Sunday, December 7, 2008

Arbitrary Laughs

The Sox have offered Orlando Cabrera arbitration, that’s a fact. In return, they’ll get two prime draft picks- that is, if he turns it down. You might scoff and maybe do a spit take. “What do you mean, ‘if’? I thought that was a done deal. No more O.C.” Well, some don’t see that as such a far-fetched idea. Blame it on the economy, or the free agent market, but that’s still a possibility. Personally, I don’t see it happening, but wouldn’t that be something? Something out of a hidden camera prank show.

I’ll tell you, the hype and the White Sox organization itself makes me laugh this winter. The Sox chose to proudly display their new acquisitions on the front page. With a photo. And what a photo it was. I’m not trying to offend anyone, but it seems that this young man partook in an Olympic game of some sort.

But even more flattering than that picture is perhaps [the description of newly signed John Van Benschoten’s accomplishments].

“Van Benschoten, a 28-year-old starter, went a combined 2-13 with a 9.20 ERA in 26 appearances, including 19 starts, with the Pirates in 2004, '07 and '08. He went 1-3 with a 10.48 ERA in nine appearances, including five starts, this past season.”

He sounds like a real find, doesn’t he? Don’t get me wrong, his minor league numbers seem okay, but why start with the embarrassing stats?

I wish I had gotten on top of this and written this early enough that the Sox hadn’t taken down their article, but sources reported that they had some sort of interest in Cantu. The article went on to say that he was a far less than adequate third baseman and that the Giants (his previous organization) would move him to first base if they could not trade him. Because that’s exactly what our team needs- another Josh Fields! Another guy counting down the days until he can move to DH. Maybe, like Fields, he just needs a bigger glove. This image is already famous. It’s really the only one the Sox P.R. people use when publishing an article about Fields. I’m not sure if I feel more uncomfortable looking at how tiny his glove is and that it is already closed, or knowing that he honest-to-goodness believed he would catch that ball.

I recently found out that The Hawk has a twin. Honestly, every time I see a clip of this man, I think of all the things I would like to explain to Mr. Harrelson. Like the appropriate use of the words “good” and “well,” as well as the fine art of finishing a sentence rather than letting it…



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Vaquez and Logan Traded to Braves

Here I am, eating my words once again. What [I said] was

“Lots of talk about Vazquez being traded. That might be even more laughable because, first of all, he is not a bad pitcher. He’s unreliable, sure, but he has lots of talent. Second, and most important, is that after a bad year, his trade value would be lower. If you’re gonna trade Javi, wait ‘till you can get something good. That’s the idea that the people suggesting we should trade Floyd have, anyway (sell high, buy low…). Anything is possible, but I'd have to see it to believe it.”

Well, I lived to see the day. [Javi Vazquez has been traded to the Braves]- and he’s taking Boone Logan with him. In exchange, the Sox will have the option to choose four of five players offered by the Braves. Their top two prospects are second baseman Brent Lillibridge and minor league catcher Tyler Flores who was tearing up the system with something along the lines of a .387 average with 12 home runs. That’s another $11 million dollar salary the Sox don’t have to deal with.

What do I make of this? Well, first of all, I’m wondering what this means for our starting rotation. While Buehrle, Floyd, and Danks are all strong starters, what of the two remaining spots? There’s Clay Rich, in theory. So that’s that. And there’s been lots of praise passed Poreda’s way. But wasn’t he just in AA? There’s Lance Broadway, but there have been no signs of him advancing. And how about those rumors that the Sox are throwing out their big contracts so they can afford paying C.C. Sabathia? If the Sox hope to be in a pennant race next year, this rumor seems to make a lot of sense.

I really hope this is going somewhere, because as of right now, it just seems like the Sox are trying to multiply the amount of players in their roster. (Swisher traded for 3 players, Javi & Boone traded for 4. -3 + 7 = 4, the number of players the roster has grown by through trades. Granted, we’ve lost Hall, Crede, and Uribe to free agency [Ramirez and Griffey are not worthy of any sort of mention], but there seems to be an excessive inflow of players, but nothing that really seems to be a permanent fix.) Once again, spring training will have to be telling.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Bosses Give Us an Update: The Sox are Getting Younger

Not much is notable since the trade of Nick Swisher to the Yankees for the White Sox Organization. But the bosses speak in these articles. First, Kenny Williams talks bout the Sox’ budget in the [Daily Herald]. He also spoke to [ESPN] about some of the expectations for next year. Ozzie took on the Swisher trade in [The Tribune]. Then, the Trib felt the need to throw [this list of free agents] out there.

They don’t give away much of their other plans for the clubs, but Kenny’s famous “I can’t spend a dollar if I only have 50 cents,” quote gets a little update. The Sox budget has crept up to 75 cents. (But perhaps, with the rate of inflation, 75 cents gets you what 49 cents got you last year. Have I taken this too far?) Kenny says that the budget downsizing comes naturally with his plan of getting younger. How’s 19 for younger? A full 20 years younger than the Sox’ oldest slugger (Jim Thome), Dayan Viciedo is making the move from Cuba to the Sox organization looking to, perhaps, challenge talent-challenged Josh Fields and Yankee acquisition Jason Betemit.

Of Viciedo, Ozzie said, “I'm going to tell the fans and media: Don't expect this kid to play the first year like "the Missile" did. He's supposed to be a good player. We're going see in spring training.” Well, my expectations are much higher than what they were when Ramirez was acquired. If your All-Star, Should’ve-Been-World-Series-MVP third baseman isn’t coming back, you better have something up your sleeve. If your pocket cards are Josh Fields and his brilliant numbers, you’re not taking home the jackpot any time soon. The truth is, Viciedo has credentials. By 15, he was already playing with the pros. He was an All-Star at 16. But spring training will be the deciding factor.

Ozzie won’t miss Swish much. Even the fun attitude he brought to the club at the beginning of the year wasn’t there by the end of the year. Quite honestly, that part is fine by me; what do you have to be cheering about when you’ve been batting under .200 in the last month?

They both say they look forward to the next year with a younger team, while still carrying the veterans that can still compete. I’m not as optimistic. While I like the idea of the team getting younger, we’re quite possibly looking at someone who is brand new at second base, third base, centerfield, as a backup catcher, and possibly right field if all the Dye trade talks come to fruition. That is, Getz, Viciedo/Betemit/Fields/whoever, Anderson/Owens/Wise, and Cole Armstrong, is it? While I was excited about the prospect of Getz on second back in the day, and I’m sure the Anderson/Owens/Wise combination will produce as much as Swisher did, the rest add up to a whole lot of question marks.

So, while the big bosses answered some questions, they also inspire some:

-What of Toby Hall?
-Will the youth of the youth movement be enough for the team to contend again next year?
-What will the starting lineup look like next year?

Stay tuned for more news. And if you’re ever bored, [add me as a friend on Facebook.]

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chicago Gets a Little Cleanup: Sox Dump Dirty 30

The news slowly trickled in. First ESPN, then FOX, and soon the White Sox front page. The Sox did, indeed, trade Nick Swisher. To the Yankees, no less. The full deal is Nick Swisher and Kanekoa Texeira (minor league pitcher) for Jeff Marquez, Johnny Nunez (both minor league pitchers in the Yankee system), and Wilson Betemit. Betemit is a first baseman and utility infielder.

This deal puts to rest any rumors that may be remaining about Paul Konerko’s trade- now that we don’t have a backup first baseman and all... And it expands the White Sox budget just a tad.

The Yankees didn’t give up much- unless, of course, Williams knows more than we do and more than what the numbers show. But then again, either did the Sox. There is this little bloop by the [ESPN article]

Not even average

Nick Swisher in 2008 had the worst batting average among players with at least 502 plate appearances, the number needed to qualify for the batting title.

From the bottom up

Nick Swisher, White Sox

.219

Daric Barton, A's

.226

Michael Bourn, Astros

.229

Jack Cust, A's

.231

Mark Ellis, A's

.233

Rickie Weeks, Brewers

.234

Kevin Millar, Orioles

.234

I told you he was one of [the worst players in baseball] this season! Then again, a blind German boy who spoke no English and had no knowledge of baseball could have told you that, too.

