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General

Thanks to Peavy, Sox should stand pat

Though we had dreams of Daniel Hudson staking a black-and-white flag on Dallas Braden’s mound at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Sunday, he ended up making an entirely different kind of statement with his disappointing performance in the White Sox’s 6-4 loss.

Simply put, it was, “Trades probably aren’t going to help.”

Lest I sound overdramatic, that’s not to say I think the White Sox are leaking oil.  They’re just settling into the .500 groove they’ve avoided all season, first by starting the season 24-33 and then shooting to 50-38.  At the beginning of this season, “.500ish” was a generally agreed-upon descriptor for this pitching-heavy, hitting-thin squad.

The problem is something chisoxt touched upon in the last discussion — Jake Peavy’s injury has dramatically reduced the pitching options, and when it comes to the offense, the options were never really there in the first place.

Kenny Williams could probably improve the offense by dialing the wrong number. It’s not hard to find better hitters than Mandruw Kojones, and if he can find a slugger placed curbside like the Dodgers happened upon Jim Thome last year, there shouldn’t be anything stopping him. Considering the state of the economy and what the Diamondbacks received for Dan Haren, there may be a few amnesty days for teams down the road.

But making a concerted effort and giving up genuinely interesting prospects for an Adam Dunn or Prince Fielder — or even Luke Scott and Adam LaRoche — seems short-sighted, if not completely ineffective.

It’s not that the White Sox are fine without a trade as Ozzie Guillen or Paul Konerko would suggest.  It’s just that there is no longer one cure-all (or cure-most) for their ills, as there was in those heady Healthy Peavy days.

There’s a sizable list of sizable problems that picking up Lefty Q. Hitter wouldn’t address, including:

The pitching staff: I don’t think it’s right to make too much of Freddy Garcia’s four-out start on Saturday.  His stuff is such that he’s going to look horrendous when he’s merely bad.  It’s not wrong to be aware of the possibility, as he’s in unfamiliar territory since crossing the 100-innings barrier.  Throw Hudson’s problems on top of it, and it’s a similar situation to the first half of last season, when Jose Contreras and Bartolo Colon brought up the rear of the rotation. Emphasis on “rear” in Colon’s case.

On top of that, any attempt to circumvent the fifth spot means Mark Buehrle will have to pitch more in August. Historically, that’s been a month unkind to Buehrle.


W-L ERA IP H HR BB K
2006 2-2 4.34 37.1 42 8 8 23
2007 1-3 5.06 37.1 38 3 12 20
2008 3-2 5.86 35.1 51 5 7 27
2009 0-3 5.54 37.1 57 8 8 10
Total 6-10 5.19 147.1 188 24 35 80

Investing in a bat would require Buehrle to pitch like Mark Buehrle in a month when he’s usually Jose Contreras. With Peavy, the Sox could absorb Buehrle’s annual malaise. Now, it’s basically up to Buehrle to keep a good rotation from being a liability. And if the rotation is a liability, they’re dooooomed.

Juan Pierre: Probably because we’re all resigned to the fate that he’s Leadoff Hitter for Life, little has been made of the fact that Teflon Juan is hitting .195/.283/.220 since the All-Star break.  Also, because he’s apparently a .300 Hitter for Life, little has been made of Juan Pierre’s monthly batting averages:

  • April: .193
  • May: .286
  • June: .257
  • July: 253

I don’t know if Pierre’s done, but considering he’s based his entire offensive game around a high batting average, it’s a problem that can’t be ignored. And speaking of possibly done…

A.J. Pierzynski: Fun fact: Pierzynski’s OBP hasn’t been over .290 since he stepped into the batter’s box for the third time in a game against the Indians on April 8. Any momentum from his quality June (.317/.349/.463) has been sapped by a poor July (.186/.226/.322).

Carlos Quentin: Quentin is 2-for-18 so far this second half, which isn’t necessarily telling with the way he runs hot and cold. His health is the bigger issue, as a lefty bat would force him to play the field basically every day, and one wrong step could force Mandruw Kojones to be everyday people. The kind you won’t love.

Them’s a lot of problems for one guy to solve — especially if said guy isn’t going to be around next year. These problems will likely follow the Sox into 2011, and they’d theoretically find themselves in the same situation all over again.

