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Lip Man 1
09-30-2007, 06:49 PM
Gang:

Just a note of thanks and appreciation for all of the hard work that everyone put in to the site this past season..and that includes all those who participated in the message boards.

It was a tough year to put it mildly. At least I had the option of turning off the TV or the internet when things went South...I can only imagine how hard it was to watch or attend practically every inning of this awful season. While I probably didn't agree with everything that was said or written from all of you, the information was appreciated, the 'truth' needed to be told and I'm grateful for your work.

Seriously many thanks for everything!

I've also enclosed my annual 'By The Numbers,' a slightly different look at things. It may prove to be of some use.

Have a happy, SAFE and healthy off season. February can't come soon enough for me.

Lip

By the Numbers...

And with that the 2007 season mercifully comes to an end.

Not a lot to say but I submit a few things that may cause comment, interest or generate replies.

I’m ‘old school’ so for me whatever is accomplished individually doesn’t mean squat if the team has a losing season but I can understand folks remembering fondly Mark’s no-hitter, Jenks’ streak or Thome’s 500th dinger. It’s all up to the individual I guess. My belief on the 2007 season was best summed up by Homer J. Simpson one time...."Now let us never speak of it again..."

Not as many numbers this season for obvious reasons but I do submit the following.

*This is the Sox first ‘losing’ season since 1999.
*This is the Sox first ‘non-winning’ season since 2002.
*This is the first losing season with Ozzie as manager.
*This is the first losing season with Kenny as G.M. (Winning seasons in
2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. A .500 season (81-81) in 2002 and this
year’s disaster.)
-----
Speaking of Kenny the debate I’m sure will continue this off season about him and his abilities. One losing season in seven years merits comment but so does the fact that the team has made the post season one time in that span. How does that compare to the rest of MLB? Let’s see...remember seven is the maximum number you can get.

*Yankees: 7
*Braves: 5, Cardinals: 5
*Angels: 4, Athletics: 4, Red Sox: 4, Twins: 4
*Astros: 3, Diamondbacks: 3
*Cubs: 2, Dodgers: 2, Giants: 2, Indians: 2, Padres: 2 (3 if they win playoff
game vs. Colorado)
*Mariners: 1, Marlins: 1, Mets: 1, Phillies: 1, Tigers: 1, White Sox: 1
*Blue Jays: 0, Brewers: 0, Devil Rays: 0, Expos/Nationals: 0, Orioles: 0,
Pirates: 0, Rangers: 0, Reds: 0, Rockies: 0 (1 if they win playoff game vs.
San Diego), Royals: 0

Personally I’m still in Kenny’s corner but this off season and the 2008 regular season are crucial. Another year like 2007 and you have to give serious consideration to making a change at the top.

The only ‘stat’ I’ll show from this year is what to me, was the biggest failure of all. I understand and agree with those who say, ‘the hitting was bad,’ ‘they couldn’t score runs, ’‘they have no team speed,’ ‘they can’t execute simple fundamentals...’ All of those are valid concerns but something has to head the list. And this to me is the biggest. If this was ‘right,’ even with all the other issues the Sox would have had a much better season, perhaps even a winning one.

18

That’s the number of games the bullpen blew and lost after taking a lead into in the 7th inning or later this season. And of course there were still additional games where the bullpen blew the lead only to have the Sox come back to win. For example Saturday night. In 2007 there was one game where the starting pitcher was on the mound in the 7th inning or later and gave up the lead.

Here’s the breakdown (no pun intended)!