What does this mean in terms of center field? Either a big trade is coming, or it’s time for BA to put his money where his big mouth is. Or Jerry Owens. So far, that’s all I got.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Siftin through the Rumors

It’s hard to sift through the garbage to get to what’s really going on with the White Sox organization. Honestly, if you listen to anyone that tells you the Sox are trading Paul Konerko for anyone, you should know that person is a liar of Boras-like proportions. To reiterate what was said repeatedly while Konerko was slumping this summer: no-trade clause. Lots of talk about Vazquez being traded. That might be even more laughable because, first of all, he is not a bad pitcher. He’s unreliable, sure, but he has lots of talent. Second, and most important, is that after a bad year, his trade value would be lower. If you’re gonna trade Javi, wait ‘till you can get something good. That’s the idea that the people suggesting we should trade Floyd have, anyway (sell high, buy low…). Anything is possible, but I'd have to see it to believe it.

What is reliable and what I do know comes from the official announcement that Cabrera, Crede, Hall, Griffey, [Horacio] Ramirez, and Uribe have officially filed for free agency. [And maybe this article.] Apparently, Williams told the press Swisher wouldn’t be playing center field anymore. Is it time for Anderson or Owens to take over? That’s how it seems. I was unaware of this decision, but completely onboard with it. Honestly. You have too much of the same thing. A surplus of pitchers is what we could really use.

And if they won’t bring back Crede, a new third baseman. How about this guy? Dayan Viciendo, 19, is on the White Sox’ radar [according to Cowley] as a possible replacement for Crede. (Seriously, look this kid up sometime. I think you might find yourself slack-jawed!) This seems like one of the best options for now at 3rd base. And can I just say, "HA! I knew they wouldn't settle for Josh Fields!"

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Are the Sox Over Swisher?

I really think someone is toying with me. Read [an article today]- a blog post, really. The topic? Nick Swisher used as trade bait. We have enough sluggers (Not to mention outfielders!), they say, and KW wants speed. That leaves Swish the odd man out.

While noting would make me happier, I’m sure his trade value has plummeted and this may not be the best thing for the team overall. I mean, would you trade your start pitcher for a guy [who I personally] nicknamed BeatNick? I think not.

The truth is he’s just had a bad year. Understandable. But overall, he’s not a much better player. I’m thinking .260 at best. Or as God himself, Kenny Williams put it:

"He better," Williams told MLB.com, when asked if he expected Swisher to raise his numbers in 2009.

Add that to the men who’ve already filed for free agency and you’re looking at a whole new ballclub. In case you’ve lost track, Cabrera, Crede, Griffey, Hall, [Horacio] Ramirez, and Uribe have all filed for free agency. Some will find a home soon (Cabrera, Ramirez, Uribe), some could still come back with the Sox (Hall), and some will find the free agent market unfriendly (Cree, Griffey). We’ll find out soon enough.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Welcome to the White Sox House

Barack Obama has been the early projected winner of the 2008 Presidential Race. Not just that, but he has endorsed the White Sox during his run for office. So with that great endorsement from a man with much power, I have taken the liberty to suggest some ideas that will surely better Washington. First, I suggest that the White House be renamed the White Sox House. If not, this architectural change I've crudely photoshopped for you seems like a good way to change Washington Lanscape, and perhaps our government can be sponsored by U.S. Cellular, and be called U.S. Cellular House.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shedding Those Extra Pounds

Oh no! What shall we do? The age and average weight of this ballclub has dropped by about 40 lbs and 5 years! Maybe we can convince Harold Baines to play again! Does Jim Thome have a twin we can sign? Maybe Billy Butler has a heavier, older brother. Oh, what will we do without Griffey and Toby Hall? Expect details about the number retirement ceremonies soon. 17 and 44 will never be done justice again.

Yes, the Sox have chosen not to pick up Griffey’s $16 million option (shocking, I know!) nor Hall’s. It is, in fact, understandable. Both were overpaid (Griffey on a much larger scale than Toby, of course) and injury-prone. Griffey had knee surgery recently and complained of general soreness all year. Plus, with age come other problems (and not just loss of bladder control) like loss of speed. Not that that has been a factor for Griffert this year. As for Hall, what he did for our team always put him in the line of fire. Just by using his talents, he nearly made a trip to the D.L.. Pie is not something you joke around with, folks. If Hall won’t be back for a smaller paycheck, then a whole new dilemma arises in the form of someone to bestow the title of Cream Pie Man (The 12-year-old in me just really wanted to say that.) in the future. Perhaps Brian Anderson, who will be headed for more bench time next year if a trade doesn’t displace either Swish or Brian. Or maybe A.J. because a.) he is a catcher, and b.) because it would add so much to his persona. He would do it in an evil way and even “congratulate” “spectacular” members of the opposite team with poison or steroid pies.

All jokes aside, Griffey as a player won’t be missed much. He made small contributions to the team, but hurt it just as much. As a person, the Legend of Griffey will be missed. At least the Sox can say they had the Great Junior in a black and white uniform. Hall certainly earned his salary. While I called him a “professional jinx,” he wasn’t a bad catcher at all. His ERA was something like 3.74 and his batting average wasn’t all bad. Plus, he used to be quite a looker back in the day. He may return for a reduced salary, but for now, we are prepared to let the number 44 pass back to Anderson.

Bringing the weight average down further is Juan Uribe who, together with Joe Crede, filed for Free Agency. It is expected to be the end of their respective runs with the Sox. Uribe, much like Hall, wouldn’t have the playing time next year to earn his salary. He is possibly looking for a starting job. As for Crede, when a final move is made, I will write about it then.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Complimenting Getz by Adding Insult to His Injury

I opened my news feed today to find [an article about Chris Getz] that the White Sox had put on their front page. I read to see if there was anything new. The article made me think it wasn’t going to tell me much. It began with a tale of his 10-credit-hour semester at Ann Arbor, saying he’s not doing winter ball because he broke his wrist August 31st when he was hit by a pitch. (Happy birthday to you. Poor kid's birthday was the day before) But the writer –eventually- got down to business.

What I read lead me to believe that Getz is poised to be the 2009 starting second baseman. Why? Not because he’s spectacular, that’s for sure. He’s been compared to Nick Punto. Said Getz, "Nothing stands out in terms of tools, but he's [Punto] just a baseball player -- I appreciate his game and players like that.” What does that mean? I don’t know. The article continues to read, “His power numbers won't reach 25 home runs. His stolen base total won't hit 40 or 50, and Getz might not win a Gold Glove at second.” With that said, the writer concludes, “Combine this high praise with Williams' expressed desire to fill some 2009 openings from within, and Getz could be anointed the team's starter at second.” Aw, shucks. How sweet of these guys. Not to mention the references sprinkled in throughout of how everyone viewed him as more of a ‘utility player’ than an everyday second baseman. You know… they could have at least tried to disguise their words and make it seem as if they were paying a compliment. Not throw out an insult and call it a compliment. Unless mediocre defense, offense, and base running are your idea of the tools that comprise the ideal baseball player.

Okay, so with that in mind, let’s do some digging on 25-year-old Chris Getz. His career average is .286. He would average around 13 stolen bases per season. And maybe 4 home runs. He had a minor league career-high 11 this year. An Orlando Cabrera of sorts. A much more inexpensive, younger, non-praised Orlando Cabrera. I will say that whoever wrote the Gold Glove thing wasn’t kidding. Not sure if it was the constant moving around from station to startion or just lack of dexterity, but Getz has accumulated quite a few errors. Even in the outfield, believe it or not. What I like about Getz? Base hits. Consistently, in almost any situation. If you check out [his numbers for the year at Charlotte], you’ll see that day, night, lefties, righties… he hits them all well. Not equally well, but over .266 in every occasion. What I don’t like? Well, I would like him to be a Gold Glove second baseman. If he shows defensive improvement, I will readily accept him as a starter next year.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Will 2009 be the Year of Richard?

Unless you know something I and the rest of the world don’t, you’re slowly accepting the idea that short of a Kenny Williams miracle, we are looking at 2009 as the year of Clay[ton] Richard.

