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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Nuthin' for Xmas.

So far into this off-season not a lot has happened, with the exception of the Foulke for Koch trade, a deal that sent Keith Foulke, Mark Johnson, and minor leaguer Joe Valentine to the Oakland Aís for Billy Koch, and minor leaguers Neal Cotts and Daylan Holt. This was more than anything else a salary dump by Kenny Williams, sending Foulke and his impending free agency away for Koch, who makes less and is two years away from FA eligibility. The fact that KW sent a first round pick with MLB experience in Mark Johnson away for a second and a third round pick, while tossing in a 26th round pick kind of makes the deal tend to look like it favors the Aís, but only time will tell on this one.

The biggest drawback to this deal is that barring an acquisition of a veteran catcher through the FA market, KW has seriously damaged the Sox in one of the most important positions on the field, catcher. The Sox now have Miguel Olivo, who has never played above the AA level, and Josh Paul, who never should have played above the AA level. Miguel has a lot of talent, both at and behind the plate, but he is not ready to be a field general at this level, he needs time to develop his skills, and the pitching rotation will be the ones that suffer if he is forced to come north this spring from a lack of an alternative, Josh canít catch a cold, and I think Joe Nossek gets tired from calling his games for him.†

Is the answer re-signing Sandy Alomar?† Hmmm...

Frank is Back--Good (for now)

Frank Thomas tested the FA market and chose to sign a one year deal with the White Sox, with three mutual option years, that is worth about half of what his previous contract was worth, less the incentive clauses.† I questioned the reasoning behind the Sox invoking the strange clause in Frankís previous contract, and now I question why they would go out of their way to offer him this contract, a contract that is almost as complicated as the previous one was.

Iíll leave out the numbers but after 2003 season Frank can escape free as a bird to pursue any deal out there, regardless of whether the Sox invoke their option or not, if he chooses not to then there is a sliding pay scale based on who invokes the option, him or the team. Some view this contract as an incentive for Thomas to go out and put up typical Frank numbers, which I believe he is capable of, but I view this as an owner trying to pinch every penny till it hurts, at the expense of alienating one of the best players in the teams history.

Something tells me that if Frank returns to form and puts up some serious numbers next year and walks, disgusted with the way he has been treated, you will see a lot more empty blue seats in 2004, no matter what the Sox do in 2003. There is a fine line between being fiscally responsible and taking advantage of your fans for the sake of a dollar, the Sox may be on the verge of this.

Cooper is Back--Good!

The best news that has come out of this off-season as far as I am concerned is the fact that Don Cooper will remain the Sox pitching coach for next season, this one minor thing stabilizes the biggest strength on this team, young pitching. I was as ready as anyone to see a veteran FA pitcher added to this rotation, but the new economics of baseball told me this was not going to happen, and I am not completely unhappy to enter the season with the pitching talent that is already on the roster, this includes Todd Ritchie, because I do believe he will be offered arbitration. I am not a big believer in rotation numbers, but I think they will make an attempt to take some of the pressure off Todd next season, a healthy Rocky Biddle will go a long way to making that happen, but given what is on the roster I think Don Cooper can make a better than average starting five out of it. I do have a little confidence in the fact that the Sox should have one of the better bullpens in the AL no matter how things shake out.

Royce is a Brewer--Good, too!†

In other notes, Royce Clayton signed with† Brewers, which almost guarantees that they will be the only sixth place team in all of Major League Baseball, and there has been little activity from the winter meetings, with the exception of the Sox losing Gary Majewski to the rule 5 draft, for some reason I think he will be back, he has been traded twice and returned, he has a destiny. Other than that it is ice fishing season, my hut has a Sox logo on it, see you on the ice.†

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Daver

Dave Schmitt is a life-long resident of the Joliet area, with the exception of two years spent being the only Sox fan in the hell hole known as Baytown Texas, where the trucks are large and the alligators are hungry.† Plumber by trade, hunter by choice, and fisherman 'cause you canít hunt year round.† Married With Children, and four dogs that are confirmed Sox fans.† The kids have less sense.† You can send email to Daver at

More features from Dave Schmitt here!

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