PDA

View Full Version : Do we have a good team right now?


lowesox
01-13-2004, 02:11 PM
I keep reading people posting that we have a good team as it stands right now and I can't believe it. We have two spots missing in our rotation, a question mark at closer, no proven set-up man, no leadoff hitter, and two huge question marks at CF and 2b. Mix in that Konerko and Crede didn't live up to expectations last year and are therefore questionmarks too and I can't possibly see how as things stand some of you think this team can win.

But I really do have an open mind. The White Sox management isn't giving me anything to be optimistic about. Maybe one of you can convince me and the other naysayers that things aren't so bleak after all.

soxnut
01-13-2004, 02:29 PM
Well, to me, Marte can be a set up or closer. Also, I doubt Koch could have as bad a year as he did last year. I think we'll get one more solid spot in the rotation via a decent cheap FA---rarely does a team have a solid #5. I thought Politte was supposed to be a good set up man, and what about letting Wunsch pitch to more than one batter per game?

Konerko just had a bad year, most players have one of those, and Crede had the sophomore jinx. Rowand is fine out in CF, and when he first came up and was healthy, he always did something good to help the team ie: get on base, advance runners, make a great catch. Let's give Harris at least a couple of months of being in the lineup consistently to see what he can do.(we don't have the tinkerer as manager anymore, so that should help).

And hey, without a leadoff hitter there's less of a chance of hitting into a double play :D: :D: :D:

CubKilla
01-13-2004, 02:30 PM
We have a good team for the AL Central. Put this current roster in any other division in baseball and you'll see the glaring, gaping holes courtesy of JR and his budget.

lowesox
01-13-2004, 02:43 PM
Originally posted by CubKilla
We have a good team for the AL Central. Put this current roster in any other division in baseball and you'll see the glaring, gaping holes courtesy of JR and his budget.


Another question is, what is this team's goal? To just win a weak division. I mean let's face it, even with two solid additions this team isn't going to intimidate anybody in the playoffs.

idseer
01-13-2004, 02:44 PM
Originally posted by lowesox
I keep reading people posting that we have a good team as it stands right now and I can't believe it. We have two spots missing in our rotation, a question mark at closer, no proven set-up man, no leadoff hitter, and two huge question marks at CF and 2b. Mix in that Konerko and Crede didn't live up to expectations last year and are therefore questionmarks too and I can't possibly see how as things stand some of you think this team can win.

But I really do have an open mind. The White Sox management isn't giving me anything to be optimistic about. Maybe one of you can convince me and the other naysayers that things aren't so bleak after all.

this is not a good team no matter what the rose-colored glass-wearing crowd says. as things stand (and kw did say this was the team) we'll be lucky to finish 3rd as i expect cleveland will give them a good run.

this team is good at dh, lf and rf (IF we keep magglio). that is IT!
every other position is a question mark. one should never depend on question marks!

hold2dibber
01-13-2004, 02:44 PM
Way, way too many "if's" to be able to say with any confidence that this team is anything better than a .500 team. Based upon the current roster, they'll be good only if most of the following occur:

(1) If Loaiza proves that last year was not a fluke;
(2) If Garland takes a step up to become a legit no. 3 starter;
(3) If Koch bounces back;
(4) If Konerko bounces back;
(5) If Marte can handle closing;
(6) If Crede improves;
(7) If Harris can provide a half-decent OBP in the lead-off spot;
(8) If Guillen's big mouth doesn't cause a rebellion;
(9) If someone among Schoenweiss, Wright, Rauch, Cotts, or Pachecho can give the team at least 170 innings of decent starting pitching;
(10) If one or two untested bullpen arms come through (e.g., Ginter, Wright, Atkins, etc.);
(11) If Jeremy Reed is MLB-ready;
(12) If Olivo improves;
(13) If Uribe can provide some offense against left handed pitching; and
(14) Loaiza, Buehrle and Garland stay healthy.

There are so many question marks on this team that I find it hard to forecast the season. I can see them winning 72 games. I can see them winning 85 games. I would be hard pressed to come up with any reasonable basis for thinking they might win more than that.

jeremyb1
01-13-2004, 02:59 PM
Originally posted by lowesox
I keep reading people posting that we have a good team as it stands right now and I can't believe it. We have two spots missing in our rotation, a question mark at closer, no proven set-up man, no leadoff hitter, and two huge question marks at CF and 2b. Mix in that Konerko and Crede didn't live up to expectations last year and are therefore questionmarks too and I can't possibly see how as things stand some of you think this team can win.

