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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Kansas City Blues

Sox Psalms!
by Patrick Ferrini

Sox Hole Filling?

Patrick Ferrini

Is there a job baseball fans envy more than that of a GM? Honestly, this may be the one of the few jobs in the world were people will pay to pretend to do their work. How many fantasy baseball leagues are you in? My record is six in one season but that gets a little confusing by the end... but I digress. Speculation in Chicago is running rampant because it is that time of year again when Kenny gets on the phone and makes a few moves to try to (attempt to) ensure us a playoff spot. Which begs the questions – what do we need? Where do we get it? Who do we give up?

So what do the White Sox need? Well, everything and nothing. Luckily we're sitting pretty with the best record in baseball, relatively few injuries, a deep 6-man starting staff (throw in McCarthy who can fill in for any of the front 5 if they are hurt), one of the better relief staffs in baseball, and a solid bench. If anything, we are a little too deep in some places. The biggest problem is we seem to have too many DHs/1B/Corner OFs. Not a bad problem if you ask me as long as the rest of the infield is covered, which it seems to be.

Again, so what do the Sox need? Well, we're pretty good all around but not GREAT in most places. The hitting is coming around and hopefully should stick around for awhile (warning: this was written BEFORE the San Diego series which may suck some life out of the bats since Petco is a pitcher's paradise). This being said, I'm going to approach this from a reverse logic – which positions WON'T we touch? You can etch in stone Podsednik in left and Rowand in center. Iguchi isn't going anywhere and neither is Pierzynski. DH is already so clogged that it would seem moronic to trade for another one. So what about Dye and Konerko? Dye has started to hit again and his .260 average looks more like .360 after that initial slump. He seems to be too productive both with the bat, speed (relatively, on the basepaths), and arm to try to improve. Plus, RF is a little crowded with Everett getting some time out there anyway. First base is a bit clogged as well and I really can't see Konerko leaving anytime soon. He'll be re-signed after this year because the Sox won't find a better value for that amount of production than Konerko and his hometown discount. I know some fans would soon kick him out on the streets for his inconsistency but he is the on-the-field leader of this club. In the field, the Sox should be willing to upgrade short, third (sorry Crede's Crew), and maybe seek another true utility infielder (Harris can only play 2B and a little SS).

You would think that Kenny would be seeking another starter, as always, but this rotation seems solid. They are all locked in contracts through next year and McCarthy is begging to be called up from Charlotte (figuratively of course). Unless Kenny gets the unstoppable ace that he has always dreamed of, the Clemens or Mulders of the world, it doesn't seem likely he'll make a move here. Since none of this dominant sort WILL be available, just forget it. But we can always seek more relief pitching. Vizcaino and Takatsu have both struggled and may find their roles diminished further or even lost to incoming talent. Thus we can tack on RP as a possible upgrade.

So Kenny will likely be seeking a utility infielder, strong reliever, or possibly an upgrade over Uribe or Crede (Crede is also the ONLY player represented by Scott Boras on the White Sox, contrary to the popular myth that Jon Garland is as well).

So where do we get it? Anyone who has been following baseball and its rumors the last few weeks know that this year the trade market is definitely a sellers' market. The parity that has been so elusive in baseball seems to be returning and there are a lot of buyers and not much to sell. I've broken down buyers and sellers into four groups that we can look at for talent. I've thrown out AL Central teams since it seems very unlikely they would be willing to deal within their own division.

Completely out of it (definite sellers NOW) – Tampa Bay, Oakland, Cincinnati, and Colorado.

Will eventually be out of it (may not consider themselves hard sellers right now but may in a week or two) – Houston, Seattle, Pittsburg, and San Francisco.

May eventually be out (should probably be sellers but for one reason or another are hanging on and may move to buy) – Toronto, Cubs, Milwaukee.

Will be buying – Baltimore, Boston, Yankees, Angels, Texas, Washington, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Mets, Florida, St. Louis, San Diego, Dodgers, Arizona.

