View Full Version : The Sox report

11-02-2002, 03:28 PM
Take it with a grain of salt,it's from ESPN:

Chicago White Sox
1. Can we get a do-over?
The plan was simple. Add some veteran chrome to the home-grown steel, and rollick your way into October clover. But for the second year running, Kenny Williams gave away good stuff for well-aged dross, and it killed the Sox for the playing time and cash wasted. The key to this offseason is not to bring in this year's Royce Clayton or Todd Ritchie. Picking up expensive low-end vets is not the ticket to contention.

2. Can these kids play?
Life after Frank Thomas has its financial advantages should someone else coax him into leaving (at his option) by Pearl Harbor Day, but one thing his departure would do is create playing time for the team's young talent. Rather than field a true DH, the Sox can now alternate between players to make sure everyone gets at-bats. Carlos Lee (who might be off of the trading block if the Big Hurt becomes Somebody Else's Problem), Joe Borchard, Aaron Rowand, and Jeff Liefer can shift around in the outfield in the non-Magglio Ordonez spots. Joe Crede should finally have the job at third base to himself, and second base should belong to Willie Harris and/or D'Angelo Jimenez. Jimenez might get playing time at short if it isn't given to Jose Valentin, but there's enough offensive talent here to look at to use the at-bats created by Thomas' departure.

3. Can Jerry Manuel just chill?
This is really the Keith Foulke question, since Foulke didn't really do anything wrong last year. He nevertheless had his job as the high-leverage reliever in the pen taken away from him, mostly after giving up a total of nine runs in two blown saves in the first two months. At the time, Foulke complained of a sore arm, and it seemed as if Manuel couldn't forgive and forget and remember that Foulke was one of the best relievers in baseball the previous couple of years, and he continued to be that valuable for the rest of the season. Foulke's often said he'd like to go back to starting, and that may well provide both parties with a way to patch things up and get back to the business of using their best players instead of spiting them.

4. Is Jose Valentin finally going to get to be a shortstop again?
Is Valentin a bit prone to the old E-6? Yes. Your point? He still has outstanding range, and he's still excellent at initiating or turning the deuce, and he's still an offensive asset at a position where offensive talent still isn't that common despite A-Rod and the non-Rod trinity of powerhouse shortstops. If Williams can learn from the mistake of hauling in Clayton and learn to accept the occasional muff instead of knuckling under to talk radio complaints, the Sox will be the better for it, offensively and defensively.

5. Will the Sox have an '03 rotation to conjure up visions of '83 or '93?
Mark Buehrle looks like the lonely effective starter, but things aren't really that bleak. If he isn't traded, Foulke might be part of the equation. Jon Garland looked pretty good over the final couple of months, Danny Wright had a useful second half, and Jon Rauch was excellent in Triple-A Charlotte after fully recovering from his shoulder problems. There's still plenty of room to go out and add a worthwhile journeyman or two to create some depth, but this isn't quite as dire as trying to live with Ritchie.