Easy Shoeless Joe Jackson fans, you see the title of this column and possibly fret. But don’t worry, Buck Weaver has no reason to turn over in his grave. We are not using the word “fix” as a reference to 1919, unless we are predicting Gordon Beckham’s chances of going 19/19 next year.
So before Josie goes on a vacation far away for the winter, we are turning our collective heads to look at next season. The most optimistic of fans called an official time of death on the flat-lining 2009 season when the Oakland A’s thrashed us September 8th. Even Darin Jackson and Ed Farmer’s in-game discussion turned from post-season to potential in terms of Ozzie Guillen using September to audition players for 2010.
Over the next few weeks, we will be offering our perspectives on “fixing the White Sox” for 2010. We will 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.
Let’s play ball! Outfield
Scott Podsednik (LF, CF)
Put Em on the Board.
Kenny Williams hinted last week that he might not fill the DH spot next season with a traditional slugger. If that’s true, he could re-sign Pods and not promise him a starting gig, but instead rotating him in the outfield and DH where he could easily amass 350 or so ABs. But at age 34 can he repeat the .304, 5 HR, 26 SB, .355 OBP, season he has put together thus far? As he was unemployed before the Sox called this year, there likely isn’t a waiting list for his services.
While Kotsay is well-liked by manager Ozzie Guillen and versatile in his ability to play all outfield positions and first base, he’ll be 35 next season and is in the twilight of his career. At best, he gets invited back to compete for the 5th OF position, which could likely be occupied with a much cheaper alternative. The Sox will look for bargains at back-up positions in order to address emerging needs as a team.
We’ll always love you for the catch that saved Mark Buehrle’s perfect game, but a .207 batting average won’t cut it. You can hate Scotty Pods for taking your job.
It kills me to say it as “JD” is one of my favorites. His bat vanished after the All-Star Break and his defense, while acceptable, has slowed considerably from what it was in 2005. How bad is his offensive decline? He’s batting .151 with one HR and 1 RBI over his last 53 ABs.
Put Em on the Board
It what has been another lost season for Quentin, he’s still under the Sox control and is only 28 years old. His 16 HRs in just 289 ABs indicate the power stroke is still there. With 500 ABs and perhaps a little rest in a “fluid” DH spot, Quentin could revisit the 30 HR club.
Put Em on the Board
I wrote an article indicating while the Alex Rios move was a good one, only Alex Rios Himself can prove me wrong. Starting fresh in 2010, without the pressure of taking fan favorites’ jobs, Rios will be given every opportunity to succeed. The negative indicators? His on-base percentage has dropped at least 20 points every year since 2007 and his slugging percentage has dropped at least 30 points! The Sox are stuck with his contract regardless.
NEXT WEEK: Catchers and Infielders