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WSI News - Season Features

August, 2000.  Charles Johnson is acquired at the trade deadline while other available players are passed.  

Smart Moves!

by John Dainis

Smart Moves have made the Sox what they are today. When the July 31st baseball trading deadline comes around every year, it's always a time of craziness. Contending and non-contending teams frantically move to make deals to improve their clubs. Whether it's a veteran you're looking for, or a salary you're looking to dump, everyone seems to become a player. This year, teams were especially active, with an increasing number of clubs rising into contention everyday.

This year it was no different here on Chicago's Southside. As the deadline was approaching, GM Ron Schueler was cranking up his phone bill, trying to make a few deals to beef up the roster. And on Saturday night, the Sox finally had a deal to announce. Catcher Charles Johnson and two-time Sox DH Harold Baines were acquired from the Orioles. In return, the Sox sent Brook Fordyce and three minor leaguers to Baltimore. Not a deal that was really expected, and definitely one that caught Sox fans by surprise. Everyone, including me, thought the first move we would make would be for a pitcher; nonetheless, the move was certainly welcomed. In Charles Johnson, the White Sox get a four-time Gold Glove winner with some pop in his bat. He also brings a great arm behind the dish, only second to Texas' Ivan Rodriguez. Also very intriguing, is fan favorite Harold Baines returning to Chicago. This time around though, he'll be used most often has a power bat off the bench. He also provides Jerry Manuel with more options when it comes to match-ups and resting Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko down the stretch.

While the Baltimore deal may not have the kind of star power that the Schilling and Neagle deals did, it will help patch some of our weaknesses. Not since Carlton Fisk, have the Sox had an everyday No. 1 catcher that hits for power and throws out baserunners. And with Harold Baines, we get back one of the best clutch-hitting players in all of baseball. These two guys shouldn't take too much time to pay dividends for the Sox. They'll also be invaluable when the playoffs begin in October.

Still after this move though, I hear fans complaining, whining about why we didn't get any pitching. And do you know why we didn't get any pitching? Because we have a smart General Manager here on the Southside of town. Unlike the Northsiders, we don't want to be known as "The One Year Wonders". The Sox have had a plan for the past two or three years, and are sticking to it. We've built up the farm system so deep with talent, that it's busting at the seams. But that's not a reason why we should trade anyone away. You especially don't do that when teams are asking for guys like Kip Wells and Joe Crede in return for Pedro Astacio or Steve Trachsel. I'm sorry, but I must be too hardheaded to see the reasoning in that. The last time I checked, neither was a very good starter. Both just happened to be available, but to Schueler's credit, we didn't take the bait. Any day of the year I'll take the pure talent of a Jon Garland or Mark Buehrle over the experience of a Pete Harnisch or Shane Reynolds. So, now that all the trading is over, we should just be grateful for what we've got.

With over 100 of our games already in the books, there's not much more to go. And as long as we can stay healthy, we should be just fine. This team is built strong, and won't back down from anyone. They look adversity straight in the eyes. The same players that take the field today, are the same guys that handed the Yankees and Indians consecutive sweeps in June. Even with that "make or break" part of the schedule, the team steamrolled everyone. These are also the same guys that didn't run away and hide when the Tigers started beaming us. We've made dramatic comeback after dramatic comeback with no end in sight. So with only a few weeks to go before the playoffs begin, sit back and enjoy what's sitting right in front of you. The Sox have gotten this far with few problems, but still have many naysayers to prove wrong.


Back to 2000 Champions!


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