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View Full Version : The Koch / Sox debacle (but let's not overspend!)


Lip Man 1
04-14-2004, 11:21 PM
I found this whole Billy Koch scenario deliciously ironic because his contract and the subsequent incendiary bullpen follies are the direct result of the Sox following the tried and true sober business methods advocated by some of our fellow WSI supporters and brethren (and you know who you are!)

Itís really hilarious when you look at the process. Please allow me to do so.

The Sox started the process when they decided they werenít going to re-sign Keith Foulke when his contract was up. Why? Well because the Sox followed the tried and true business method that you donít sign pitchers to long term contracts (far to risky you understand...!) Even though other MLB clubs don't seem to have a problem with that philosophy. Foulke also had fallen into Manager Gandhiís doghouse which Iím sure also was a factor.

Anyway the Sox went shopping to try to find a closer and Billy Koch was available. The Sox looked at him and thought, Ďmaybe,í after all by following the tried and true business method it was better for the Sox to have Koch for three seasons then Foulke for one.

So the deal was made (If you look back at the posts I said I didnít know how this deal was going to come out but that Kenny Williams was at least trying to improve the team despite being saddled with unreasonable restraints put on him by ownership...) Then the Sox got a look at the possibility of arbitration and thought Ďmaybe we should try to sign him to a contract extension. After all following the tried and true business method itís better for us because we avoid arbitration and the possibility of having to pay him more money then we want, it avoids any bad feelings and we can structure the deal back loading it!

So the Sox sign Billy and everyoneís happy. Until Koch suddenly implodes and the Sox are stuck with a pitcher they canít give away unless they pay another club to take him.

But thatís not the end of the saga. This off season, following the tried and true business method of not overspending and not extending yourself (the Sox are a small market team you understand!) The Sox felt they couldnít afford Tom Gordon and Scott Sullivan. The Sox couldnít afford Uggie Urbina when he told Ozzie that he wanted to pitch for the Sox (Ft. Lauderdale Sun- Sentinel newspaper story) The Sox decided theyíd Ďhopeí Koch would come around and to continue the tried and true business method of restraining yourself financially , they surround him with such relief specialists as Cotts, Adkins, Takatsu and Pollitt. The bullpen particularly from the right side is akin to a filled gas can next to an open flame.

Will the not do anything to fix it? Not unless they can get another club to pay them to take their players (a la last July...)

So whatís the moral of the story.....

That maybe, just maybe, itís time the Sox stop acting like tried and true businessmen and START acting like fans of what they own. Their way hasn't done much has it?...on the field, in the stands and certainly not with the media. Maybe, just maybe, thinking outside the box will actually allow them to get good players, win something, re-establish themselves with their fan base, draw more people and EGADS make more money then ever they ever imagined.

Lip

SoxxoS
04-14-2004, 11:25 PM
Your crusade against Uncle Jerry doesn't hold much water nor do anything until more than 18,000 people come to watch the club...that is just the way it is and always going to be...until Uncle Jerry isn't the owner anymore.

Brian26
04-14-2004, 11:31 PM
Lip,

Have a beverage and relax. We won today.

voodoochile
04-14-2004, 11:58 PM
How many freaking threads are you going to start on this topic? Can't you just post a reply to one of the other ones calling for Koch's head on a platter?

Heck, there are even threads devoted to the money issue. It is nice when they all end up in one place so people can read ALL of the comments at once and not have to double post their replies.

Thanks...

CubKilla
04-15-2004, 12:03 AM
JR could have got a proven closer w/PostSeason experience in close-friend-to-Ozzie Guillen Urbina. Of course JR didn't do what would have been good for the team. Rather, he did what was good for his pocketbook.

Chisox_cali
04-15-2004, 12:29 AM
Originally posted by voodoochile
How many freaking threads are you going to start on this topic? Can't you just post a reply to one of the other ones calling for Koch's head on a platter?

Heck, there are even threads devoted to the money issue. It is nice when they all end up in one place so people can read ALL of the comments at once and not have to double post their replies.

Thanks...

