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View Full Version : My 2004 Sox OF (read and fire away)


xil357
10-04-2003, 11:22 AM
I live in a world of reality. And the reality is that I am going to root for the White Sox no matter what, even if they field a team of overweight elderly women in 2004 to cut payroll.

My allegiance is to the team and the colors, not the owner, the manager, the stadium or the players.

So if the Sox trade away Maggs for nothing but minor leaguers, I will hate it because I think he's the best OF the Sox have had in a long time, but it won't stop me from rooting for the Sox to win (and the Cubs to lose) every day.

That being said, if Maggs is traded for a young SS ready to step in and start and a young #4 starter or phenom starting pitcher prospect -- I still think the Sox will be OK.

This "worst case scenario" OF consists of Lee in LF, Borchard in CF and Reed in RF. Based on the excellent analysis of prospects by Randy and Daver (http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=3&id=2354), I think that while the growing pains could be difficult early, the returns will make up for those early problems.

Losing Maggs hurts, big time. But if Borchard is the best near-MLB-ready CF in the Sox organization and boasts speed, range and an arm equal to that advertised in the prospective, he will be a major upgrade over Everett, Rowand and Willie Harris. His ability to hit for power left-handed will balance out the Sox lineup. Furthermore, assuming Borchard hits 6th or 7th, still strikes out a bunch and the Sox dump Konerko or (if no suitor is found) bench him, I'd still rather have Borchard striking out than Konerko hitting into double plays. Also, I think Borchard can put up numbers equal to those of Valentin from both sides of the plate (and better than PK's 2003 stats), without the precipitous drop the Sox suffered when the opposing team threw a left-handed pitcher at Manos, forcing him to pridefully hit right handed and ground out or strike out.

As for RF, based on what I have read, Reed deserves a shot. Worst case scenario, he hits ninth and we have an above average defensive RF with speed equal to that of Maggs and better than Everett. Best case scenario, the Sox have found a leadoff or #2 hitter.

Even in the #9 hole, Reed may be a catalyst similar to the Rangers' Laynce Nix or Ramon Nivar. He doesn't have Nivar's speed or Nix's range, but he would be playing a corner OF spot at most times. When Nix and Nivar were in the OF for the Rangers this year in July and August, the team posted the best record in the American League (yes, even better than the Sox), even with the league's worst pitching by far. Moreover, Nivar had only started playing CF in spring training of 2003, and I am only asking Reed to play a less demanding RF. Maggs has speed capable of stealing 20-25 bases per year. If Reed has similar speed and bats 9th (again, worst case scenario), and has plate discipline that gets him on base with a fair amount of walks, if given the green light to steal with two outs he could put himself in scoring position for the top of the order. Even if he gets thrown out, worst case scenario the top of the order is leading off the next inning.

Lee seemed to do best hitting #2 because he was forced to be disciplined. Again, worst case scenario and Reed must hit ninth, Lee goes back to the 2 spot. Reed not hitting well enough to bat #2 might actually help Lee!

A better defensive OF at the relatively cavernous Cell gets to more fly balls and reduces the scoring opportunities for the opposing team. It also makes the Sox a better team to succeed at spacious Comerica Field in Detroit where the Sox arguably lost the division in 2003.

Speed and defense do not go into slumps. Hitting does. We will miss dearly Maggs and his 30+ homers, his 310+ average and his rock-solid citizen status. But worse things could happen and the Sox could wind up with a great young SS in the process. Re-sign Alomar to play 2B and the Sox can compete as a "grinder" team that KW seems to be poised to unveil.

I predict Frank would hit .310-40-130 full time at 1B and would be the only defensive weak link on the team. Crede has had his sophomore slump and will only continue to improve. Olivo will improve. Offer Alomar a fair contract to finish his career here. His veteran presence and great defense and smarts will help. Offer Everett a one-year contract with an option for a second year to serve as the cleanup hitter and primary DH. He plays best in contract years and his veteran presence and no-holds-barred style of play will help. Let him play RF or LF in small stadiums to allow Lee, Reed and Borchard to "rest" at DH while Reed can take turns in CF on the days that Everett plays RF or LF. Keep Willie Harris for pinch runner duties. Keep Graffy to spell the infielders as needed. If they can dump Konerko they will have even more flexibility.

Here's the lineup under Reed's worst-case scenario (primary position listed first):

2B Alomar
LF/DH Lee
1B/DH Frank
DH/RF/LF Everett
3B Crede
CF/DH Borchard
C Olivo
SS from trade for Maggs
RF/CF/DH Reed

Best case scenario, Reed's production warrants hitting #2:

2B Alomar
RF/CF/DH Reed
1B/DH Frank
DH/LF/RF Everett
LF/DH Lee
3B Crede
CF/DH Borchard
C Olivo
SS from trade for Maggs

Both lineups probably do not win many 12-8 slugfests. But they do make the Sox competitive in more 2-1 and 3-2 games, especially if the lineup is set daily and the most frequent substitutions are rotating players as DH.

Even if they can't get rid of Konerko, they still will have enough money to sign Colon and perhaps another free agent starting pitcher. A rotation of:

Colon
Buehrle
Loaiza
free agent
Garland

is better than what they had this year. Loaiza may not replicate his 2003 stats but I believe Buherle's return to form and Garland's continued improvement will offset this. Garland would be the best #5 starter in the game. But even if KW can't get a #4 starter, Garland still is a formidable #4 and you have the option of converting Schoenweiss (sp?) to your #5 starter.

