This is one in a series of posts that will call out all 30 teams for their wily offseason moves and tragic offseason blunders.
Coming off their championship season in 2005, the Chicago White Sox gave fans hope of a repeat by bolstering their line-up with the addition of DH/1B Jim Thome. It’s now 2007 and ever since that controversial trade (it shipped fan fave Aaron Rowand to the city of brotherly love), the Sox haven’t signed or traded for a big name player.
Don’t let the fact that GM Kenny Williams didn’t bring in any more big name talent deceive you, though; Williams is the master of “flying under the radar” negotiations and has proven a player in many a blockbuster trade before.
Yet, the consensus in White Sox land is that this off-season was more about soul searching than free-agent signing. Last season saw a Chicago team high in expectations fall short of the playoffs if only because the “little things” weren’t executed according to plan.
Don’t forget that this winter teams have been unloading truck-loads of cash for unproven free agents. Kenny Williams is not the kind of GM that’ll throw money around.
With the resigning of 3B Joe Crede, the last arbitration-eligible player, to a one-year, $4.94 million deal, Williams secured his line-up and rotation through at least 2008. But by trading away two key starters in Freddy Garcia and Brandon McCarthy and by not upgrading the LF and/or CF positions, Williams and the Sox provided more question marks than answers, making 2007 a toss-up.
Garcia’s departure was foreseen last year — the man himself told reporters he expected to be traded — but McCarthy’s trade confounded fans if only because when “The Chief” was sent away, everyone and their mother assumed McCarthy’s moment in the rotation had finally arrived.
Williams acquired lefty John Danks, a top prospect in the Ranger’s system, for McCarthy, but as many in the Sox blogosphere felt, the Sox gave up unproven talent for more unproven, albeit younger, talent.
Of note are SS Juan Uribe’s legal woes in his native Dominican Republic. Uribe was accused, along with his brother and a friend, of shooting two individuals, one of which is an Italian Navy officer (he declined to press charges). Uribe was supposed to be in the clear for lack of evidence linking him to the shooting, but a judge ordered him to present himself to authorities every two weeks until the case is resolved, possibly hampering his ability to play this season.
Arguably, the lone positive in the ChiSox off-season was the beefing-up of their bullpen. By resigning Mike MacDougal, reacquiring Gio Gonzalez (in the Garcia trade), and trading for David Ardsma and Andrew Sisco, Williams solidified an already strong Sox Pen anchored by set-up men Matt Thornton, knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, and closer Bobby Jenks.
White Sox LF Scott Podsednik injured his groin and underwent surgery last Tuesday. The Sun-Times reports the Sox are close to signing Darin Erstad, the veteran OF/1B, who was non-tendered by the Angels.
This totally shakes up the Sox off-season (some may say for the better) but in the interest of grading the moves, or lack-there-of, I have to drop that D to an F.
Williams inability/indecision to upgrade at LF has come back to bite him in the B-hind (as Hawk would say) and though Erstad is a better hitter than Podsednik, that still leaves Mr. Anderson in limbo as he’ll probably shift over to LF, letting Darin patrol Center.
Ozzie sez Iguchi will bat leadoff.
BTW, Erstad could’ve come to the Sox a few years ago, had the ownership in Anaheim not vetoed a proposed trade, which included SP Jon Garland and Chris Singleton – both of which, still work for the Sox (Singleton does Radio commentary).
Gavin Floyd, John Danks, Gio Gonzalez, David Aardsma, Carlos Vasquez, Nick Masset, Andrew Sisco, Toby Hall, Nick Masset and Jacob Rasner. Darin Erstad?
Freddy Garcia, Brandon McCarthy, Sandy Alomar Jr., Neal Cotts, Ross Gload, Dustin Hermanson, Christ Stweart.
Projected Lineup, Rotation, and Closer
LF Scott Podsednik .261/.330/.353 40 SB
2B Tadahito Iguchi .281/352./422 18 HR
CF Darin Erstad?
RF Jermaine Dye .315/.385/.622 120 RBI
DH Jim Thome .288/.416/.598 42 HR
1B Paul Konerko .313/.381/.551 113 RBI
C A.J. Pierzynksi .295/.333/.436 16 HR
3B Joe Crede .283/.323/.506 30 HR
SS Juan Uribe .235/.257/.441 71 RBI
CF LF Brian Anderson .225/.290/.359 30 RBI
SP Jose Contreras 13-9, 4.27
SP Mark Buehrle 12-13, 4.99
SP John Garland 18-7, 4.51
SP Javier Vasquez 11-12, 4.84
SP Gavin Floyd 4-3, 7.29
CL Bobby Jenks 41 S, 4.00