But I really do have an open mind. The White Sox management isn't giving me anything to be optimistic about. Maybe one of you can convince me and the other naysayers that things aren't so bleak after all.

In terms of baseball analysis, people often use very poor reasoning when judging a team. People will always focus too much on a teams holes and not enough on a teams strenghts.

For instance, a team with the league's best offense, the league's second best starting pitching, and the fifth best bullpen era in the league with poor defense will generate much more conversation about its defense than the other aspects of the team. At least once in the last two seasons I recall a prominent baseball analyst (I can't recall who) stating the Sox would lose the central because they weren't strong up the middle. Now that's really terrible analysis. A team could excel at everything else but it can't win unless it has strong up the middle defense?!?!

When looking at a club you really have to try your hardest to look at the big picture. This can be hard because there's so many factors going into a teams success. One of the easiest ways is to look at the clubs performance the last season and then examine the players the team has lost and acquired as well as whether or not players should be expected to repeated last season's performance.

To do that with this club first you have to note that we won 86 games last season. However, you have to examine factors other than wins. Looking at runs scored and runs allowed, we had the best differential in the central and the best pathagorean record, meaning that last season we were the best team in the division by 4 games based on how many runs we scored and allowed.

Our biggest losses are going to be Colon and Gordon because they performed quite well for us over the course of the entire season. Our next biggest loss would be Everett but as well as he played he was around for less than half the season so his loss isn't gigantic. Finally, Sullivan - who didn't log that many innings for us - and Alomar who was below league average at 2B shouldn't be missed to greatly.

As far as acquisitions go, we haven't done much to make up for the loss of the aforementioned players. However, it is possible that Gordon's loss in the pen will be close to made up for if a few things go right. First, Pollitte is a solid pitcher and if he has a season in line with his career numbers prior to last season he won't be terribly far off Gordon's performance. Additionally, Koch and White were dreadful last season. If the younger guys (Ginter, Wright, Sanders, Munoz, etc) can find some minimal success and manage not to be terrible the pen may be nearly as good as last season.

Finally to look at how the players from last seasons team will perform compared to last season. The two players who fell short of expectations most, Koch and Konerko, are likely to improve. Even if they continue to struggle it'd be quite hard for either of them to be as horrendous as last season. Next, Crede and Olivo are young players with upside who struggled considerably at points last season. There's at least a decent chance those two will improve. Maggs and Marte have been quite consistent and are likely to perform along the lines of the last couple seasons. Frank and Jose should remain somewhat constant but with all players their age, there's always a chance of their performance falling off. Carlos most likely has the greatest chance of struggling since he had a career year. However, he was at an age where players often peak so the possibility he will maintain or even improve on his performance exists.

Looking at the rotation, Loaiza is a strong candidate for a dropoff because his numbers weren't in line with his career numbers. However, Baseball Prospectus did a study that revealed players that experience a strong increase in their K/BB ratios as Loaiza did when have a season that seemingly came out of nowhere have a good chance of maintaining success. Buehrle and Garland both have a solid chance of improving from last season. Its hard to fathom Buehrle having another half as bad as his first half last season and Garland is still incredibly young and has demonstrated the ability to dominante.

Overall, you have to figure we lost around 6 games with our departures (I realize that doesn't sound like a lot but it is) putting us at 83 wins. The almost definite improvement from Koch and Konerko is another win or two. Any way you look at it, I have to think we're looking at a win total in the mid 80s. Some may not see that as a cause for optimism but the way I'd look at it while it may not be probable that we make the playoffs, we're only a few breakout seasons (Garland? Crede? Ginter?) away from the playoffs.

ssang
01-13-2004, 03:01 PM
Right now we win 85 games ONLY becuase we play in the AL Central. 85 wins will MAYBE win this pathetic division. And IF we actually do win the AL Central.....we'll get absolutley MASSACRED in the first round. This roster would be overachieving if we win 1 playoff game let alone an entire playoff series. Anyone who expects any more is either smoking crack or smoking a whole lot of crack!

jeremyb1
01-13-2004, 03:01 PM
Originally posted by idseer
this is not a good team no matter what the rose-colored glass-wearing crowd says. as things stand (and kw did say this was the team) we'll be lucky to finish 3rd as i expect cleveland will give them a good run.

this team is good at dh, lf and rf (IF we keep magglio). that is IT!
every other position is a question mark. one should never depend on question marks!

