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Building the Affordable Beast

by Sox Fan Nick Fox

Having looked over the White Sox potential cash flow and the free agents available, coupled with our new skipper’s return to small ball, I’ve concocted the following plan for the Sox off-season. I like to call it: 

THE NICK FOX PLAN FOR 2004 

It goes like this… 

1. Re-sign Sandy Alomar, Roberto Alomar, Tony Graffanino and Jose Valentin. 

I know there is a large anti-Valentin contingent out there, but the guy hit .265 with 26 homers as a lefty. Those are respectable numbers. Add to that his calming influence and quiet leadership in the clubhouse and he is worth the money. Platoon him with Graffanino and you have a solid two-headed attack at shortstop.


Re-signing Roberto gives you a leadoff man with good speed, which ties in well with Ozzie’s small ball attack. Re-signing Sandy (who said he would return for less money) gives Olivo another year of tutelage with one of the best teachers out there. Plus, he’s a dependable backup. 

2. Sign Sidney Ponson to replace Bartolo Colon. He is mustard against AL hitters and he will fit nicely into the rotation. His poor performance in San Francisco lowers his market value enough so that we can afford him, even though he would have been a Cy Young contender if he hadn’t switched leagues. 

That makes the starting five Loaiza, Buehrle, Ponson, Garland and Schoenweis. 

3. Convert Marte to a closer, then use the money that would have been spent on Tom Gordon to sign Mike Timlin as a setup man. He was clutch for the Red Sox. He’ll be clutch for us. 

4. Trade Billy Koch to the Mets. He may have a good year left in him, but the money could be better spent for right now. 

5. Sign Juan Encarnacion to fill the gap in center. Shannon Stewart would be the first choice here, but he may ask for too much dough, in which case Encarnacion is an excellent, and likely to be overlooked, acquisition. Both of them have speed, play good D and have more than a little pop in the bat. 

6. Bring back the rest of the team intact.  

7. Give Scott Sullivan another chance at AL hitters. He has good stuff, and should adjust to his new surroundings by next season. 

8. Accept that Konerko will be impossible to unload and hope he surprises everyone. 

2004 Lineup using the Nick Fox Plan: 

  1. R. Alomar
  2. Lee
  3. Thomas
  4. Ordonez
  5. Konerko/Daubach
  6. Encarnacion/Stewart
  7. Crede
  8. Valentin/Graffanino
  9. Olivo

With weakened squads in K.C. and Minnesota, that lineup should be more than enough to take the division. If Ozzie gets them playing as a unit, they could go deep into the playoffs. 

And of course, that whole first World Series title since 1917 thing wouldn’t be so bad either.


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