4/4 Cleveland 7th inning (Thornton)
4/10 @Oakland 9th inning (Jenks)
4/22 @Detroit 9th inning (Aardsma)
5/8 @Minnesota 8th inning (MacDougal)
5/18 @Cubs 7th inning (MacDougal)
5/19 @Cubs 8th inning (Aardsma/Logan)
6/2 @Toronto 7th inning (Thornton)
6/19 Florida 7th inning (Bukvich)
6/20 Florida 8th inning (Jenks)
7/2 Baltimore 9th inning (Jenks)
7/14 @Baltimore 9th inning (Jenks)
7/17 @Cleveland 9th inning (Jenks)
7/23 Detroit 7th inning (Wassermann)
8/16 @Oakland 7th inning (Logan)
8/29 @Texas 7th inning (Thornton/Bukvich)
8/31 @Cleveland 8th inning (Myers/MacDougal)
9/6 @Detroit 9th inning (Jenks)
9/10 Cleveland 7th inning (Floyd (tying)/Myers)
9/25 Kansas City 7th inning (Wassermann/Myers)

The game on 9/10 is the only game where the starting pitcher was still in the game when the lead disappeared as Floyd allowed the tying run.

In 2006 a bullpen that was considered ‘bad’ by almost everyone "only" had NINE blown games by the relief staff and 12 overall as a team. (Starters were responsible for three games in the 7th inning or later)

The two season total is up to: 27 by the bullpen and 31 games overall.

Want to win in 2008? The first thing that needs to happen is find three or four guys who can get the ball to Bobby with the lead. All else (in my opinion) comes after this.
-----
I look forward to an interesting, active, productive off season. If not it’ll be more of the same in 2008.

Also it is my hope that Steve Stone is retained in some capacity for White Sox broadcasts in 2008. My preference would be on the radio side.

Finally I wonder if there is anyway for the Sox to petition to get switched to the National League? (Well I’m joking...sort of...)

Consider the last three post season appearances by the Cubs and their number of regular season wins: 1998 (90 wins), 2003 (88 wins), 2007 (85 wins).

Average numbers of wins to get in the playoffs the last three times: 87 wins.

87 wins in the American League gets you a seat in front of your HD TV watching the playoffs or an early tee time on your favorite course!

Lip

tebman
09-30-2007, 07:21 PM
Great work, Lip! Your summary should be required reading at the Sox front office this offseason.

We all knew the bullpen was bad this year, and your analysis proves it. Is there a solution out there? Given what the Sox have to trade, I don't know.

Thanks to you too, Lip, for your insight and your trove of historical detail! :thumbsup:

Lip Man 1
09-30-2007, 08:45 PM
Teb:

I have passed it along to my friends in the front office...who knows they may even pass it along to Kenny for a laugh.

Lip

Hitmen77
09-30-2007, 09:25 PM
Gang:

Just a note of thanks and appreciation for all ...



By the Numbers...


18

That’s the number of games the bullpen blew and lost after taking a lead into in the 7th inning or later this season. And of course there were still additional games where the bullpen blew the lead only to have the Sox come back to win. For example Saturday night. In 2007 there was one game where the starting pitcher was on the mound in the 7th inning or later and gave up the lead.

Here’s the breakdown (no pun intended)!

.......

The game on 9/10 is the only game where the starting pitcher was still in the game when the lead disappeared as Floyd allowed the tying run.

In 2006 a bullpen that was considered ‘bad’ by almost everyone "only" had NINE blown games by the relief staff and 12 overall as a team. (Starters were responsible for three games in the 7th inning or later)

The two season total is up to: 27 by the bullpen and 31 games overall.

Want to win in 2008? The first thing that needs to happen is find three or four guys who can get the ball to Bobby with the lead. All else (in my opinion) comes after this.
-----


Thanks for the info, Lip. You are absolutely right that the bullpen was the biggest problem this year. Only one word to describe them (outside of Jenks) - embarrassing.

It make you wonder how many games this team would have won - warts and all - simply if they had a mediocre bullpen. Sheesh - that may have put this team near the .500 mark.