*cough cough Attention Whore cough cough*

Lip Man 1
04-15-2004, 02:47 AM
Voodoo:

This is the only freaking thread (to use your words) that I started on this subject. Check it out for yourself. I had comments relating to this topic on other threads but not addressing the whole issue. If you've got a problem with it, condense it with another one. Won't bother me a bit. Like Brian said relax and have a beer.... we won today. We'll see what the bullpen can come up with for tomorrow.

Soxxos:

If the organization actually WANTS more then 18,000 a game they'll do something to change it the status quo. One thing is for sure... Sox fans will never make the first move on this issue...not yesterday, not today and not tomorrow. My point is those who are advocating fiscal responsibility to use good ole Uncle Jerry's phrase are seeing the results of that folly very clearly just with Billy Koch alone. It's a microcosim of the problems and issues surrounding this club. I'll continue to do what I can to change things, Sox fans deserve better then the status quo.

Lip

inta
04-15-2004, 05:11 AM
Yawn

SSN721
04-15-2004, 08:13 AM
Lip,
I know that you just want a better team like all of us, but it seems sometimes you take pleasure when this team loses or looks poorly just because you think it validates your point more. I am sure you are not rooting for this team to lose but your attitude in all your posts certainly seem to convey this to me. I mean there is really nothing that can be done until ownership changes or has a very unexpected change in heart. We can complain over and over and over and over and over and over and over again and keep saying the same thing but it isnt going to change anything. I just get sick of so many threads (not just by Lip of course) about the payroll and profit of the team when nobody has the slightest clue how to calculate all of it. I guess I just get sick of hearing the same complaints over and over again. What are we going to do? None of us are rich enough to buy the team, and even so, the opinions on this site are so different on how to run this team there are many here I wouldnt want to see owning and running this team just like I am sure many would feel the same about me. I dont mean to rant, I just hate going through this after the way we won yesterday.

voodoochile
04-15-2004, 08:35 AM
Lip:
Sorry... you started one earlier in the day that had a similar feel that I merged elsewhere. I was on a short rope last night and you caught some of the fallout. My bad...

hold2dibber
04-15-2004, 08:47 AM
Lip:

While I whole-heartedly agree with your belief that the Sox current operating philosophy is not working and is killing the organization. I also agree that they're short-sighted and foolish in that they don't realize the need to open the pocket book to reverse the trend. However, I don't think the Koch example is a good one. I think Koch is here and Foulke is gone more because of baseball reasons than anything else. The Sox organization somehow never truly appreciated Foulke. The guy arguably has been the best closer in baseball over the last five years - and inarguably has been one of the best 5 or so. Yet the Sox coveted a traditional "power arm," intimidating closer. They wanted someone more like Koch (despite the fact that on the field, Koch was never anywhere near as good as Foulke). The contract status (they had control over Koch for 2 (not 3) years whereas Foulke was in his contract year) was, I'm sure, a factor, but I don't think it was the primary factor.

But it's true that their cheapness this offseason really killed them in that it was (and remains) quite obvious that the pitching staff (and not just the bullpen) is a disaster waiting to happen. They could have picked up some useful arms without spending a fortune, but opted for the cheapest possible instead. It's a shame, because with this line-up, in this division, if the Sox had a decent staff, they'd be in the cat bird's seat.

voodoochile
04-15-2004, 09:00 AM
Maybe Ozzie is allowing Koch to be the closer to force Kenny's hand. If the rest of the team continues to play this well, Kenny will have no option but to go get some bullpen help or prove he just doesn't care.

In effect, he is calling KW out with his use of Koch as a closer.

Ozzie may turn out to be a good thing for Sox fans in more ways than one.

samram
04-15-2004, 09:05 AM
I think Sox management also got sick of watching Foulke blow every big save opportunity. He lost two of the playoff games to Seattle and I remember him blowing games in Minnesota in 2001 just when the Sox were about to get right back in the race (I think it was a three-run double by Denny Hocking that won a game) and I remember the opening series in Seattle in 2002 when he gave up three or four in the bottom of the ninth to prevent us from taking two of three. And don't forget the Yankees series later that year when he couldn't get anybody out and cost Buehrle a win. He never got it done when it really counted.