I disagree that we're only strong in three positions. What about Buehrle, Loaiza, and Marte? Marte was one of the best relievers in the league last season, Loaiza won 21 games, and Buehrle had his worst season and was still quite good.

jeremyb1
01-13-2004, 03:02 PM
Originally posted by ssang
Right now we win 85 games ONLY becuase we play in the AL Central. 85 wins will MAYBE win this pathetic division. And IF we actually do win the AL Central.....we'll get absolutley MASSACRED in the first round. This roster would be overachieving if we win 1 playoff game let alone an entire playoff series. Anyone who expects any more is either smoking crack or smoking a whole lot of crack!

The great thing about the playoffs is that anything can happen in a 5 or 7 game series. I wouldn't say the Marlins were the best team in baseball last season, I'd say that they were playing the best baseball during the playoffs and caught the most breaks.

I don't think there's anyway we'll be the best team in baseball next season but there's always the chance we could get really hot and get some great performances against a juggernaut like the Yankees or Red Sox in 5 or 7 games. Someone like Jon Rauch most likely isn't in the same league as someone like Curt Schilling but stranger things have happened than a Rauch dominating in the playoffs all of a sudden and a proven stud like Schilling struggling badly.

ode to veeck
01-13-2004, 03:05 PM
Overall, you have to figure we lost around 6 games with our departures

if jeremby1's analysis is even remotely in the ballpark, there's three very good reasons the eternal optimists could resurge in this offseason.

(1) we're still in the worst division in baseball

(2) JR blew a helluva lot more than the 6 games we've lost by personnel changes (Jeremby1's accounting)--a net increase in wins by default

(3) Panic-attack won't be pitching in any games with the twinkies in September--worth at least 90 bonus points for pennant chase momentum when it counts

Frater Perdurabo
01-13-2004, 03:10 PM
What were folks predicting about the 2000 White Sox in January 2000? I'd say that the 2000 Sox had more question marks and holes than the 2004 Sox. That doesn't mean the 2004 Sox will have the best record in the A.L. in September, but I'm not going to jump off a bridge because things don't look so great right now. Hope springs eternal.

idseer
01-13-2004, 03:24 PM
Originally posted by jeremyb1
I disagree that we're only strong in three positions. What about Buehrle, Loaiza, and Marte? Marte was one of the best relievers in the league last season, Loaiza won 21 games, and Buehrle had his worst season and was still quite good.


you ask and i answer. :)

i say pitching is a BIG question mark!

the big question about buehrle is, has he flattened out? he did not improve this past season and in fact was worse. he doesn't have that long a history of success to be able to say he is dependable and solid for next year.

the big question about loaiza is, can he do it again? a guy who until last season had 2 winning seasons out of 8? who never won more than 11 games before last year? you want to put all your eggs in THAT basket?

the big question about marte is, can he become thee actual closer? i agree he has looked good. why don't the sox have much faith in him to be THEE closer? the most i'll say about marte is he isn't as big a ? as the rest of the staff, but he's still only pitched 185 innings in his career.

and even if you DID feel they weren't questionable. they are less than a third of the staff. when i suggest the pitching staff is a question mark ... i mean the staff as a whole.

idseer
01-13-2004, 03:31 PM
Originally posted by Frater Perdurabo
What were folks predicting about the 2000 White Sox in January 2000? I'd say that the 2000 Sox had more question marks and holes than the 2004 Sox. That doesn't mean the 2004 Sox will have the best record in the A.L. in September, but I'm not going to jump off a bridge because things don't look so great right now. Hope springs eternal.

i don't think it's jumping off a bridge to express doubt about how the sox size up this year.

the only positives i see mentioned here are things like 'worst division', 'look what the 2000 sox did', and 'anything can happen in a 7 game series'.

like i said ... rose-colored glasses! :cool:

no one is giving up here (well, maybe one or two). it just looks to me like a team that wasn't very good last year is a lot worse this year.
wow ... open your eyes guys. :smile:

jabrch
01-13-2004, 03:38 PM
Are we a good team?

NO, we are not. We are not the worst team in baseball. We are not the worst team in our division. However we are not a good team. We have too many major holes, too many minor holes, and too few lock-down studs. Having that, we can not be a good team. Can we win some games? Sure. Might we win the Central? Maybe - but only cuz there are no good teams in the Central.