Interesting scenarios: Toronto may move to a hard buy but it would seem silly in such a deep division with such deep pockets to mortgage the future when you're the fourth horse in a four horse race. The Cubs and Brewers probably consider themselves playoff contenders but they lack key components and would have to be trade happy to acquire those pieces. The Yankees should dismantle immediately. The amount of veteran talent they have that they could trade for prospects, especially in this trade market AND THEY ARE WILLING TO EAT SALARIES would get them a bumper crop of prospects that would allow them to be very good for a very long time in a few years. Can you imagine an organization that gets two, three or even four prospects EACH for Matsui, Sheffield, T.Martinez, Posada, Sierra, Bernie, Brown, Mussina, Randy, Gordon, Quantrill, and Rivera? They would be stocked beyond belief (that could bring in a full AAA and AA team alone!) and EACH of these players would be considered a break-the-bank kind of deal for another contending team. They could have a fire sale like never before and make themselves the best young team in baseball. Steinbrenner's impatience and greed is his own worst enemy. Finally, the NL East may be even more aggressive then even Kenny and may be willing to sacrifice so much in what appears to be a wide open division that they may gobble up all the decent trades (case-in-point, Oogie is already gone from Detriot).

So who do we go after? Well, Tampa Bay is the route if Kenny is looking for younger additions that could be added for long-term help. They have Aubrey Huff, Julio Lugo, Danny Baez, Lance Carter, and Casey Fossum that may interest Kenny. Problems are that Huff isn't hitting (he's hardly an upgrade to Crede right now) and Lugo is a 2B/SS that isn't a significant upgrade to Uribe at this point. Baez may, sadly enough, be the most sought after RP in baseball after Oogie was moved. Carter and Fossum remain possibilities as well but remember too, GM Chuck LaMar is a jerk. No one likes to deal with him and he may be asking for Ryan Sweeney and all of Charlotte for anyone on his team.

Chavez (apparently untouchable anyway) and Bobby Crosby are struggling and aren't likely from Oakland but Ricardo Rincon may be an intriguing addition (a veteran lefty reliever).

Joe Randa from Cincinnati is a name floating around and would offer far more consistency than Crede at third (.299, 8HR, 35RBI). He may be the strongest possibility to put an end to the Joe Crede Experiment. Pitching in Cincinnati? I was laughing too but Kent Mercker and Dave Weathers, veteran lefty and righty relievers respectively, could be possibilities.

Colorado has nothing that would interest the Sox in the field but Jay Witasick, another veteran reliever, is a possibility.

I wouldn't mind seeing Morgan Ensburg manning third base for the White Sox but the Astros wouldn't mind seeing him man their third base for a longtime either. Expect everything and the kitchen sink if Kenny even dreams of Ensburg (plus he's really just Crede with an average glove and a better batting average). Dan Wheeler, a young already-journeyman righty, may be a possible addition to the pen.

The best relievers will come out of Seattle and GM Bill Bavasi seems to be willing trade partners with Kenny. If they decide to throw in the towel, Eddie Guardado, Shigetoshi Hasegawa, and Jeff Nelson would all be great additions to the White Sox pen.

Rob Mackowiak, a Chicagoland native, maybe a possible utilityman if Pittsburg is willing to part with him (he's far more valuable to the Pirates than White Sox though). Rick White, former abysmal White Sock and better known as the ugliest man in baseball, and Jose Mesa could be additions but I doubt Kenny wants to bring back White after his 6.61 ERA performance in 2003 with the Sox and Mesa said he doesn't want to leave Pittsburg. This begs the question, how dumb is Mesa, really?

Delvi Cruz is your possible utilityman from the Giants. You can throw in the outside possibilities of two lefty dinosaurs, Jason Christianson and Jeff Fassero, but the Giants don't seem likely. Okay, no Jeff Fassero, I'm sorry for even bringing him up.

The idea of Crede for Eric Hinske of Toronto was floated prior to this season but it seems as unlikely as before. Neither really offer an sufficient upgrade to one another and if the Sox don't want to deal with Crede's agent Boras do you think the Blue Jays' GM JP Ricciardi is jumping at the opportunity? I doubt Toronto will feel out of it enough to trade closer Miguel Batista either and, even if they do fall out soon, they'll keep him around for a run next year.

