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View Full Version : Keith on the way out? Biddle back in rotation.


Jerry_Manuel
08-23-2001, 12:03 AM
By Phil Rogers
Tribune baseball reporter
August 22, 2001 10:44 PM CDT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - General Manager Ken Williams insists closer Keith Foulke remains in the White Sox's long-range plans even though talks on a contract extension have stalled. But it's a qualified commitment.

"I wouldn't anticipate him being moved any time soon," Williams said Wednesday from Birmingham, Ala., where he was with the Sox's Double-A team. "In all the plans I have made for next season, I have him down as the closer. With that said, I never rule anything out; you never say never."

Foulke beat the Sox in salary arbitration last winter, winning with a figure of $3.1 million. He could request more than twice that if he goes back to arbitration with 30-plus saves as a four-year player.

Hoping to avoid a return to arbitration, the White Sox submitted a series of long-term contract proposals to agent Dan Horwitz earlier this month. Williams declined to reveal the terms of the offer but said they were rejected.

Foulke said Tuesday the chances for an extension were "dead in the water." According to Williams, Foulke opted to pursue his maximum value in 2002 over security.

"We were very aggressive," Williams said. "Keith is very content to go year by year at this point. Therefore we may be at the arbitration table year by year. That's unfortunate because I don't like the process, what takes place there. It's not conducive to an ideal relationship, but it is what it is."

Foulke has been among baseball's best closers the last two seasons, converting 65 of 73 save opportunities. But the Sox traded Roberto Hernandez in 1997 rather than give him a top-of-scale contract and have been successful in developing their own closers in recent years.

Bob Howry, who had 28 saves in 1999, recently signed a contract extension through 2003 with an option for 2004.

If the Sox elect to trade Foulke, one alternative would be 24-year-old right-hander Edwin Almonte, who has a 1.34 earned run average and 33 saves for Birmingham. He is one save short of the Southern League record.

Almonte has the same basic tools as Foulke, a fastball in the low-90s and a changeup that is his out pitch.

"He has a dynamite changeup," Birmingham pitching coach Curt Hasler said. "It's almost like it has split-finger action. . . . It's the best changeup I've seen since I stood behind Keith Foulke in spring training."

The Sox have another potential closer in 21-year-old right-hander Joe Valentine. He throws in the mid-90s and has had great success in Class A, going 6-3 with 21 saves and a 1.40 ERA between Kaanapolis and Winston-Salem. He has held opponents to a .154 average.

Lowe out: Jerry Manuel opted to shuffle his rotation once again, moving Rocky Biddle from the bullpen to replace Sean Lowe, who had gone 0-2 with a 7.97 ERA in his last four starts.

Biddle has pitched much better this season in relief (2-1, 3.46) than as a starter (2-7, 5.53 in 18 starts), but Manuel cited his higher ceiling as a reason for giving him another shot.

"He could be in the plans for a long time," Manuel said. "That's the feeling I get from the pitching coaches, others in the organization. He has a huge upside. We just haven't seen that."

Manuel considered Kip Wells for the assignment but didn't want to move him from the bullpen, where he has allowed only one earned run in 15 innings. Biddle will start Saturday at Tampa Bay.

doublem23
08-23-2001, 12:12 AM
Better not let Bmr read that...

:rocked
I'm back!!!!

Chisox_cali
08-23-2001, 12:46 AM
Hoping to avoid a return to arbitration, the White Sox submitted a series of long-term contract proposals to agent Dan Horwitz earlier this month. Williams declined to reveal the terms of the offer but said they were rejected.

Oh to be a fly on the wall when that offer was put on the table
do you think we didnt offer enough or is foulke greedy????

doublem23
08-23-2001, 12:52 AM
Originally posted by Chisox_cali
Oh to be a fly on the wall when that offer was put on the table
do you think we didnt offer enough or is foulke greedy????

Probably a little from both columns.

Closers got a lot of leverage when Rivera signed that huge deal with the Yankmes. However, most teams cannot afford to pay a closer that much, so realistically, Foulke is being greedy for expecting money in that neighborhood, but the Sox didn't offer him enough because we can't and Reinsy won't (especially for a pitcher since that Navarro debacle).

:jaime
Blame me when Keith leaves!