Big picture: Under this scenario, the Sox have both veteran leadership (Alomar, Everett, Frank, Loaiza, Colon) and talented youngsters who for the most part are good defensive players with speed. The only thing they lack is a superstar in his prime, but Frank's return to 1B and the continued improvement of Crede, Olivo and Lee will negate the loss of production from Maggs' departure. The pitching will be as good, if not better, than 2003. Then Kenny can focus his attention to improving the bullpen.

Bottom line: do I want the Sox to trade Maggs and go with a young OF? No. He's the best player on the team. I also think he was a big part of the Sox success in 2003 and he deserves the least amount of blame for the Sox failure to make the postseason.

But if payroll must stay constant and the choice is between keeping Maggs or keeping Colon, Frank and perhaps Everett to DH, I choose to keep Colon and Frank and let Everett DH and trade the most tradable commodity for a needed young SS and a starting pitcher.

If KW gets too little in return for Maggs, but that "too little" is a 1985 Ozzie Guillen-type shortstop and a top-notch pitching prospect or #4 starter, under the worst case scenario the Sox will take a step back initially but they still might be able to win the division in 2004. And if they have to "go cheap" and have "to settle" for Backman as manager, that actually may work out for the best.

If you have made it this far, thank you for reading. All I ask is that you thoughfully dissect my argument and decide if it is defensible. If not, tell me where I am wrong or where assuming too much. But if you must, fire away.

soxtalker
10-04-2003, 12:01 PM
Thanks xil357 from a couple of perspectives.

First, I don't know when Randy and Daver posted their analysis of our top minor leaguers, but I hadn't read it yet. It is indeed a fascinating piece of work, and I very much appreciate their efforts. It will be interesting to see how BA's analysis will compare.

Let me throw in another possibility. This has been a banner -- maybe even break-out year -- for Carlos Lee. I don't know what his status is regarding contract. Obviously, he doesn't have the big salary that Maggs does, and I don't think that we're going to lose him in a year anyway. But he might be highly desirable to another team. Can you see a scenario in which he is the one that is dealt?

jabrch
10-04-2003, 12:45 PM
I have no problem with the concept of trading Mags. (or anyone on the team for that matter.) Rather than getting a SS, I would rather use the salary that we free up to get Matsui or even Tejada. I would trade him as long as we could add in either Koch or Konerko for a 1B and a SP. It doesn't seem like we have much of that in our system that is MLB ready.

jeremyb1
10-04-2003, 05:57 PM
I like Joe Borchard but I think everyone has been overly generous with him. Do you really want a player that can only hit .250 in AAA replacing your All-Star right fielder? You're looking at a massive dropoff in production there. I think Rowand is a much better option right now. I'd take the .280 hitter in the majors over the .250 hitter in AAA. Also, as I stated elsewhere, I'd trade Carlos before Maggs. We'd still save about 6 million that way and we'd trade the more overvalued player of the two.

xil357
10-04-2003, 06:21 PM
Originally posted by jeremyb1
I like Joe Borchard but I think everyone has been overly generous with him. Do you really want a player that can only hit .250 in AAA replacing your All-Star right fielder? You're looking at a massive dropoff in production there. I think Rowand is a much better option right now. I'd take the .280 hitter in the majors over the .250 hitter in AAA. Also, as I stated elsewhere, I'd trade Carlos before Maggs. We'd still save about 6 million that way and we'd trade the more overvalued player of the two.

No. I do not want to rely on Borchard to even begin to replace Maggs' production. I don't want to see Maggs gone at all. I want them to keep the team intact and trade away Konerko and Koch to the Cubs for Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, and I want them to trade Rowand and Daubach for Juan Pierre and Dontrelle Willis. I also want sixty billion dollars in my bank account so I can buy the Sox for cash.

But that isn't going to happen.

So, I put together a coherent argument (IMHO) that the Sox would not be in dire straits if and when they, under the orders to trim payroll from JR himself, trade Maggs.

I put together a scenario by which they could have enough money within their existing payroll structure to re-sign Colon and keep most of the rest of their lineup together while adding youth and speed to the OF, thereby improving their defense in the process and thus remaining competitive in the weak AL Central.

If and when Maggs gets traded, hopefully for, at a minimum, a stud MLB-ready SS prospect and pitcher who can be the Sox #4 starter in 2004, I won't jump off a cliff or slit my wrists. I don't want anyone else here at WSI to commit Hari Cari when it happens, either, because the Sox need all the fans and fan support they can get after the nightmare of 2003, in which the Cubs reached the postseason and had some measure of success, is over.

RichH55
10-04-2003, 07:35 PM
Originally posted by jeremyb1
I like Joe Borchard but I think everyone has been overly generous with him. Do you really want a player that can only hit .250 in AAA replacing your All-Star right fielder? You're looking at a massive dropoff in production there. I think Rowand is a much better option right now. I'd take the .280 hitter in the majors over the .250 hitter in AAA. Also, as I stated elsewhere, I'd trade Carlos before Maggs. We'd still save about 6 million that way and we'd trade the more overvalued player of the two.


All depends on if you can sign Mags long term at a good rate....which is a big ? at this point

poorme
10-04-2003, 10:10 PM
borchard should go to right and reed in center. at least according to BA.

gosox41
10-05-2003, 07:46 AM
Originally posted by jabrch
I have no problem with the concept of trading Mags. (or anyone on the team for that matter.) Rather than getting a SS, I would rather use the salary that we free up to get Matsui or even Tejada. I would trade him as long as we could add in either Koch or Konerko for a 1B and a SP. It doesn't seem like we have much of that in our system that is MLB ready.

Tejada is overrated and will command a lot more money then he deserves.

Also, it's unrealistic to think a team is going to want both Magglio and either Konerko/Koch for a SP unless the SP is overpaid grarbage.

How many teams are going to look to add $20-22 mill. in payroll?

Bob