Trace this back to February, and this is what was wrought when the Sox bypassed Jim Thome.  Williams and Ozzie Guillen put together an offense whose sole virtue, if everything broke right, was a lack of holes.  Obviously that hasn’t happened, and while one big bat might be able to cover up a leak in the lineup, it can’t do anything for the one that has sprung in the rotation.

Now, if another team needs to shed a couple million, the Sox should open the wallet. Alas, the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins have similar needs, so that lessens the chances of Williams getting lucky on the waiver wire.  This is the hand he’s dealt himself. It might make for a frustrating final two months, but the Sox gotta dance with who they came to the dance with.

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Regarding Hudson, this post got a little too long to launch into another screed, so expect a post later this afternoon.

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Minor league roundup:

  • Charlotte 3, Indianapolis 2
    • Alejandro De Aza went 2-for-4, but was caught stealing.
    • Brent Morel was 1-for-4.
    • Lucas Harrell was solid, allowing two runs on six hits over six innings, with no walks and two strikeouts.
  • Birmingham 4, West Tenn 1
    • Charles Leesman threw six shutout innings. Better yet? No walks. He allowed four hits while striking out three.
    • Kyle Bellamy allowed a run on two hits and two walks over an inning, with a strikeout.
  • Potomac 13, Winston-Salem 3
    • Terry Doyle allowed a run on six hits and four walks over six innings, striking out four.
    • Jon Gilmore was 0-for-2 with a walk and an HBP.
    • Brandon Short went 1-for-4, Jose Martinez 0-for-4.
  • Kannapolis 2, Asheville 0
    • The Intimidators faced the minimum, with Ryan Buch allowing just a single over seven innings, striking out five. Here’s a story on it.
    • Kyle Colligan, Nick Ciolli and Brady Shoemaker were all 1-for-4.
    • Tyler Saladino walked and struck out three times.
    • Miguel Gonzalez was hitless, striking out once over three ABs; Juan Silverio doubled.
  • Pulaski 5, Bristol 1
    • Rangel Ravelo was 2-for-4; the rest of the lineup was limited to three singles.
  • Great Falls 8, Idaho Falls 7
    • Steven Upchurch survived, allowing two runs on eight hits and two walks over five innings, striking out two.
    • Ross Wilson singled twice, walked and struck out twice.

Discussion

19 Responses to “Thanks to Peavy, Sox should stand pat”

  1. We all knew the Sox weren’t going to play .650 ball for the rest of the season, so a .500 rut seems kind of natural. What amazes me is how bad the Tigers & Twins are playing. This could be a three horse race the rest of the season with the winner being the nag that doesn’t break all his legs.

    Posted by soxfan1 | July 26, 2010, 9:42 am
  2. There’s a tier below LaRoche and Scott with a lower price tag. Guys who would cost one bullpen arm or a C-grade prospect and would probably be an offensive upgrade:

    Lyle Overbay
    Dan Johnson
    Mike Hessman
    Mike Lowell
    Jorge Cantu
    Brad Hawpe

    Posted by bigfun | July 26, 2010, 10:17 am
    • If the price is nothing big:

      Yes
      No
      No
      Maybe (will he even pass a physical?)
      Yes
      Yes

      Posted by Jim Margalus | July 26, 2010, 1:17 pm
      • Not a fan of AAAA guys I take it. I mention them primarily because you could get them for a PTBNL or cash.

        Lowell is rehabbing in the minors and could probably pass a physical. The Tigers might want him more. But the White Sox might be more appealing for him as he could DH more and preserve his health.

        Posted by bigfun | July 26, 2010, 1:44 pm
  3. Jim, all the points you make seem to indicate to me we do need to make a trade.

    The best I can come up with would be some deal with baltimore involving Luke Scott and Jeremy Guthrie, that would give us another starter capable of holding the fort down on the backend and a lefty bat that gets Mark Kotsays ass off the damn field. Wouldnt they want guys like Viciedo, Flowers, Torres… or some of the younger arms in the system, I mean that team is going nowhere and its hard to imagine scott or guthrie being too important to their future.

    With injuries piling up in the AL Central just a couple reinforments could decide this thing so I find it hard to believe Kenny Williams isnt going to make something happen.

    Posted by knoxfire30 | July 26, 2010, 10:27 am
    • Guthrie’s pretty bad though, he strikes out less than 5 per 9. I would just as soon call up Torres.