Sure, when looking at his numbers for 2008, you might not be impressed. 2-5 record. 6.04 ERA. But there are good things about his performance this year. His fast ball is great. Paired with some of A.J.’s brain power behind the plate, he has shown he can be an effective pitcher. At least, for a few innings at a time. Look at his performance against the Yankees. Or think of the day of 5 back to back strike-outs. He and his big shoulders may be great options if properly primed. Of course, he’s rarely made it more than 5 or so solid innings. So, let’s take a look back on his minor league days.

He’s done pretty well for himself. A career 3.32 ERA with a 2.45 best this year over 44 innings and a 5.23 worst during his first year, but over only 10.1 innings. His numbers look great. Maybe they should look better than great since there will be some changes once he makes the transfer up to the major leagues, but he’s the best of the bunch we have growing down on the farm. In terms of errors, which normally aren’t a big deal for pitchers, he’s even picked up a few in the minors, but according to the Sox talking heads, he’s working on that this offseason.

They key for him so far has been a well-located fastball. If he keeps that up, gains endurance, and maybe picks up some more pitches, he may be a solid 5th starter- heck even 4th, if Vazquez has another rollercoaster season.

Why I'm scared? Well... there's a reason why he wasn't a starting pitcher this year. (And because he looks like he's wearing shoulder pads even when he's not!)

Why I'm hopeful? Because I see potential.

So, pending trades, magical healing powers, or other unforeseen newcomers, get ready for Clay. Get ready for FWOBAs to start sporting “CLAYMATE” shirts and get ready to watch every 5th game with a bottle of Pepto Bismol alongside your beer.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Graduating Class of '08: Orland Cabrera

Orlando Cabrera has almost unanimously been voted out of the White Sox by the fans. The blogs, the forums, even the journalists all are announcing that Ramirez is our new short stop, the era of Chris Getz has arrived, and Orlando Cabrera can go back to the free agent market uncontested. So, then, let’s analyze Cabrera’s year with the Sox.

A little background on OC: he’s 33 (turning 34 in a couple of weeks), 5 foot 9, and a 2-time Golden Glove winner. Of course, one of them was in the National League, so it doesn’t really count for much, but I digress. He has played with Montreal, the Red Sox, and the Angels before arriving on the Chicago scene to drain the White Sox budget by $10,000,000. Career average? .274. Oh yeah, and he was supposedly a big partier and has an Ozzie-Guillen-like gift of gab.

So, why are we going to miss him? Like I said, 2 Gold Gloves. He’s a good short stop, and along with Alexei Ramirez made for excellent midfield defense. Not to mention that he lead the team in stolen bases. He understood small ball, let’s put it that way. Had he not been in the lead-off spot, he would have been the most “clutch” guy on the team. Okay, I might be making that last one up, but it certainly feels true. His 2-out AVG is a decent .260ish.

Yet we’re not too broken hearted to see him go. Why’s that? Well, first off, we have enough money black holes (See: Konerko, Thome). There is a nonsensical trend in baseball for players to make more and more money as time goes on regardless of correlation to skill or agility. I’d rather give that money to something that is a necessity (See: Third base, pitching). Furthermore, he’s tallied quite a few errors (although not out of synch with his normal career numbers) and has been caught stealing quite a bit, to the aggravation of his teammates. And since he wasn’t on the 2005 team, he has no excuse for not being perfect.

What are some reasons Joe Cowley thinks we shouldn’t be sad to see him go? First of all, he doesn’t get along with people. He has ‘mastered the 5-second shower’ and is the first one out of the clubhouse, has had words with Jermaine Dye, and has no business trying to take on a leadership role. Plus, he had some words with professional crazy man, Balfour of the Rays. The Sox are not the place for people with bad attitudes. They were single handedly responsible for taming the feared mouths of Pierzynski and Guillen, weren't they?. [eye roll]

Personally, I think the Sox will be fine without Cabrera. Unless he can play third base, there is no need for him here. We already had an infield full of shortstops, time to move some unnecessary pieces out of the club. The sad truth is that his time with the Sox wasn’t very appreciated. I’m sure many a south sider will shed a tear upon Griffey’s departure. Cabrera’s, on the other hand, will be met with shoulder shrugs, despite the fact that his contribution was much, much greater. He was the only man who stepped up to a lead-off role this year. Don’t worry, OC, I appreciate you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

White Sox Put the "Knee" in "Needy"

One of my favorite Pierzynski stories of all time involves A.J. taking a pitch to the groin, and kneeing Schneider in the groin when asked how it felt. Well, it seems knees in general are a big problem for this team. At least, this week.

First, let me mention Griffey. He apparently just had surgery on his knee. [The Story According to CWS] There were supposed problems with his power, and clearly it affected his mobility. Yet the Sox insisted on sticking him in the outfield. Let’s not go back to that. Hopefully, that chapter of our lives is over.

But, then there’s this guy. The oh-so-handsome man who I not so fondly called Booger for the past year and a half. Third Basement (not baseman by any means) Josh Fields also had some knee surgery. He hopes he’ll be more flexible, steal some bases, get some range on third base. Now, part of me is upset because all this attention they’re giving Booger more than likely means that they’re definitely going to keep him as a third baseman basement next year and that means something very sad for me in terms of my favorite player, Joe Crede. The other part of me wonders if maybe, just maybe, Josh Fields and his agent aren’t twisting the story the same way Crede and his agent were accused of twisting the story. Does anyone really believe Fields was ever a good third baseman? Does anyone believe Fields will ever be a good third baseman? He might be a decent hitter if you squint, tilt your head, mess with the contrast on your television, and pretend he’s… Jerry Owens and you’re not expecting much from him anyway- but he’s certainly not a good third baseman. And not because of his lack of flexibility, but his lack of range in general. Not just this year.

If we keep glorifying Josh Fields’ successes in 2007, why not analyze it? 100 games. 373 at bats, and a whopping 23 home runs. [Applause, please] Oh yeah. And 125 strikeouts. That’s 34 more than his 91 hits. Good for you, Josh Fields. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate his .308 OBP, but a .244 average is nothing to be proud of. He’s had decent minor league numbers, but who hasn’t, really? In fact, even in the minors, he’s been striking out more than he’s been getting on base. And then, let’s move on to some fielding. His first year in the minors, he had 11 errors in just 58 games, then 24 the next year. He had 16 in 2005 and 8 in just 23 games in 2007. He had 11 this year in just 75 games at Charlotte. (Alright, Joe Crede’s numbers were atrocious, too, but I don’t have a personal vendetta against him, so why would we even make that comparison?)

However, every now and then, between the arrogant pearls of wisdom Fields dissipates to his loyal fans, or whoever it is he addresses his messages to, Fields says something… not wise, not clever. I guess the word I’m looking for is “DUH!” Fields says getting little singles really helps your average. “DUH!” Granted, he understands this basic mathematical fact, but does anyone think he’ll be able to contain himself when the glory of fireworks is looming just one fastball away? Let me answer my own question this way: has Brian Anderson all season? [No]

As for stealing bases, that really seems like something that shouldn’t be a commodity in a player, but rather something that is a given. For years, I’ve been wondering why some of these guys don’t steal bases. And if you give me the, “he’s old,” song and dance, you’re naïve. Look at Paul Konerko. He’s leading the team in stolen bases. Okay, he’s not. But he has 2. He can do it. He’s not slow, he just doesn’t. Doesn't steal, doesn't run. The only man this excuses works for is Toby Hall. [Have you seen him run? Not to sound like a 13-year-old girl sending an instant message to her friends, but "LOL" comes to mind.] Maybe Jim Thome. Certainly not the Joe Crede [That is of course, B.B.- before his back], Juan Uribe, A.J. Pierzynskis. Look at Carlos Quentin. Before his injury sat him down, he had more stolen bases than Dewayne Wise. O.C. did it so much it pissed off the other players. I do not digress. I’m just saying that if Josh Fields comes back next year- God forbid, as a starter, and he is able to steal a base, it is no value added. It’s something he should do.