Thus when it boils down to it, it looks like with the exception of a possible move for veteran Joe Randa, our beloved Kenny (insert sarcasm if you're not a fan, I, for one, am) will probably be stuck moving on a mediocre veteran reliever and sitting tight. While ESPN moans about how shallow the talent of relievers are, it seems as though there is a lack of closers and dominant setup men but that’s not what the Sox need. They have Hermanson, Politte, and Marte (and Takatsu and Vizcaino if either one pitches they way they should) to form a combination to take care of the last 2 innings, they just need someone fresh to help eat up innings and keep runners off the basepaths.

This may not be that bad though; there is a lack of talent for ALL teams to go after and if there is a year that the White Sox would like everything to stay the way it is, this is definitely the year. So strap it down White Sox fans, save a minor move, this looks to be the same team you'll be watching in September and, hopefully, well into October... although I wouldn't mind seeing ARod manning third at the end of the season. Okay, now this is just getting ridiculous

Random Anger from an Obsessive White Sox Fan

I've always tried to give the benefit of the doubt to these players that look like professional wrestlers breaking home run records. Okay, so all the evidence looks REALLY good that something is amiss with Bonds but his recent escapades take the cake. Bonds, screw you. I admit I have not yet read Kittle's book but I have read a few reviews (which contain the entire Bonds section) and, aside from the Bonds' part, it is supposedly a very cheery view of baseball – the polar opposite of these slimebags' books like Conseco's. I've met Kittle before, having grown up a die-hard White Sox fan from the same area, and he is an incredible human being. The type of baseball player you'd actually want your kids to idolize. If Ron said it, its true. And for Barry Bonds not only to have said this but to try to defer the blame by twisting HIS racist comments and contempt for those in need into an attack on HIS kids is just freakin' disgusting (Edited for Content). Oh, Barry, beautiful way to show you aren't on the juice either – someone calls you out on something you said and you offer to fight the guy. 'Roid rage anyone?...

Is it just me or does Baseball Tonight, every night, prove why Steve Phillips no longer has a job?...

Is everyone else sick of this Cubs v. Red Sox bs? If I have to hear one more time about how both are cursed I'm going to go nuts. Didn't the Red Sox win the World Series last year? I wanted them to win last year just so I'd never have to hear about it again but now their just a whiny, trendy version of the Yankees. Cub fans, don't blame some goat, blame yourselves for being dumb enough to make the Cubs a cash cow without ever winning; shut up about Wrigley. I prefer baseball, not real estate...

How much do you want to bet the White Sox v. Dodgers series won't even get a passing glance in the national sports news...

At what point is ESPN and Sport Illustrated just going to come out and outright lobby for Derek Jeter to be canonized as a baseball saint? Okay, he's a lifetime average .300, 15-20HR, 75RBI, 20SB guy. That’s good and I wouldn't mind him on my team but for a guy making $19.6 mil this year and averages 120 strike outs a year, its not nearly worth it. Shut up about Derek Jeter, he's an above average player that plays in New York. I don't need to hear his life story every night on ESPN...

If I have to hear about the genius of Billy Beane again I'm going to flip. He isn't that good. He wrote a book, big deal, so did Britney Spears. He isn't that good of a GM. He was just lucky enough to happen to have Zito, Mulder, and Hudson in his organization all at the same time (which no GM can control). Choosing to keep Eric Chavez over Miguel Tejada, THAT is what people should remember about this self-important moron...

At what point will the White Sox have to quit proving they're for real and national "analysts" will just accept that they made horrible preseason predictions?...

Okay, enough anger, we've been in first place all season and it doesn't look soon to change.

Go Sox!

Pat Ferrini has been a White Sox fan since his father hung a Winning Ugly poster in his cradle has continued to follow every game possible since then. After his obsession with the White Sox, his passion is watching the Cubs lose and collapse and credits Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS as one of the greatest moments in modern history. He lives in Northwest Indiana and attends DePauw University.

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