      Posted by bigfun | July 26, 2010, 10:40 am
      • durable arm, 4.50 era, playing hard on a terrible team… i like him

        thats basically just a dependable back of the rotation guy, hudson doesnt seem to be handling the pressure well, torres isnt the answer… we dont seem to have the pieces to make a big move but scott and guthrie might be enough

        Posted by knoxfire30 | July 26, 2010, 11:19 am
        • Hudson’s just walking too many guys – that’s an easier fix than not being a very good pitcher. Guthrie’s all right, but I’d prefer seeing Hudson out there over him. But if he’s an insurance policy for Garcia, then absolutely.

          Posted by Shinons | July 26, 2010, 11:54 am
        • You’re describing a replacement-level pitcher. Not the worst thing to have on your team, but I don’t think the Sox should be so quick to rule out Torres. They’re likely to put up pretty similar numbers:

          Guthrie: FIP 4.83, WHIP 1.38, K/9 5.23, GB 40% (ZiPS rest of season projection)
          Torres: FIP 4.94, WHIP 1.38, K/9 6.81, GB 45.6% (major league equivalent stats per minorleaguesplits.com)

          Maybe Guthrie is a bit more “proven” but Torres is younger and thus still has a bit of room to improve, which Guthrie doesn’t. I don’t mind Guthrie if he’s a throw-in on a Scott deal. But “durable” and “dependable” don’t make up for his “not good at making outs” problem.

          Posted by bigfun | July 26, 2010, 1:25 pm
          • small correction, Guthrie’s expected FIP should be 4.77

            Posted by bigfun | July 26, 2010, 1:30 pm
          • Come on, thats sabermetric junk, Guthrie is pitching for a horrendous team that plays in the AL East, Torres is a 27 year old who cant make the majors and is pitching in AAA

            Posted by knoxfire30 | July 26, 2010, 1:53 pm
          • I’m inclined to agree with Knox in this case. Torres masks his weaknesses with pretty strong rate stats that are products of being inefficient. If he were starting, I think the Sox would be lucky to get five innings on a routine basis.

            Posted by Jim Margalus | July 26, 2010, 1:56 pm
          • I’m not arguing that Torres is particularly good, just that Guthrie is bad. Getting out of the AL East will help but a guy striking out that few people probably isn’t going to be particularly successful in any division.

            Like I said, I don’t mind Guthrie if he’s free or nearly free, I just don’t really see the appeal.

            Posted by bigfun | July 26, 2010, 2:29 pm
    • Steve Stone had mentioned on Friday’s B&B show that dealing with Andy MacPhail was next to impossible.

      Posted by chisoxt | July 26, 2010, 12:32 pm
      • Yes, and he repeated that today, adding that MacPhail would probably be looking to pair a big contract with Scott, were he to trade him. Maybe that’s where the Tejada speculation comes in. I think I’d stick with Mentor at 3B over Tejada, though.

        Posted by sophist | July 26, 2010, 1:24 pm
        • Just saw this in a Jon Heyman tweet: “Angelos doesn’t want to trade with yankees apparently, limiting wigginton options”

          Angelos is screwy, so he either might be the reason McPhail is stingy, or just another obstacle. Wiggington’s hitting .229/.297/369 since the first month. I can see why he wouldn’t want that on a division rival.

          Posted by Jim Margalus | July 26, 2010, 1:45 pm
    • Good counterpoint. My reservation is that this was a team that could really pitch and couldn’t hit, so investing in a bat would have a maximum impact, and now their identity is kinda hazy. A marginal investment might be the only way to go, because there are a few ways the Sox could sink, and it would be entirely unrelated.

      The Haren deal is confusing. If that’s the price for relatively expensive veterans, perhaps the Sox can pull something off. But they don’t have a GM, and guys like McPhail and Rizzo are asking for a ton, so I don’t think those asking prices — if real or close to it — should be met.

      Posted by Jim Margalus | July 26, 2010, 1:21 pm
  4. This may be a dumb rosterbation question, but what about a Linebrink for Raul Ibanez deal? They need bullpen help, we can’t get Linebrink enough work, we need a big lefty, they are selling an outfielder to get Domonic Brown up. Both the contracts are ridiculous, but they seem like they’d be a wash since Ibanez’s is bigger but a year shorter.

    Maybe?

    Posted by Shinons | July 26, 2010, 3:58 pm

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