But are we a good team? No we are not.

hold2dibber
01-13-2004, 03:52 PM
Originally posted by jeremyb1
At least once in the last two seasons I recall a prominent baseball analyst (I can't recall who) stating the Sox would lose the central because they weren't strong up the middle. Now that's really terrible analysis. A team could excel at everything else but it can't win unless it has strong up the middle defense?!?!

I think it was Harold Reynolds.


Our biggest losses are going to be Colon and Gordon because they performed quite well for us over the course of the entire season. Our next biggest loss would be Everett but as well as he played he was around for less than half the season so his loss isn't gigantic. Finally, Sullivan - who didn't log that many innings for us - and Alomar who was below league average at 2B shouldn't be missed to greatly.

Alomar wasn't great, but you forget about the contribution of Jimenez at the beginning of the year. As much as he drove me crazy, the guy did get on base at a decent clip (as did Alomar, IIRC). The possibility that Willie Harris will not be able to muster a .300 OBP is very real, IMHO. The drop off at 2B will be, I fear, considerable.

Also, I'd also factor in the loss of Graffinino. He was a monster against lefties last year. He didn't have a ton of ABs, but if Jose is yanked against lefties (as he should be), Uribe is on the hot seat and he's a big drop off from Graffinino offensively.


Finally to look at how the players from last seasons team will perform compared to last season. The two players who fell short of expectations most, Koch and Konerko, are likely to improve. Even if they continue to struggle it'd be quite hard for either of them to be as horrendous as last season. Next, Crede and Olivo are young players with upside who struggled considerably at points last season. There's at least a decent chance those two will improve. Maggs and Marte have been quite consistent and are likely to perform along the lines of the last couple seasons. Frank and Jose should remain somewhat constant but with all players their age, there's always a chance of their performance falling off. Carlos most likely has the greatest chance of struggling since he had a career year. However, he was at an age where players often peak so the possibility he will maintain or even improve on his performance exists.

Looking at the rotation, Loaiza is a strong candidate for a dropoff because his numbers weren't in line with his career numbers. However, Baseball Prospectus did a study that revealed players that experience a strong increase in their K/BB ratios as Loaiza did when have a season that seemingly came out of nowhere have a good chance of maintaining success. Buehrle and Garland both have a solid chance of improving from last season. Its hard to fathom Buehrle having another half as bad as his first half last season and Garland is still incredibly young and has demonstrated the ability to dominante..

Garland, Olivo and Crede may improve. Or they may regress - it can go either way with young guys like that. IMHO, it's not much better than a 50/50 proposition with any of those guys. If any of them flops (particularly Crede or Garland), that would be a big blow to the Sox.

I also think you underestimate the loss of Colon, both in terms of the quantity and quality of IPs he provided last year. He likely will be replaced in the rotation by Rauch, Cotts, Pachecho or Schoenweiss. Would it surprise you if the replacement put up a 5.65 ERA over 75 IPs before being demoted? Not me. And that would throw the whole rotation into disorder and put an enormous amount of stress on the top 3 guys.



Overall, you have to figure we lost around 6 games with our departures (I realize that doesn't sound like a lot but it is) putting us at 83 wins. The almost definite improvement from Koch and Konerko is another win or two. Any way you look at it, I have to think we're looking at a win total in the mid 80s. Some may not see that as a cause for optimism but the way I'd look at it while it may not be probable that we make the playoffs, we're only a few breakout seasons (Garland? Crede? Ginter?) away from the playoffs.

On the other hand, we're only a few "blow out" seasons (Loaiza? Lee? Marte? Crede?) away from a 75 win season.

Also, although I am not at all sure how much of an effect a manager can have on a team's W/L record, I am pretty certain he can have some effect. We have a new manager this year, and while I though JM was very bad last year, it's certainly possible that Guillen will be worse.

idseer
01-13-2004, 05:05 PM
Originally posted by jeremyb1
At least once in the last two seasons I recall a prominent baseball analyst (I can't recall who) stating the Sox would lose the central because they weren't strong up the middle. Now that's really terrible analysis. A team could excel at everything else but it can't win unless it has strong up the middle defense?!?!



i think you misinterperted this statement. i don't think it was a blanket statement that a team weak up the middle couldn't win.

i think he was talking specifically about the sox. in other words .. with all their OTHER problems (3rd base, left field, first base, manager, etc.) they couldn't win being weak up the middle.

there's a difference.

lowesox
01-13-2004, 05:13 PM
Originally posted by ssang
Right now we win 85 games ONLY becuase we play in the AL Central. 85 wins will MAYBE win this pathetic division.


