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.]