Gumshoe
04-15-2004, 09:34 AM
Sam, please stop posting such idiocy up here. I've been saying for years that they just didn't like (they=KW) Keith Foulke, which is chicken ****e.

All he did was perform as a virtually unhittable closer with an ERA under 3, WHIP as good as anyone, one of the best % in blown saves, and he continues to do it. So the Sox got tired of having the best closer? Laughable.

You only remember the times when he blew it. He has 139 saves over the last 5 years and two of those years he wasn't even used as a closer. Stop this selective White Sox memory NOW and look up EVERY statistical category --- Keith Foulke would be at the top. With him, maybe we would have won the world series last year.

Wait, let's trade him for Billy Koch! Ha!

Gumshoe

samram
04-15-2004, 09:47 AM
Originally posted by Gumshoe
Sam, please stop posting such idiocy up here. I've been saying for years that they just didn't like (they=KW) Keith Foulke, which is chicken ****e.

All he did was perform as a virtually unhittable closer with an ERA under 3, WHIP as good as anyone, one of the best % in blown saves, and he continues to do it. So the Sox got tired of having the best closer? Laughable.

You only remember the times when he blew it. He has 139 saves over the last 5 years and two of those years he wasn't even used as a closer. Stop this selective White Sox memory NOW and look up EVERY statistical category --- Keith Foulke would be at the top. With him, maybe we would have won the world series last year.

Wait, let's trade him for Billy Koch! Ha!

Gumshoe

I would never argue that I'm not an idiot. That said, the year we got to the playoffs with him as the closer, he lost two games, and he blew a game or two for Oakland last year in the playoffs- his playoff performance has been bad. Furthermore, I remember the times he blew saves because they happened to be in important games. I agree he was lights out against Detroit, Kansas City when they were bad, Tampa and Toronto, but when the big games came around, he was really shaky.
I don't like Koch either. I hope Cotts will make the trade a good one for the Sox. They should have signed Urbina, but we know Sox management won't pay two closers. I'm surprised they fired Manuel knowing they would have to still pay him for this season.

Hangar18
04-15-2004, 10:13 AM
Lip, this is an EXCELLENT POST, and Definitive of how the SOX constantly get Burned trying to Spend Less, and Ironically, end up PAYING MORE in the long run. This move, though it saved the SOX some Money having Koch over Foulke, It COST us a Division Title last year, not to mention a couple of minor leaguers ........

maurice
04-15-2004, 11:45 AM
Oakland is a small market team that dumps their closer every year because it's too expensive (and a bad value) to sign him to a long-term deal. They traded Koch to the Sox for that reason, in exchange for a much better player with a one-year, good-value deal, while the Sox signed Koch to a longer, bad-value deal. In other words, the Sox would have been much better off had they cheaped out and acted more like a small market team.

On a related note, by any objective measure, Foulke has been one of the best closers in baseball for quite some time. Even the best closers blow big games sometimes, including the likes of Dennis Eckersly (famously). In fact, closers are significantly more likely to blow big games (against, say, the Yankees) than meaningless games (against teams like TB), because of the discrepancy in the level of competition. Nobody finishes the season with 60+ IP and a 0.00 ERA.

Hangar18
04-15-2004, 11:49 AM
Originally posted by maurice
Oakland is a small market team that dumps their closer every year because it's too expensive (and a bad value) to sign him to a long-term deal. They traded Koch to the Sox for that reason, in exchange for a much better player with a one-year, good-value deal, while the Sox signed Koch to a longer, bad-value deal. In other words, the Sox would have been much better off had they cheaped out and acted more like a small market team.



Dont think for a Minute, that Oakland KNEW KOCH was on the downside of his career now, and was a perfect time to get rid of him, using Money as the basis for trading him. Oakland got to the Playoffs with a servicable closer, the lost him to FA, BUT got a DRAFT PICK for losing him. We got a bad closer, and MISSED THE PLAYOFFS

Scotty347
04-15-2004, 11:51 AM
I have to agree with samramiam on this one. I was happy to see Keith Foulke moved at the time because my strongest memories of him are when he blew the big games. He did this very often. I can picture him on the mound looking like he was going to cry when in those pressure situations. It hasn't worked out with Koch, but at the time I was thrilled to see the choker Foulke get moved. He may be better under these situations now, but for the Sox he always blew the big ones.

