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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Prof. Chaos Headquarters!

We should have expected as much.  Just before baseball’s winter meetings in Nashville, the word from Prof. Chaos if he could make a deal for a starting pitcher that would knock his socks off, he’d do it, but in lieu of that, he was quite pleased with the development of Jon Garland and Danny Wright.  In fact, he announced, he was so pleased that he didn’t consider “the need for a number-two starter to be as important as it was a year a go.” 

You have to admit, the professor does telegraph his intentions if you listen carefully.  He’s also been going through the “You can’t spend a dollar when all you have is fifty cents” routine, too.  This obviously means that The Chairman has limited his budget. 

So why was anybody surprised when the Sox left Nashville without making a major deal?  Why is anyone surprised that Kevin Millwood was dealt by the Braves to the Phillies for a second-string catcher, and not a word about any interest from the Sox was heard?  Millwood expects to be making about $10 million next year to pitch in Philadelphia.  That’s obviously a whole lot more than the fifty cents the Prof. has been budgeted for free agents. 

What shouldn’t be surprising is the Sox’ latest free agent acquisition.  The second era of Sandy Alomar, Jr. has begun!  Alomar is expected to catch a few games for the $750,000 the Chairman is paying him.  Otherwise, he is expected to work with rookie Miguel Olivo to bring him up to major league quality on defense. 

This presents an interesting situation for those who like to follow the chaos that is known as Sox personnel management.  The Sox have three catchers.  Josh Paul can hit and run but can’t play defense.  Olivo is a huge question mark.  No one really knows if he is ready.  And frankly, Alomar is over the hill.  So will the Sox carry all three?  Paul is out of options.  Olivo is not, but he appears to be the heir apparent behind the plate.  If he fails, this time around, he has options, but if he is sent down, that leaves the Sox with Paul and Alomar.  That is a truly scary thought. 

In short, the catching situation for 2003 looks very much like the shortstop situation did after the Royce Clayton trade with one big difference.  There is no catcher comparable to Jose Valentin at shortstop who can take over if the Olivo experiment fails. 

--------

 It came as a huge surprise last Monday when someone pointed out that Phil Rogers’ column in the Chicago Tribune contained the following paragraph ina discussion of why the Sox should stand pat this winter:   

“Sure, Paul Konerko and some other hunches worked out.  But the good deals – like the white flag trade – all seem to come when they are on the retreat.  It has been the ones when they’ve been on the attack that landed [Kenny] Williams his unofficial Internet nickname, Professor Chaos.” 

So there you have it.  We’re now adding to our shingle “Home of the Unofficial Internet Nickname of Kenny Williams.”   

-------- 

Ron Santo may like to forget his time with the White Sox.  Recently a radio commercial referred to him as a “lifetime Cub.”  However, he did spend one year with the Sox, and so by this column’s rules, he qualifies as a member of the Sox family. 

Santo has had to undergo a second leg amputation, this time to his left leg as the result of his continuing fight with diabetes.  We with Ron the best and hope for his speedy recovery.


Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at nsmf@aol.com.

More features from Hal Vickery here!

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