As far as replacing up to 4 guys in the bullpen next year. That would be ideal - but I don't think it's realistic. I don't expect much in the way of more bullpen help from the minors since everyone we called up besides Wasserman has been an embarrassment. The guys we sent down to AAA (Sisco, Masset, Aardsma) haven't exactly set the world on fire in Charlotte, so I don't expect any of them to be the answer. Realistically, I just hope KW gets 2 decent relievers and then is able to get lucky with 1 or 2 reclamation projects (like we did with Hermanson in '05 and Thornton in '06).

Finally I wonder if there is anyway for the Sox to petition to get switched to the National League? (Well I’m joking...sort of...)

Consider the last three post season appearances by the Cubs and their number of regular season wins: 1998 (90 wins), 2003 (88 wins), 2007 (85 wins).

Average numbers of wins to get in the playoffs the last three times: 87 wins.

87 wins in the American League gets you a seat in front of your HD TV watching the playoffs or an early tee time on your favorite course!

Lip

By the way, in 1998 the Cubs only had to win 89 games at the end of their regular schedule to earn themselves a tie-breaker game. That last game counted as a regular season win (their 90th) - but still 89 wins as of that last Sunday of the season was good enough to get them into the playoffs. Too bad "failure" teams like the 2006 White Sox don't have that benefit.

Frater Perdurabo
10-01-2007, 07:25 AM
I think it's foolishly optimistic to expect the Sox to sign four new relievers.

But I do think that finding two reliable veteran set-up guys - who can get both RHB and LHB out - would make the bullpen much stronger. That way, the two weakest relievers would be in Charlotte, and the next two would be demoted to mop up/middle relief and used less often.

RedHeadPaleHoser
10-01-2007, 08:26 AM
Lip:

Thanks for your recap. It is interesting reading, as always. It makes me look forward to next year, and to what I hope to be an interesting offseason.

nccwsfan
10-01-2007, 08:49 AM
Great job as always Lip- looking forward to a productive offseason and a better 2008!

HerzogVon
10-01-2007, 09:00 AM
Lip, you are a stat man par excellence! However, unlike many you make sense of the numbers you regurgitate. I want to thank you personally for all your help this past year - repeatedly - in setting straight my often faulty memory. My weary mind salutes you. :gulp:

Moses_Scurry
10-01-2007, 09:51 AM
I think it's foolishly optimistic to expect the Sox to sign four new relievers.

But I do think that finding two reliable veteran set-up guys - who can get both RHB and LHB out - would make the bullpen much stronger. That way, the two weakest relievers would be in Charlotte, and the next two would be demoted to mop up/middle relief and used less often.


Agreed. Two RELIABLE bullpen guys added to Jenks would improve the bullpen drastically. The problem is how do you know who is reliable? Before this season MacDougal and Thornton were reliable. Before last season, Cotts and Politte were reliable. Before 2005, Shingo was reliable. The following seasons? Not so much. In my opinion, the likelyhood of the exact same bullpen being lights out next year is at the same level as the likelyhood that a bullpen with 5 new veterans + Bobby Jenks is just as bad as this year's fiasco.

My thoughts are for the Sox to acquire a new starting pitcher and put Contreras in the bullpen. I know he gets paid a ton of money, but a 10 million dollar GOOD reliever is better than a 10 million dollar awful starter. Of course, he might be just as bad in the bullpen, but I think the idea has some merit assuming they can't find a sucker to trade for him.

Britt Burns
10-01-2007, 11:11 AM
And to think going into the season I thought our pen would be a strength...

Thanks Lip for all your work and interesting posts!

chisoxmike
10-01-2007, 11:18 AM
Lip, thank you. I didn't realize it was 18 blown and lost games. Wow. Thats unreal.

I think 2008 is a very important year for this team. They NEED to at least contend and have a winning season next year. If they fall flat on their face again, I think the time will come to question KW's term as GM.

This team has 8 postseason appearances in 106 years! Pathetic. As a major market team filled with talent year in and year out, it amazes me that the "KW era" has only mustered up one postseason appearance.