Are you taking into account how poorly we played teams like Cleveland and Detroit last year? Both of which are improved.

Lip Man 1
01-13-2004, 05:48 PM
Reynolds specifically said on ESPN Baseball Tonight's pre season show last year that he "wanted to pick the Sox to win the division and go deep in the playoffs, but can't because of their poor defense. They just don't catch the ball."

You can argue about whether this was a correct analysis or not but he was clearly right in the fact that the Sox didn't make the playoffs.

To answer the question posed at the beginning of this theme, the Sox are a competitive club in a bad division. That's like saying you entered a beauty contest, with only three entries....it doesn't mean a thing even if you win it.

The cycle of mediocrity will continue again this year if folks predictions (mid 80 win totals) comes to pass...remember the Sox average record the past six seasons has been 83-79! How much more mediocre can you get?

White Sox baseball 2004 : Milwaukee South.

Lip

cornball
01-13-2004, 05:49 PM
Originally posted by lowesox
I keep reading people posting that we have a good team as it stands right now and I can't believe it. We have two spots missing in our rotation, a question mark at closer, no proven set-up man, no leadoff hitter, and two huge question marks at CF and 2b. Mix in that Konerko and Crede didn't live up to expectations last year and are therefore questionmarks too and I can't possibly see how as things stand some of you think this team can win.

But I really do have an open mind. The White Sox management isn't giving me anything to be optimistic about. Maybe one of you can convince me and the other naysayers that things aren't so bleak after all.

I agree with you. Up to this point, there is doubt in my mind this is a .500 team. We have alot of "ifs" to come out of this with the loss of all of our FA.

KW has to make some kind of move to strengthen the pitching staff and balance the lineup. The only optimisium we can have right now, is something has to happen between now and April. Or else there will be a fire sale in June.

gosox41
01-14-2004, 07:24 AM
Originally posted by lowesox
I keep reading people posting that we have a good team as it stands right now and I can't believe it. We have two spots missing in our rotation, a question mark at closer, no proven set-up man, no leadoff hitter, and two huge question marks at CF and 2b. Mix in that Konerko and Crede didn't live up to expectations last year and are therefore questionmarks too and I can't possibly see how as things stand some of you think this team can win.

But I really do have an open mind. The White Sox management isn't giving me anything to be optimistic about. Maybe one of you can convince me and the other naysayers that things aren't so bleak after all.

If this team stands pat (which wouldn't surprise me) the rest of the offseason, then I predict 75 wins for this team.

Bob

gosox41
01-14-2004, 07:26 AM
Originally posted by ssang
Right now we win 85 games ONLY becuase we play in the AL Central. 85 wins will MAYBE win this pathetic division. And IF we actually do win the AL Central.....we'll get absolutley MASSACRED in the first round. This roster would be overachieving if we win 1 playoff game let alone an entire playoff series. Anyone who expects any more is either smoking crack or smoking a whole lot of crack!

Last year after the Sox got Colon and Gordon how many wins did you have the Sox pegged at?

Bob

ssang
01-14-2004, 07:47 AM
Last year I thought we had a solid chance at 90-95 wins...after we acquired Colon. I mean the AL Central is, IMO, the worst division in baseball history as I type this message.

Maximo
01-14-2004, 08:33 AM
I understand that teams can sometimes "overachieve" in spite of the talent they possess. Last season's Marlins and the Twins in recent years are two examples that come to mind. However, teams that play above their capabilities are generally regarded as having a good "chemistry". Get along with each other, publicly support each other, sacrifice individual needs for the benefit of the team.......a team full of "grinders". Sadly.....I don't see that type of chemistry with the current Sox team. They're not even in complete agreement with how they feel about Reinsdorf. Now, add Ozzie into the mix........

Sorry, but I'm looking for the 'straws that stir the drink' and I'm just not finding them.

doublem23
01-14-2004, 09:32 AM
Originally posted by ssang
Last year I thought we had a solid chance at 90-95 wins...after we acquired Colon. I mean the AL Central is, IMO, the worst division in baseball history as I type this message.