And you may ask yourself, “Wow, it just sounds like he’s been in pain this year. Why are you so darn mean to poor Josh?” I’m sure he’s a nice young man, worthy of wearing Scott Podsednik’s number and kicking Joe Crede out the door. But then again, I’m also the person who just suggested that Paul Konerko should steal more bases. Here's a deal: if Paul Konerko steals 20 bases next year, I will accept Josh Fields. I will not complain that our team doesn't have Casey Blake or Alex Gordon, and won't even wear my Crede jersey to games as a sign of protest. The ball is in your court, Paul Konerko.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Closet Full of Nothing to Wear

The only metaphor I can use to explain the situation the Sox find themselves in is “a close full of nothing to wear.” Your wife looks at her closet. “I have nothing to wear,” she said, yet the closet is brimming over with clothes. “You have so many clothes that you don’t have any hangers left,” you tell her. “But nothing fits,” she retaliates. Now, replace “clothes” with “players” and “hangers” with “positions,” and you’ve got the White Sox. You’ve got a field full of nothing to play with. What will come of 2009?

It seem the winter of '08 will be much like the winter of '07. [Smells Like Mascot] summed things up nicely then, and sadly, it still applies.

With Orland Cabrera, Juan Uribe, and Joe Crede all on their way to free agency, the infield positions of third base, short stop, and second base are all up in the air. Assuming Alexei Ramirez will be our short stop extraordinaire, who will be our second and third basemen? The first logical step may be to resign our current 2nd and 3rd basemen; that is, rehire Uribe and Crede. Uribe, however, is the infield version of Brian Anderson. Can’t complain about the defense, but he is a sucker for a high fastball with 2 strikes. He isn’t exactly worth the money he will be asking. Alright, our second option. Going down to the farm. Chris Getz. I like this option quite a bit. He seems to be able to steal a base and get on base in general. But then again, that was all in the minors. He could just as well be the next Brian Anderson and go from hitting .300 to .220. Assuming he is major league ready and can handle major league pitching, our problem is solved. There’s a third option of signing someone from another team with a well-placed trade or checking out the free agent market.

Then, there’s Crede. His back is an issue. Who knows why it’s acting up, and more importantly, will it act up again? Will it end a third season for him early? And then there’s the fact that he would cost a pretty penny. And then there is the Legend of Scott Boras, his controversial agent. If Crede doesn’t come back next season (as painful as it is for me to admit that it is a possibility), we must move on to the farm, where Josh Fields has been seething with rage and jealousy, having first to relinquish his “hard-earned” spot to Crede and Uribe. I would rather have Jeff Cox play third base than Fields, but it’s an option. There are also third basemen out there or the taking. Maybe the Royals will be naïve enough to take Fields off our hands in exchange for Alex Gordon. I can’t explain it, I just really like the kid. And since when are the Sox prejudiced against someone with a low average?

As for center field, we have plenty of fielders. (Safely assuming that Quentin and Dye are permanent fixtures for quite some time.) But do we really want any of them? Swisher, Anderson, Wise, even Griffey. Why must other teams be blessed with Grady Sizemore and Carlos Gomez while we must dream of the good days of Rowand? Swisher is, in fact, under contract for another two years or so, but it wasn’t written in stone. Trades happen. As for Brian Anderson, he isn’t a much more accomplished hitter, Dewayne Wise isn’t historically as talented as he’s shown to be this year, and Griffey isn’t just ridiculously expensive, but way over the hill. Perhaps Jerry Owens can play center field, as painful as it may be to watch. Perhaps we can trade all of our options for anyone. Really, anyone at all. I’ll take Edmonds at this point.

Not to mention the pitching. Buehrle, Danks, and Floyd are solid in themselves, but what of Vazquez and Contreras? Mix in Lance Broadway and Clayton Richard, and you have 4 men to fill 2 holes. Theoretically, of course. But Broadway hasn’t had much success against anyone other than the Royals (not that he’s been given a chance), Richard is a strong lefty, but tends to falter after about 4 innings, and then there’s Javi and Grandpa Jo. Jose Contreras probably won’t be pitching for any of the first half. And Javi, while physically fit, is often mentally unfit to handle the ball. So once again, 4 bodies, 2 positions, no desirable candidates.

So there you have it. All these names floating around. Too many contracts, not enough positions. But even if we had 5 positions in the outfield, 4 available spots in the pitching rotation, and enough infield positions to keep Cabrera, Uribe, Crede, Getz Ramirez, and the entire farm system, would their combined talents be enough to add up to a winning team? A roster full of no one to play.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Your 2008 White Sox Yearbook

I figure there’s gotta be a more interesting way to go about wrapping up the season. Clearly, there is much to be said about this year in baseball, but this is the best I could come up with without losing patience.

Cutest Couple: Jose Contreras & Pablo Ozuna. Jose and Pablo were such good friends, that when Ozuna was released, Contreras’ broken heart put him on the D.L. (“Elbow tendonitis”)

Class Clown: Do I even have to say it? Nick Swisher. If he wasn’t personally advertising for Captain Morgan or aiding Toby Hall to pie someone in the face, he was doing his signature “I can’t believe I just struck out” face and head-tilt.

Most Improved: This has to be a tie between Juan Uribe and Paul Konerko. Before going on the D.L., both had dismal numbers. Uribe was at an embarrassing .198 and Konerko was hitting in the lower .200s well into August. With both their jobs on the line, and need to step up, the two did just that and bumped their averages to around the .250 mark.

Most Likely to Succeed: Clearly Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez are viewed as the future of our team. Both just 26, hitting in the .290 range, and the biggest surprises of the season.

Teacher’s pet: Juan Uribe and Dewayne Wise come to mind. Wise was kept on the roster despite raised eyebrows by many [ok, mostly me] and Juan wasn’t traded, reportedly, because of his close relationship to Ozzie. Both proved to be assets, but I feel being in Ozzie’s favor was what really kept them around before the Crede/Quentin injury debacles.

Most Popular: Paul Konerko is certainly still the most popular guy in Chicago. Between the numerous “Konerko” shirts, and “14” jerseys, and the chants of “Paulie, Paulie, Paulie!” every time he’s up at bat, it’s clear to see that Sox fans still support him and appreciate that he has such a great August and September.

Hottie: Clearly, the award goes to Joe Crede. Every year. Because I say so. But, I must say, I’ve taken quite a liking in this department to Lance Broadway. He has the name and the blonde hair to be the team hottie. Now if only he could learn to pitch like the Mighty Gavin Floyd, who is also in here as an honorable mention. Minus those cringe-worthy weeks when he was bald. But, wear your baldness with pride, Gav, for it is a sign of a winner. I feel like I’ve gotten way carried away with this paragraph and I apologize.

Best Hair: Hair deserves its own post. Honestly. From A.J.’s bleach blonde coif to Joe Crede’s hair when it gets too long, to Nick Swisher’s incessant changes in hair style, to Gavin Floyd constantly having to brush his too long hair out of his eyes- only to go bald, to some very amusing pictures of Brian Anderson with long, curly, blonde hair at Sox Fest, and even Carlos Quentin’s Jose Conseco ‘do, this team has a serious hair problem. And not the same problem Paul Konerko is having, these fellas get way too creative.

Coolest Teacher: Do you remember Don Cooper throwing his pitch count clicker and pulling his hamstring? Well, we’re going to make sure no one forgets it. [Check out this video] I can’t forget Swish laughing into his glove at 1st base. And who is that Bat Boy? Wish I could’ve found a better video. This is illegal as it is.

Shiest: TCQ. Apparently a graduate of the Joe Crede School of Publicity, he has nothing to say to the press. Good for you, CQ!

Best Facial Hair: Boone Logan and his black goatee of shame. There are no comments to be made, a picture will suffice. Honorable mention: Juan Uribe’s bleached goatee.

Worst Profile Picture: And I’m not just talking about MySpace. I mean, those embarrassing shots they put on GameDay and Yahoo! Player profiles. A few of my favorites are MacDougal’s, Alexei’s, and Boone Logan’s (again, because it immortalizes the goatee). Even Gavin Floyd looks a bit like a creep in his mug shot.

Worst Temper: You’d think this award would go to AJ or Ozzie without a second thought. But, in light of the “broken wrist” incident, this one is all yours, Carlos. Here’s to Carlos Quentin, who ended his own season by punching a bat (Not a wall, as my favorite muckraker, Joe Cowley would say).

The Baby: John Danks has to win this one. As my dad yelled at the T.V. a few months ago, “Kid? He’s 23! I was married at 23!”