Hokiesox
10-01-2007, 01:04 PM
Lip,

your tireless and well-informed commentary has been a joy to read for the last 4 seasons I've been on this board. Keep it up!

Hokie

Lip Man 1
10-01-2007, 01:07 PM
Moses:

I disagree with one comment of yours talking about Thornton and MacDougal being 'reliable.'

Matt has had one reasonably good year in all his years in baseball, that was 2006.

Remember he was a failed first round draft pick of Seattle who was days away from getting cut before the Sox got him.

MacDougal had a little more of a track record, he made the All Star team one season if memory serves, however he also missed most of two complete seasons with serious arm injuries.

He wasn't as big of a risk as Thornton and it may simply be splitting hairs but I wouldn't feel comfortable calling either of them reliable.

Your point about Cotts and Politte can also be questioned in the sense that both of them also had only one good year in baseball. Neither of them had any real history of good performance before (or since) 2005.

Lip

UserNameBlank
10-01-2007, 01:26 PM
Teb:

I have passed it along to my friends in the front office...who knows they may even pass it along to Kenny for a laugh.

Lip
Somehow I doubt Kenny would find this humorous, unless Kenny's way of laughing is flipping over tables.

Edit:

BTW Lip, thank YOU for the info all year. Many of us, me included, would rather complain than post factual information. You sir do both and should be commended for it!

Frater Perdurabo
10-01-2007, 01:35 PM
Lip, as always, thank you for the info.

Do you have any suggestions as to what veteran relievers the Sox should pursue as free agents or who they should try to acquire via trade to improve the bullpen?

I don't follow the middle relief/set-up corps for other teams, so I have no idea who the Sox should pursue. Specific names are appreciated.

UserNameBlank
10-01-2007, 01:47 PM
Do you have any suggestions as to what veteran relievers the Sox should pursue as free agents or who they should try to acquire via trade to improve the bullpen?
I'm not Lip and I'll probably get flamed for suggesting it, but I think Juan Cruz would be a good target. We need a guy who can spot start, work long relief, set up, basically a veteran who can sit in the back of the pen and fill many roles. He had terrible years in '03 and '05 but has been decent or better in every other year of his career. He's about as good as you're going to find IMO for that role. The other mention would be Saloman Torres but he's up there in age and spent some time on the DL this year. We need a veteran to anchor that spot, especially next year when we'll likely have Danks + Floyd and maybe even another rookie in the rotation. In fact we might need two of these guys if we trade both Garland and Contreras.

Lip Man 1
10-01-2007, 02:27 PM
Cruz was openly mentioned as a potential target by the Sox in the newspapers before they got Thornton. Also Oscar Villareal was a name on the front burner.

I don't know if those are still in play or not.

The Sox were openly looking at both Torres and Hernandez when both were with Pittsburgh and were rebuffed by the former G.M. Maybe the new guy will be easier to work with.

Just off the top of my head I like the idea on Linebrink, I'd see what the Angels could want for Shields. I would certainly take a look at Vizcaino coming back. I think he's a free agent, I'm not sure. I'll have to see what other names could be out there especially after the tendering deadline.

If you are looking for a real long shot, low risk / high reward possibility Guardado (if healthy) could be worth a shot for maybe a single or double A spare part.

One thing to keep in mind however, based on Kenny's long interview Saturday, at least one reporter openly speculated that Williams will NOT be in the market for any free agent relief help this off season, that any help would be coming via trade.

We'll see.

Lip

Moses_Scurry
10-01-2007, 02:36 PM
Moses:

I disagree with one comment of yours talking about Thornton and MacDougal being 'reliable.'

Matt has had one reasonably good year in all his years in baseball, that was 2006.

Remember he was a failed first round draft pick of Seattle who was days away from getting cut before the Sox got him.

MacDougal had a little more of a track record, he made the All Star team one season if memory serves, however he also missed most of two complete seasons with serious arm injuries.