Let's not be overly dramatic. Remember the 1994 A.L. West (http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL_1994.shtml) that was lead by a team 10 games under .500 at the time of the strike? 1995 wasn't that much better... Division was won by Seattle and their 79 wins.

jeremyb1
01-14-2004, 10:00 AM
Originally posted by idseer
you ask and i answer. :)

i say pitching is a BIG question mark!

the big question about buehrle is, has he flattened out? he did not improve this past season and in fact was worse. he doesn't have that long a history of success to be able to say he is dependable and solid for next year.

the big question about loaiza is, can he do it again? a guy who until last season had 2 winning seasons out of 8? who never won more than 11 games before last year? you want to put all your eggs in THAT basket?

the big question about marte is, can he become thee actual closer? i agree he has looked good. why don't the sox have much faith in him to be THEE closer? the most i'll say about marte is he isn't as big a ? as the rest of the staff, but he's still only pitched 185 innings in his career.

and even if you DID feel they weren't questionable. they are less than a third of the staff. when i suggest the pitching staff is a question mark ... i mean the staff as a whole.

I don't think Buehrle has flattened out. Even if he doesn't pitch as well as his first full season he's still a highly valuable pitcher. Again, I see a pitcher that faced some bad luck in the first half and struggled with that so much mentally that he had problems. However, in the second half his K/BB ratio improved from 66/41 to 53/20 and he gave up 7 home runs compared to 15 in the first half. Buehrle's thrown almost 750 innings in the majors. That's more than enough of a history to make judgements about his future performances. Young pitchers don't ussually excel early in their careers and then fade out unless they face serious injury problems. Buehrle is in pretty good shape because his pitch counts have been watched relatively well and he's survived a heavy workload and still held up.

As I said about Loaiza, this is a pitcher that had a 3.7 K/BB ratio last season. The highest mark in his career prior to that was 2.75. He struck out two batters per nine innings more than at any point in his career. He's no sure thing but his success last season wasn't luck. It wasn't a fluke. He pitched much better than at any other point in his career. Also, his ERA was 2.90 so he has room to fall off and still be a well above average pitcher.

As far as Marte goes, we're looking at a pitcher that has completely dominated the last two seasons. His production could fall off but Curt Schilling's could fall off too because he's 37. Zito's production could fall off, he's only been in the league as long as Buehrle. No one is a mathematical certainty but Loaiza, Buehrle, and Marte are good bets to be significantly above average. So what if the rest of the staff isn't outstanding? That's exactly what I was talking about regarding overemphasizing a teams holes and downplaying the team's strengths. Loaiza and Buehrle are a good 1-2 combination and Marte is a good setup man/closer. That matters because a lot of teams don't have such good pitchers in those roles.

hold2dibber
01-14-2004, 10:17 AM
Originally posted by jeremyb1
As far as Marte goes, we're looking at a pitcher that has completely dominated the last two seasons. His production could fall off but Curt Schilling's could fall off too because he's 37. Zito's production could fall off, he's only been in the league as long as Buehrle. No one is a mathematical certainty but Loaiza, Buehrle, and Marte are good bets to be significantly above average. So what if the rest of the staff isn't outstanding? That's exactly what I was talking about regarding overemphasizing a teams holes and downplaying the team's strengths. Loaiza and Buehrle are a good 1-2 combination and Marte is a good setup man/closer. That matters because a lot of teams don't have such good pitchers in those roles.

I agree with your assessment for the most part. But the questions at the back end of the rotation are, in my mind, huge questions. The only candidates for the no. 4 and 5 spots who we know much about are Schoenweiss and Wright, and what we know is not particularly good. The other guys are huge question marks. Garland is probably a good bet to remain at the level he was at least year, which makes him a fine no. 4 starter, IMHO. I feel relatively confident that Buehrle and Loaiza will be above average and that Garland will be at least average. But beyond that, I have no faith that anyone in the rotation will be able to even hold onto a spot in the rotation. I fear a year in which the Sox have 12 pitchers start games over the course of the year because no one can hold down those number 4 and 5 slots.

Of course, the same could be said for the Royals.

daveeym
01-14-2004, 10:20 AM
I think this team potentially can be considered a good team. This is basically the same team that one the division a few years ago and one 90+ games. My greatest sense of hope comes from the fact that Manuel is GONE. He has screwed this team up royally with his musical chairs lineup and questionable moves. Ozzie may suck as a manager but if he provides some consistency to this team their performance will be much better then it has been the last couple years. The last 2 seasons have started with great hope and seen a lot of guys have some of the worst years of their careers and I believe a lot of it was due to Manuel's crap.