Underrated: Jermaine Dye. Sure, there are times when he’s- to put it plainly- useless in my eyes, but he’s had 34 home runs this year and has come through many times for the team. No, he’s not Carlos Quentin, but he sure as heck isn’t Nick Swisher. Give this man some recognition.

Perfect Attendance: O.C. for the win! Cabrera only missed one game this season. And was only absent-minded in about 3.

Best Dressed: The Best Dressed Award goes to anyone that had to wear those lovely Negro League Day uniforms… Truly, truly terrible.

Most Likely to Have to Repeat a Grade: Josh Fields. His defense at 3rd base is laughable. I believe my exact words were, “someone tell him that the 3rd base coach is there to help the runner, not him with regulation fly balls.” [PS: Josh, you’re welcome about the shaving tips. Really getting that razor in the cleft will make the ladies like you. Well, probably not, but it’ll definitely make you seem less dirty. No one likes boys that look like they have mud on their face. Like I said, you’re welcome.]

Most absences: Unfortunately, the winner is... Joe Crede. Unfortunately, his back is once again a problem and Crede’s season once again had to end early.

Graduating Class of 2008 (We might miss you): Orlando Cabrera, Ken Griffey Junior, perhaps Juan Uribe, and... more to be announced

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks... But You Can Ruin A New One

I was watching the Cubs game with some friends recently, and it just happened to be the record-setting-4-errors-in-one-playoff-game game for the Cubs. Talk shifted from defense of the Cubs to Sox defense, and I overheard suddenly, “Joe Crede and Brian Anderson are the two most overrated drafted White Sox players of, possibly, all time.” As you can imagine, I had a conniption, said something about apples and oranges, and much like a politician, I’ve learned that when all else fails, mention 9/11 2005.

While, I have mentioned Crede and Anderson quite a bit in my blog, my relationship with the two is, indeed, like comparing apples and oranges. I just plain ol’ love Joe Crede. His defense is amazing (plus or minus some questionable error numbers this year), he hits balls with a vengeance, and he really can do no wrong in my eyes. Brian Anderson, on the other hand, is in my good graces simply because I see the reality that Nick Swisher isn’t an asset at bat (99.8% of the times. He’ll occasionally get a home run that’s quite appropriately timed.) or in the field, and I figure BA would do the same job, but run better. And Dewayne “The Rock” Wise has spaghetti arms and looks lost in the outfield. Joe Crede is a man of few words when it comes to the press. So few words, that the gaps he leaves make for a perfect Joe Cowley article. Anderson, on the other hand, not only speaks to the press more than any 4th/5th/6th outfield should, but he finds himself on the bench today because he’s been running his mouth to the press, and everything he says is a Joe Cowley article waiting to happen.

I argued long enough that the point was dropped and everyone admitted that they were nothing alike. But that’s when new things started springing into my mind. What did Crede and Anderson have in common? (Other than both wearing the number 44 at one time while with the Sox.) Both children of the corn, drafted and raised on the White Sox farm. Great defensive skills. Sub-par batting. So I went on this entire tangent of research trying to see if there is, indeed, a connection between growing on the Sox farm and being a great defensive player, but falling short of expectations as a hitter or is it really just these two?


Joe Crede

Brian Anderson

Career AVG with Sox

.257

.221

Minor League Career AVG

.292

.293

Rookie AVG

.299

.388

College AVG

n/a

.275, .366

High School AVG

.559

Tell me if you find it

[Mind you- and I can’t believe this either- I’ve never looked at BA’s minor league numbers before. Color me shocked. This kid was tearing up the farm system before coming to the Sox.]

This is when the article takes a drastic turn, upon the climactic discovery we have just made. Now… overall, these numbers seem to be decreasing as time goes on for both of these fellas- but especially BA. Is this a sign of Greg Walker murdering new talent? Is there something about the Sox organization that develops great defense and poor plate mentality? If this is the case, mark my words Greg Walker, stay away from Chris Getz or I am sending you over to the Cubs!

Now, I’m not saying Greg Walker is to blame. Sure, numbers should drop down when stepping from the Minor League to the big leagues, where pitchers and catchers are better at getting in your head, where you’re a little fish in a much bigger pond. And, if, say, a .030 point drop in average is normal, why is BA’s average so low? Is it because of inconsistent playing time? Is he the white Dewayne Wise? (Who is batting something like .212 in his career, but much closer to .300 this year.) [Does this make BA the white black Ross Gload?] Is he a Cubs player in disguise- seemingly good, but a big choker when it really matters? [Oh, snap!]

So, are Joe Crede and Brian Anderson the most overrated prospects the White Sox have had in, possibly, ever? I’d say no on both accounts, but certainly in different ways. Crede is possibly one of the most underrated. I know, I’m not making sense, but I think that his numbers (especially this year) are average, but his contribution goes beyond numbers. You don’t expect a guy with a .250 AVG to hurt you as badly as Crede will. As for Brian… Well, as he himself would put it… I don’t know, man.

[Image credit]

Monday, October 6, 2008

Gavin Floyd Wears Funny Shirts: Sox - Rays Playoff Game 4

It was nice while it lasted, but the 2008 baseball season is over for the White Sox. It was a tough road and it only got harder as the year went on. The Sox fought- with their paws up like a cat, their belts tightened- to the very end. They made it further than I thought they would, but it’s finally over.
Gavin Floyd took the mound tonight, and unfortunately had trouble locating his pitches. If it was June, that would have been okay, but he barely made it into the middle of the fourth inning. By the time he exited, he was responsible for four runs and another runner on base. He had already thrown 67 pitches and he did strike out four, but as much as it hurt him, it was time for Clayton Richard to come out, and 2 more runs crossed the plate. Dotel came in the 7th, allowed a double, and Thornton came in for cleanup duty. Linebrink closed, but the damage had already been done. Over and over and over.

While the Rays were… damaging left and right, the Sox were once again silent. There were two homers today, of the solo persuasion, coming from PK and Dye, and they were huge. Too bad there were no men on base to make them of any value.

It’s funny how this loss is so much bigger than any other, but the game went down like any other. Little offense on a day when the pitching isn’t perfect.

But don’t think it’s over. I mean… it’s over. But there’s plenty of blogging left! It will be considerably more quiet, but there are things to be said. I’ll be wrapping up the season, looking ahead to 2009, and stay tuned for Crede watch! Trade watch in general.

And remember, if a Cub fan says anything to you, you can tell them, “At least we didn’t get swept- at least we like playing at home!”

Give a round of applause to our 2008 American League Central Winners: Orlando Cabrera, A.J. Pierzynski, Jermaine Dye, Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Ken Griffey Junior, Alexei Ramirez, Juan Uribe, Nick Swisher, Dewayne Wise, Carlos Quentin, Joe Crede, not to mention John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, Javi Vazquez, Matt Thornton, Bobby Jenks, Scott Linebrink, D.J. Carrasco, Ehren Wassermann, Boone Logan, Clayton Richard, Adam Russell, Octavio Dotel, and all the other guys that contributed to the team this entire year.

And I couldn’t end the post without making a nonsensical comment! It’s tradition. Has anyone noticed that Gavin makes some very questionable wardrobe choices? I watch him in interviews, and I just want to ask, “Gavin? Where do you find those shirts?” Because, honestly, even though he didn't hold the Rays to one run or less today, that's still the only fault I can find with him.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

See You Tomorrow: Sox - Rays Playoff Game 3

For all the crying and complaining Garza did today, I can tell you one thing: it was John Danks that did him not, not any of those other distractions he occupied himself with. First, he was chasing a pigeon [Perhaps the Pigeon can be the Rays' version of the Cubs' goat or cat or what have you] around like he was Cerrano (Sorry, Major League II was on TBS yesterday…) then he and the groundskeepers had to work for 10 minutes on making the mound “just right.” He could have had his A game today, but the truth is that the John Danks pitching today wasn’t the John Danks we saw in late August and early September. He is Big Game Johnny. He may get tired after 6 innings, but he has baseballs of steel.

