north a lot faster. You can help by sending stuff like this to mlbtraderumors.com

    bigleaguestew@yahoo.com tips@deadspin.com tips@thebiglead.com stuff like that.

    Posting these links in discussion threads help A LOT too..great way to reach more people

  35. Ya Ya Sox Sisterhood says

    Great work guys. I love reading your sox slants and rants whenever I get a chance.

    Soxman rules!

  36. Indian Soxfan says

    I really like article. Soxman was good to me and children at the baseball match last week. He is very fun.

  37. Great exchange guys. It is nice to see a chemistry that flows so naturally. It is like the chemisrty Hoyty and I had in 1983.

  38. Soxman is an awesome writer and representative of White sox glory.

    Great job Paul in your return to the “majors.”

  39. Ko’d Konerko says

    Love it guys.

  40. Ko’d Konerko says

    Suddenly I see chemisrty coming back to this team. We are only 3.5 games back in the central. Paul I love your work and any hero of the Soxman is a hero of mine, but I think you may have taken a hit from the SOTO pipe if you think Kenny Williams will be a seller with this team only 3.5 games back.

    Worst case, Dye walks as a type A free agent and we get two first round picks anyway.

  41. paulmbanks says

    I have to admit when I said the Sox were going to be sellers, it was when they were 6 games back and had just lost to the Cubs…since then an update. Check out our friends at Midwest Sports Fans.com for more:

    After completing a sweep of the Indians last night, the White Sox are 3.0 games back and two games over .500. It’s been an up and down season, but the White Sox are finally providing legitimate reasons to believe that they can repeat as AL Central champions…40 of them in fact.

    http://www.midwestsportsfans.com/2009/07/40-reasons-why-the-white-sox-are-going-to-the-playoffs-in-2009/

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