Three things i would like to see this year that would give the sox a shot...

1. a consistent lineup.
2. Jose hitting strictly left handed - I'd rather see him swing for the fences and K as a lefty in the situations he used to hit righty - even in his better years with the sox he was brutal from the right side of the plate.
3. A few significant signings. Not blockbuster, just significant.

jeremyb1
01-14-2004, 10:28 AM
Originally posted by hold2dibber

Alomar wasn't great, but you forget about the contribution of Jimenez at the beginning of the year. As much as he drove me crazy, the guy did get on base at a decent clip (as did Alomar, IIRC). The possibility that Willie Harris will not be able to muster a .300 OBP is very real, IMHO. The drop off at 2B will be, I fear, considerable.

Also, I'd also factor in the loss of Graffinino. He was a monster against lefties last year. He didn't have a ton of ABs, but if Jose is yanked against lefties (as he should be), Uribe is on the hot seat and he's a big drop off from Graffinino offensively.

Garland, Olivo and Crede may improve. Or they may regress - it can go either way with young guys like that. IMHO, it's not much better than a 50/50 proposition with any of those guys. If any of them flops (particularly Crede or Garland), that would be a big blow to the Sox.

I also think you underestimate the loss of Colon, both in terms of the quantity and quality of IPs he provided last year. He likely will be replaced in the rotation by Rauch, Cotts, Pachecho or Schoenweiss. Would it surprise you if the replacement put up a 5.65 ERA over 75 IPs before being demoted? Not me. And that would throw the whole rotation into disorder and put an enormous amount of stress on the top 3 guys.

On the other hand, we're only a few "blow out" seasons (Loaiza? Lee? Marte? Crede?) away from a 75 win season.

Also, although I am not at all sure how much of an effect a manager can have on a team's W/L record, I am pretty certain he can have some effect. We have a new manager this year, and while I though JM was very bad last year, it's certainly possible that Guillen will be worse.

Good point about Jimenez. I think he was sorely missed and will continue to be. He just came close to setting the record for OBP in winter ball. As far as Graffanino goes, I agree Uribe won't match his production but I'm not sure we'll miss Graff all that much simply because he wasn't used properly to maximize his value in the past. Jose batted against way too many lefties last season and Graff probably didn't have enough at bats against lefties at least until the second half.

As far as Garland goes, I wouldn't say he's a huge risk to collapse. He's logged over 500 innings at this point and he hasn't posted an ERA over 4.58 since his rookie season when he was 20. A collapse is a possibility but a highly slight one and a breakout seems much more likely.

Even though they are young players without that much of a track record, I look at Crede and Olivo a little bit like Koch and Konerko in the sense that they struggled so horribly at points last season it'd be highly unlikely for them to be worse. For Crede that only applies to his first half where he had a .625 OPS but Olivo posted a .646 OPS for the entire season. Perhaps he could regress slightly from that but it'd be hard for him to perform much worse than that and if that somehow was the case he'd almost certainly be replaced with a player that is at least replacement level.

As far as Colon goes, I think he's a huge loss but you can't say he'll cost the team a lot more than 3-4 wins. That's a ton for a starter. A 5.65 ERA is not good but its not light years away from 3.9 when you think about it. That's less than two extra runs per game. Some of those games we don't win anyways because Colon pitches well but we don't score enough runs while others we score a ton of runs and any half decent performance nets us the win.

You make a good point regarding "blow out" seasons. We have every bit as good a chance of falling apart and failing to contend as we do of making the playoffs. My point is more that its not completely unlikely we make the playoffs even if it isn't probable.

jeremyb1
01-14-2004, 10:39 AM
Originally posted by Lip Man 1
Reynolds specifically said on ESPN Baseball Tonight's pre season show last year that he "wanted to pick the Sox to win the division and go deep in the playoffs, but can't because of their poor defense. They just don't catch the ball."

You can argue about whether this was a correct analysis or not but he was clearly right in the fact that the Sox didn't make the playoffs.

The more I think about it what I was actually thinking about was a comment on ESPN.com's preseason power rankings that said something to the effect of "Lacks the strength up the middle to win the division". While I think Reynold's comments were way off, isolating that comment to simply defense up the middle is far more ridiculous.