He wasn't as big of a risk as Thornton and it may simply be splitting hairs but I wouldn't feel comfortable calling either of them reliable.

Your point about Cotts and Politte can also be questioned in the sense that both of them also had only one good year in baseball. Neither of them had any real history of good performance before (or since) 2005.

Lip

Whether you want to call these guys "reliable" or not was not the point of my post though. The point was that it is nearly impossible to know if any relievers are going to be reliable going into a season. I would call MacDougal reliable based on his KC career and 2006, but I can see your point on the other guys. However, when you think about Kenny's job going into 2006, the only need he saw was upgrading the offense and the 5 spot in the rotation. I don't think any GMs would have felt like they needed to overhaul the bullpen after Cotts, Politte, and Jenks were so good the year before. The only "reliable" guys who I would feel totally comfortable with are locked up by other teams.

TDog
10-01-2007, 02:37 PM
Lip, thank you. I didn't realize it was 18 blown and lost games. Wow. Thats unreal.

I think 2008 is a very important year for this team. They NEED to at least contend and have a winning season next year. If they fall flat on their face again, I think the time will come to question KW's term as GM.

This team has 8 postseason appearances in 106 years! Pathetic. As a major market team filled with talent year in and year out, it amazes me that the "KW era" has only mustered up one postseason appearance.

There's nothing you or anyone can do about that, is there? If you're using today's standard for making the "postseason," it is pathetic. But more than half of those postseason appearances have come in my lifetime, and a quarter of them have come with Mark Buehrle and Paul Konerko on the team. Harold Baines has been with the team for 37.5 percent of the postseason appearances, and he's younger than I am.

You can't do anything about the years before there was a postseason, 1901 and 1902, or even 1904 or 1994 -- a year some people believe the Sox would have held off the charging Indians, or at least survived as the first wild card team. Certainly by today's standards, some tieams, such as the 1964 team, would have made the postseason. In 1972, the Sox had the third-best record in baseball and didn't make the postseason. Between 1919 and 1959, when only one AL team went to the postseason the Yankees were dominant. At that time the White Sox were gutted by the suspensions, not only of the stars involved in the World Series scandal -- whose absence sent the Indians to the 1920 World Series -- but Dickie Kerr, who won two games in the 1919 World Series but ended up being suspended because he held out for more money from the Charles Comiskey. From 1960 to 1968, there were no play.

From 1969 through 1993, there were only two teams in the postseason. The Sox made it twice in those years. Since 1995, the Sox have been to the postseason two times more.

When I was a kid, making the postseason would have been an incredible feat. The Sox had the best team when the A's had their best team, which could only have happened before free agency, just as the Yankees that shut out the Go-Go Sox could only have happened before the free agent draft and the current Yankees would only dominate in the era of free agency. The money spent by the Yankees and Red Sox have made the AL wild card more competitive than the division races.

Now, a Chicago team is in the postseason every couple of years. It was five years between the Sox losing to the Blue Jays in 1993 and the wild card Cubs losing to the Braves in 1998. But the Sox came back two years later to win their division. The Cubs were back in 2003. The Sox sere back in 2005 and the Cubs are back in 2007, despite finishing last in 2006. This is because the postseason is watered down. Winning 90 games should be good enough in the NL, but it isn't nearly enough in the AL. Still, the postseason is watered down.

The postseason shouldn't mean as much as it used to. That's why when the White Sox won the Central in 2005, the reaction was subdued. They hadn't won anything yet. The only reason the Cubs fans aren't subdued and worried about about getting clobbered now that they don't have to play NL Central teams is that they have stopped believing in curses and have begun believing in fate.

Things won't be so different for the Cubs, but things are different for Chicago baseball. The Sox have never had a higher payroll, despite the 2007 results. The Sox will be back by 2009 or 2010.

Then people can complain about how pathetic it is that they have only made the postseason nine times in more than a century.