There really was some good pitching from John Danks. Sure, he gave up a 2-run homer to get the Rays within 2 runs of winning, but that wasn’t as much his fault, as it was Ozzie’s for not pulling him out early enough. He was nearing the 100 pitch mark and getting tired. He was throwing more balls and showing signs of fatigue. He was awfully close to getting out unscathed, but it was up to Ozzie to see he needed to go to the ‘pen. Dotel, Thornton, and Jenks finished up the game, picking up their holds and saves. Tomorrow, the Sox’ fate rests once again on the shoulders of youngster Gavin Floyd.

I talk a lot of smack about Dewayne Wise, but I’ll give him this: every now and then, he’s our star player. In fact, he has been our biggest RBI guy this series. [Just goes to figure that I give him a kick-ass nickname (Dewayne "The Rock" Wise) and he runs with it and plays like a kick-ass baseball player. You're welcome. Next on my list of unexpected players to become MVP after receiving a kick-ass nickname... well, just stay tuned. But BA is giving me a run for my money in the nickname department. He nick-named Wise the African American Ross Gload. Like I said, BA & I are blogging together this post season. It's like we're sharing a brain...] Today, he got a 2-RBI double down the left field line, scoring a couple in a great 4th-inning rally. The Sox made 7 hits and 5 walks into 5 runs. Paired with some good base running by Wise, Anderson, and even a stolen base by Uribe (although he didn’t manage to score…), the Sox out-ran the Rays. With no home runs. The last home run the Sox scored was Konerko’s 9th inning solo shot in Game 1 of this series. The Sox are going back to basics, and running aggressively, and it has worked today.

So, the Sox stay alive for one more day. I would feel much better about tomorrow had they won at least one game in the Cow Pen down in Tampa, but I still take pride going into tomorrow’s game in seeing that our team was not swept (especially at home) and that we certainly haven’t choked and made infield error after infield error, hurting our hard-working pitchers like our Northside counterparts. The comparisons that were made between the two teams are quite ludicrous. From comparing Ronnie Woo-Woo to Sox Man (Excuse me, but Sox Man happens to be a very intelligent guy that writes for the papers and is a Super Fan, rather than a noise maker that distracts the fans from another loss. [True story: there were guys at a Cubs game that I attended asking for his autograph. I’m certain Sox fans would have been too busy watching the game.]), to comparing their fans in general, to comparing their hot-tempered managers, the conclusion is simply drawn from their post-season efforts. While the Cubs couldn’t keep from being swept by another National League team, the Sox- or rather, a patched up version of what Ozzie and Kenny envisioned as their playoff team- continue relentlessly against the best teams in all of baseball.

Friday, October 3, 2008

They Gotta Have Less Cowbell: Sox - Rays Playoff Game 2

Every time the Sox play in Tropicana Field, the first thought that goes through my head is, “I have a fever. And the only prescription is more cowbell.” Well, I think the Sox are sick of cowbells and everything associated with Tropicana Field in general.

What do 12 hits (4 of which belonged to Dye), 2 walks and a grand total of 12 left on base tell you about a team? Would you say they’re not hitting well? They’re not running well? I would say the thing wrong with this picture is the lineup. OC, Swisher, Dye, Konerko, Thome, Ramirez, Pierzynski, Uribe, Anderson. In that order. There were plenty of hits with 2 outs, there were plenty of hits in general, enough bases taken and enough situations where the bases were loaded. The only problem was that the Sox couldn’t make a long ball happen and that the hits didn’t happen in the right sequence. It was like Minnesota, with Wise hitting in the lead-off spot. Except this time, instead of one player that wasn’t getting it done, Ozzie had penciled Nick Swisher in the lineup twice- In the 2 spot and in the 9 spot. Okay, so it wasn’t Nick Swisher; it was Nick Swisher and Brian Anderson, but aside from range in CF, they’re the same person- especially since they made Swish bat righty (which he happens to be even worse at). First you don’t play him, then you play him twice… excuse me if I don’t exactly understand your logic here, Oz.

As for the pitching, Mark Buehrle pitched 7 innings and a bit before handing the reins to Dotel and Thornton. He earned most of his runs, but suffered a bit because of Alexei’s error and some unfortunate plays that Uribe couldn’t get to. Who knows what would have happened if the double play would have been turned, and if the three outfielders giving that fly ball a stare-down would have made a call. Come on, Edmonds! Honestly, those Rays guys are just good hitters. They know how to find the gaps, they make contact. They’re not spectacular, they just get the job done.

So far, the Sox are 0-2 in the series with 3 games to go. Of which they must win all three in order to advance. This sounds a whole lot like last week. On the bright side, unlike our Northside counterparts, we’re playing the next 2 games at home, which gives the Sox that certain intangible advantage that The Cell provides. On the dim side (wouldn’t that be the opposite of the bright side?), we’re still playing the Rays, and they won’t make it easy on us. In fact, if/after we make it past the Rays, we are still headed for a meeting with the Red Sox or the Angels. No premature poultry enumeration here.

But back to my original ramblings, about Nick Swisher and Brian Anderson. I know I like to beat a dead horse over the head with this subject and talk in circles and say the same thing, but Kenny Williams was recently quoted as saying there is something mechanically wrong with Swish’s swing and they would have to wait until the post-season to fix it. I think Swish is digging himself into a hole. He goes from one extreme to the next, either swinging and missing or striking out looking. Two words for him: base hit. His goal every time he is at bat should be to get a single. And I’m sure he’s been told to stop swinging for the fences, to stop striking out looking… he doesn’t know what to do with himself. And the same is coming true for Brian Anderson. Like I said… you’re putting the same guy in the lineup twice.

Speaking of Brian, he took some time out of his busy schedule for some [Q & Anderson.] And, Brian… please don’t grow your hair out again. That only works if you’re name is Joe Crede and you’re doing it because you’re too busy winning to get a haircut (see 2005). And while I’m putting up links to things, you may or may not be amused to find out [Jim Thome hates America.]

Tomorrow, the Sox have an off day, and on Sunday, John Danks is taking on the Rays at home. The Sox are calling for a rolling blackout, hoping to have another couple of successful games at home and stay in the series.

Blogging with Brian: Sox - Rays Playoff Game 1

Brian Anderson could take my job. He really could. Check out his [Postseason Blog.] I should leave all the blogging up to him. Well, maybe not. Although he seems to be a good speller and knows his they’re/theirs, he needs to work on his stories. But I did enjoy, “Quit timing it, Edmonds.” (Also, did you know B.A. has so many friends, he would make us feel bad by mentioning numbers? I love this kid, but he’s 12.) There is one particular lady who had a burning question for Brian. She wanted to know who [this fella] was because she had caught him [shirtless]. To answer your question, dear, it was Lance Broadway. You’re welcome. And how dare you think he’s Josh Fields! But I digress. Much like me, he’s telling the tale of the offseason.

Today was Game 1. The Sox took on the Rays with Javi on the mound. Long story short, Clayton Richard is a great pitcher. After a few painful innings of hit after hit and 2 solo home runs off the bat of Evan Longoria, it was time for Javi to grab some bench. Javi earned 6 runs despite striking out 6. But if you’re really looking for staggering numbers, how about 5 back to back strikeouts? From someone that isn’t Matt Thornton. In fact, his name is Clayton Richard, the most wide-shouldered man in the MLB. He eventually walked 2 and gave up some hits, but pitched 3.1 effortless innings otherwise. And he did it all with the same strategy. Fastball on the outside corners to the lefties, fastball inside to the righties. And I don’t think he threw any pitches over 90. Maybe this guy should’ve started for us.

As for the offense, the Rays allowed 3 runs early in the game. But the way the points were earned… not exactly an ideal situation. A 3-run homer by Dewayne Wise. The Rock is at it again. And not much else from the Sox until Paul Konerko hit a solo home run in the very top of the 9th. I hope the bats get cracking during the rest of the series, lest the Sox want to end up like their counterparts on the north side.

As for OC, whose mouth is bigger than Swisher’s Contribution to the team (way, way, way bigger), word to the wise: do not start a fight with another MLB player; odds are you’re shorter than him. (Unless we’re talking Dennis Reyes of the Twins.)

Tomorrow, it’s Buehrle’s turn. Buehrle has the big game experience and he’s proven he can be our ace. He will be facing Kazmir looking to split the series before heading back to The Cell.

