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.
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!
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.
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.”
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.Follow paulmbanks