Of course that still doesn't solve our current problem and Foulke would probably be a better option than Foulke (in hindsight).

Jurr
04-15-2004, 11:52 AM
DIDN'T WE GET OLIVO INCLUDED IN THAT DEAL, OR WAS THAT THE CHAD BRADFORD DEAL???
If I am thinking correctly, and we did get Olivo in that deal, then who cares about Billy Koch period?

CubKilla
04-15-2004, 11:56 AM
Originally posted by Scotty347
I was happy to see Keith Foulke moved at the time because my strongest memories of him are when he blew the big games. He did this very often. I can picture him on the mound looking like he was going to cry when in those pressure situations.

The best closers blow games. Yes..... the Great Gagne will blow a game again eventually. Foulke had one bad HALF of '02, was practically unhittable the second half of '02 (with an ERA under 1), and because JM didn't (and still doesn't) know how to deal w/pitchers and a BP, Foulke wasn't allowed to close anymore exclusively in '02. Rather, Foulke became part of a closer committee.

CubKilla
04-15-2004, 11:58 AM
Originally posted by Jurr
DIDN'T WE GET OLIVO INCLUDED IN THAT DEAL, OR WAS THAT THE CHAD BRADFORD DEAL???
If I am thinking correctly, and we did get Olivo in that deal, then who cares about Billy Koch period?

Cotts and Botch for Foulke

Adkins for Durham

Olivo for Bradford

All those are IIRC.

Baby Fisk
04-15-2004, 12:04 PM
Originally posted by voodoochile
Maybe Ozzie is allowing Koch to be the closer to force Kenny's hand. If the rest of the team continues to play this well, Kenny will have no option but to go get some bullpen help or prove he just doesn't care.

In effect, he is calling KW out with his use of Koch as a closer.

Ozzie may turn out to be a good thing for Sox fans in more ways than one.
I'd love to believe that this is true. You're right: Ozzie doesn't have the power to pull a new reliever out of his butt. He has given no indication that Koch is on the outs, so if Koch keeps botching saves all eyes will turn to Kenny. He'll either have to do something or let a team with tons of potential implode...again... :(: And then LipMan can remind us all of how miserable everything is...

maurice
04-15-2004, 12:22 PM
Originally posted by Hangar18
Dont think for a Minute, that Oakland KNEW KOCH was on the downside of his career

No, like I said, they dump their closer every year instead of paying him. In this instance, Koch was comng off of a career year, allowing them to trade him for a much better pitcher. Revisionist history and career years aside, Oakland's cheap-out strategy won the day.

Let me express this mathematically:

Foulke > Koch and most other closers.

This was true at the time of the trade . . . as pointed out by many observers here and elsewhere. Subsequent (and even prior) seasons have only proven it.

SoxxoS
04-15-2004, 12:34 PM
I said it last year and I'll say it again...I don't/wouldn't want Foulke closing meaningful game for my team. Plain and simple.

This guy gets into high pressure situations (The game in Minnesota, last year in the playoffs) and wilts like a dead flower.

He is an excellent guy to have around for the majority of the season, but I don't want him closing playoff games.

CubKilla
04-15-2004, 12:52 PM
Originally posted by SoxxoS
I said it last year and I'll say it again...I don't/wouldn't want Foulke closing meaningful game for my team. Plain and simple.

This guy gets into high pressure situations (The game in Minnesota, last year in the playoffs) and wilts like a dead flower.

He is an excellent guy to have around for the majority of the season, but I don't want him closing playoff games.

I'll agree with you only if you agree that we don't want to see Botch close any more games for the White Sox PERIOD!!!!! :)

Lip Man 1
04-15-2004, 01:56 PM
Voodoo:

No problem...happens to all of us.

Lip