And, last, the Sox get no respect. Wouldn't it be nice if [The Sox Won it All]?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Get Your Forks, Let's Eat Some Pie!

It was before the trade deadline of August 1st that Ozzie Guillen was quoted as saying that he told Kenny Williams, “I can win a World Series with this team.” Ozzie had a team assembled of sluggers, clutch performers, amazing fielders, and impeccable pitching. That was before the trade deadline. Maybe way before the trade deadline, before Ozzie was faced with the reality that he would be forced into the rest of the season with an entirely different team.

That is, without Joe Crede, Jose Contreras, without the bat of a struggling Paul Konerko, and without breakout star Carlos Quentin. Now Contreras is out for the year and Crede and Quentin have put on their cheerleading uniforms in the absence of any other options. Could Ozzie win a World Series with this team? Without Jose Contreras, Ozzie had to rely on new talent to take over the position of the 5th starter. Left-handed Clayton Richard was plucked from the Charlotte farm. He and Lance Broadway, and a few days off helped fill the time during Contreras’ days to pitch. Paul Konerko was brought back to life after a trade-deadline deal brought veteran Ken Griffey Junior to the team, but adding Ken Griffey added to the ambiguity of the outfield and caused confusion over which would be the odd man out: Konerko, Swisher, or Griffey? Joe Crede, much like last year, ended his season early due to back problems. While Crede insisted the situation was different, the cold fact remained that the Sox were without Joe Clutch, and would have to settle for Joe Crutch: Juan Uribe. As for Carlos Quentin’s broken wrist, it left behind a patchy outfield. Dewayne Wise, Nick Swisher, Brian Anderson, Jerry Owens, and of course, Ken Griffey Junior all were in the mix looking to fill the remaining spots in left and center field. While defensively, the clear choice was Anderson and whoever else, the real struggle was finding a way to compensate for the absence of Quentin’s power and clutch hitting abilities at the plate.

So, can Ozzie win a World Series with this team? All signs point to… maybe. The Sox starting pitchers have proven themselves capable of big game wins, even on short rest- at least Floyd, Danks, and Buehrle have. Javi Vazquez has yet to show the Sox an ace ability during the last crucial games of the season. If he can perform for the Sox during the offseason and Danks can remain consistent, Ozzie’s team can win. If Ozzie can figure out a winning formula in the outfield that can provide satisfactory hitting without compromising defense [See inside the park home run], the team can win. How about the lack of Joe Crede? Don’t we remember what he did in the 2005 offseason? Only too well. It’s exactly what he did against the Twins this year. He’s a human highlight reel, and everyone knows I won’t sleep for a month or two when he is not with our team anymore. But, Juan Uribe has been trying hard enough over at third base to make the pain easier. As long as Josh Fields doesn’t get any starts, and Uribe gets the occasional hit, the Sox should still have enough power in their lineup to win. It’s doable.

The actual odds? Well, expect a long road. Javi is set to pitch the first game, but the Sox are playing it safe and keeping Floyd in the ‘pen for the first two games and holding out on his start until game 4. The first pitcher the Sox are facing, Shields of the Rays, has a 3.56 ERA, and is 14-8 for the season. (He also played with Jerry Owens, which I guess was important enough to put in his bio.) Seems like a tough cookie. He will be followed up with Kazmir who we’ve seen quite a lot. The Sox will send out Buehrle. Then, back home for homefield advantage. The next Rays pitcher will be Garza. Against Danks. It doesn’t get any easier from here, but this is October baseball.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Your 2008 AL Central Divison Champs, the White Sox

It took 163 games, but only one home run to decide the faith of the 2008 American League Central.

Who saw John Danks' brilliant performance coming? He took a no-hitter into the 5th, and pitched 8 full, scoreless innings with just 2 hits for the White Sox in a high-pressure situation. J.D. did it all on 3 days' rest, and finished off the regular season with the lowest ERA of all White Sox Starters.

Bobby Jenks came in the 9th to keep the score 1-0. A strikeout and a groundout had the Sox one out away from the Division win. All it took was a diving catch by defensive substitution Brian Anderson to end the game! SOX WIN!

Jim Thome scored the only run on a solo home run- a dead-center, monster shot over the head of Carlos Gomez. Although the Sox couldn't capitalize on all other hits and walks, thanks to some flawless pitching, it was enough to keep the Sox in the lead.

Just as the White Sox planned it. They won the division. They sent the Twinkies home with their tails between their legs despite strong outings by both Blackburn and Nathan.

Yes, just like we planned it. [Pale Hose 8's Juan Uribe]

Hitting the Ball in Outer Space

It has been rumored that Carlos Quentin’s superhero powers come from a very strong alliance of other superheroes. The nature of his birth has recently been discovered. In the most potent high-five in history, Superman and Chuck Norris’s energies collided and, much like the big bang, creation occurred. From the explosion of their high five were born Quentin and his fraternal twin Alexei Ramirez. Of this explosion, there is rumored to be a third brother, Gavin Floyd, whose powers are so great, he can only be unleashed every 5 days (4, if he has to go on short rest).

Needless to say, I haven’t slept since the Sunday before we started our series against Minnesota. For the first time in over a week, I couldn’t sleep last night because I was excited. During the past 15 hours (If I was to guesstimate), I was followed by White Sox talk wherever I went. “He pitched on 3 days’ rest. Isn’t that crazy?” “His fourth Grand Slam! That’s a rookie record!” It’s been a crazy ride so far, and yesterday just summed it all up nicely.

First, there was Gavin Floyd. I really have no words for how much respect I have for him. Honestly, I don’t want to put the jinx on him, but he had another one of those Gavin Floyd days. He had one earned run for the night, allowing 2 to cross home plate over 6 innings, and striking out 8. There was a moment in the 6th where he airmailed a ball he bobbled on a swinging bunt when a runner scored. He was so upset with himself I thought we (Gavin & I both) would fall over. Ozzie came to the mound. I was thinking he would pull him because there’s no way he would compose himself after that. I think my heart was still palpitating from that play well into the night. Gavin must’ve said something along the lines of, “Everyone chillax, I got this!” he got a “keep going” pat from Ozzie and he, in fact, got it together. He threw 118 pitches over 6 innings on 3 days’ rest. When does MVP talk start about this guy?

Well, how about when he picks up his 17th win? With a little help from Alexei, Gavin did just that in the most important game so far. And by a little help, I mean, Alexei Ramirez hit his 4th grand slam of the season. [Off the same bullpen that gave "The Rock" Wise a grand slam just a few weeks ago.] Gotta love that little guy! Hopefully, his fiery kablam-o will give the Sox enough momentum to juggernaut their way through a last do or die game against the Twinkies. I have a feeling that a Sox win will boost Twinkie/Champagne sales in the Chicagoland area. Diehard Sox fans will saturate the Twinkies in champagne and feast on the delicious treat the same way the Sox will devour them tonight, if all goes according to plan. May I remind you that the last time the Twinks came to town, Joe Crede was declared AL co-player of the Week, after homering twice on 2 consecutive days, to make it 5 homers in 3 days, a zillion RBI, went 4-for-4... and overall helped sweep the Twins so that the Sox could pull ahead to something like a 6-game divisional lead. Nothing would make me happier than a second helping of that!

As for the actual odds, we are leaning on John Danks on 3 days rest as a pitcher. We are playing a team whose record (home and away) is identical to ours, and anything could happen. Thankfully, the Sox will take the Twinks on at home, where the stadium is sold out- it was sold out within an hour. The Sox have called for a “blackout,” a game where everyone will show Sox solidarity by wearing all black and will distribute black rally towels to all entering the stadium. The energy should be electric as the Sox attempt to win the AL Central Division.

As for odds and ends, I found this video recently. (EDIT: Props to Jeeves @ Life in the Cell. He found it first.) This pretty much sums up exactly how I feel about Swish. I’ll post it below.


See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sox Lose Losing Streak

I apologize if you were looking for words of comfort or wisdom in the hard times that we find ourselves in. And I’m not just talking about the economy, I am talking about the state of the Sox. After a few failed tries and several false starts, I decided to give up, for I couldn’t bring myself to update, or write anything that wasn’t saturated in disdain, sarcasm, and mean comments about Joe Cowley. How [Jim] kept the blog going I’ll never know. That’s bravery; reliving the pain of the game in the struggle for a post.

There are plenty of people that have said baseball is fun, and it’s going to be a fun race to the end. Well, I personally don’t believe in the fun of hanging by the skin of your teeth. In fact, it’s been the opposite of fun watching a team that was in first place for so long fail to capture at least one key victory. To give Kenny Williams’s psychic credit, I remember that even awhile ago, Joe Crede was saying it’ll be an interesting race to watch, and the A.L. Central will go down to the wire. As Mark Buehrle said today, everyone thought it would be down to the last few days, not down to the last day. Yet, here we are. The Sox managed to end their 5-game losing streak, and fought against the Indians with a vengeance after failing to capitalize on 2 consecutive Twin losses during the previous days.

Going into tomorrow- the 162nd game of the season, the Sox are trailing Minnesota by a half of a game. If the Sox win tomorrow, they will be tied for first place and will have to face Minnesota, at home, in a one-game, winner-takes-all division showdown. The Sox are down to their last bullet, and they better use it to shoot some big game- of the Detroit species.

As far as pitching goes, tomorrow’s matchup is ironic in that Gavin Floyd and Freddy Garcia were trade for each other. Now, in the ultimate face-off, they will try to out-pitch each other. For the last game against Minnesota, the scheduled pitcher must be Danks, since Javi pitched yesterday (not that he would be the man for the job anyway, after throwing in the towel after 4 innings), Buehrle was on the mound today, and Floyd is scheduled for tomorrow. Surely, we can’t trust this big game in Clayton Richard’s hands. Of course, Danks’s last outing was anything but watchable.

As for odds, I can’t tell you how good they are. I thought the odds were pretty good in that the Sox would take at least one game from Minnesota, but I was sorely mistaken. Sure, it was possible for the Twins to sweep the Sox, but did I think it would happen? Certainly not.

Perhaps this is all a ploy sponsored by Tums, Pepto Bismol, and blood pressure medication to get fans as close to a heart attack as possible in order to gain more revenue. Maybe the Sox are doing this on purpose- just Nick Swisher playing a trick on us (kind of like acquiring Griffey. Or Swish for the matter). There must be an ace (we can only hope Gavin Floyd continues to be an ace) up their sleeves, or they have been losing on purpose. Crede & Quentin aren’t really injured! They’re just trying to surprise us. Yes, yes, the joke will be on us when all of a sudden Boone Logan shows up (maybe with his scary beard) and strikes out the only three guys he faces. Ha-ha, White Sox. Ha ha.

Alright, but, really, let's look on the bright side, so that we can sleep tonight:

PK is on a tear again. He had a little dip- but then again, it's been awhile since the Sox overall won a game, so he's not the only one. The man homered in 3 straight games against the Indians, knee injury, knee shminjury.

JD looks alive again. Maybe all he needed was to spend some quality time in the outfield with Brian Anderson.

We have homefield advantage. As a general rule, the Sox perform better at home. You can't have the homerun without "home."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's Not Over Till It's Over: Sox - Twins Game 2

In case after last night's 3-2 loss [and reduction of our division lead to just 0.5 games] to the Twinkies you pushed the panic button, threw away you Sox jersey, or set afire your signed Paul Konerko baseball card, I’m going to do my best to restore your confidence in the Sox.

After yesterday’s game, you might find it hard- hell, I’m sure I’m going to raise an eyebrow at my own writing, too, but what the heck? Let’s give it a try.

First of all, despite only scoring two runs, yesterday was a very very successful game in terms of clutch hitting. And hitting in general. The Sox got themselves 9 hits and 3 walks, and got many of them with 2 outs. Unfortunately, nothing from Wise and Konerko, or even Dye. The problem was clearly that “The Rock” Wise did all the hitting he could last week, and he’s just running on fumes so he’s been a black hole in the lineup this series. Playing him in the leadoff spot was wildly unsuccessful, so by the time it was OC’s turn or AJ’s turn or even Alexei (all of whom went two for four) to bat, someone had already done them in and there was already one out too many. If there are already 2 outs, a sac fly is just a regular out. But back to my point. Good, solid hitting.

Griffert- despite being as painful as a wisdom tooth removal in CF has been the only one picking up RBIs this series. He has 5, including two homers (last night’s having been a monster blast that even I was impressed by) of the solo persuasion.

Not just that, but Buehrle is still in good shape. After a scary 3 innings or so, he settled down and pitched a total of 7 innings of nothing but outs the rest of the way. And let me tell you what else. Linebrink must be feeling well, because he looked good on the mound.

And, really, the only reason we lost was because that call was totally off and Cabrera DID tag out Carlos Gomez. After all, Carlos Gomez is the fastest man on Earth. Daggunit! Or, at least, if you believe everything the Hawk says.

See? That was plenty of good stuff. And just to make everyone feel better, I’m going to post lots of cheer-up links for you.

For a less worthy, and even amusing recap of Don Guillote’s battles in the Hump Done, there are [Pale Hose 8’s Slowest Defense EVER] [Pale Hose 8’s Put a Fork In ‘Em]. I was more than amused to see a parody of [Ozzie Guillen on MadTV]. The impression was so dead-on, it almost made me forget that I wanted to take his job during this series. And, finally, because it’s appropriate, and just because I miss Joe Crede in the lineup, [Don’t Stop Believin’].

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dome Disaster: Sox - Twins Game 1

You might be asking yourself, “Wow! How did you make it through that whole game?” I still can’t tell you. I was being sent a message: WCIU game. You can’t watch it. Griffey in CF. Twins. But, I put my heart on the line and watched anyway. Well… not “watched” as much as was too paralyzed in horror to turn the game off. You might also read forums (I know. Can’t stay away. Like asking me not to watch Boone Logan pitch. I have to see how he does it this time! What else does he have up his sleeve?) and think, “Well, which one turned out to be the bigger problem? The outfield or the pitching?” If you want a clear answer, it’s “I don’t know.” They both did us in.

First of all, there was Javi. Ozzie grabbed him by the balls, announced to the media that he had none, and he couldn’t pitch in a game that counted. And what did Javi do to prove him wrong? Absolutely nothing. He decided to forget about the “one good game, one bad game” deal he had going and instead go “one good inning, one terrible inning,” with the amount of terrible escalating.

And the outfield was spectubular. Wise and Dye’s effectiveness was, as usual, mediocre minus Griffey’s slack. Griffey tried for a diving catch- with no intents of catching the ball, I’m sure. He just wanted to seem as if he was trying. [I’m sure he’ll be feeling some general soreness tomorrow] He had a better chance of catching it standing up. In fact, if he didn’t dive for that ball, and his name was Brian Anderson instead, I’m sure that wouldn’t have happened at all. Instead, our outfielders combined to allow 2 doubles and a lead-off triple. They must have kept Griffert in the game because Kenny’s psychic told him about the 2-run homer he would have in the 9th. No matter that it still left the Sox 6 runs short, he passed Sammy Sosa! Touche, Kenny Williams. Oh, and there was the RBI GIDP he had in the second inning. Sort of an oxymoron there. Hell, a sacrificed fly would have done. His relentless grounding out to first base and one walk per game do not add value. Put in Jerry Owens if you refuse to let the big-eared one play. But in playing Griffey, you’re really trading strikeout Swisher for groundout Swisher. (Because fly out Swisher doesn’t exist anymore. I’m certain he was told that he wasn’t allowed to hit any more home runs for the rest of the year at the expense of them taking his hair clippers away or something AWESOME like that.) By the 7th inning, I thought there was a misprint on gameday, because there was no way that Griffert was still in CF.

Okay, that’s enough Griffey complaints. There were 6 hits and 3 walks, so everyone else was just as much to blame. The pitcher and my strike zone didn’t match. That little Baker kid pitching for the Twins had the batters’ numbers. And the Twinkies had Javi’s. And Clayton’s. And certainly Boone Logan’s. Not to mention that I had to listen to the Twins’ announcers, who were not aware of the invention of the word “well.” Everything was, “good.” It was certainly good for the Twins’ morale to win 9-2 and shrink the division lead back to 1.5 games.