Self-destruction an increasingly common act of Pods

My cousin’s family used to have a black Labrador retriever named Darth.
Darth was a really awesome dog, and he didn’t like to stray far. One time, I remember Darth saw a squirrel, and started sprinting after it. But after a couple of gallops, he stopped and turned to look back toward us, almost to ask, “Wait, is it OK if I go for it?”
After seeing no objections, Darth resumed his pursuit. It was ultimately fruitless, but he seemed to enjoy it nevertheless.
I take this trip down memory lane because Darth, if he were still alive, would probably be a smarter baserunner than Scott Podsednik. He certainly showed a greater sense of awareness. Honestly, I would pay at least $15 to see a pitcher fake throwing the ball into the stands to see if Pods takes off for the next base. I’d wager he would take more steps than Darth before realizing the pitcher still had the ball.

pods0907
Original picture taken by my ol' buddy Gus, capturing the image with the power of TiVo off his dated television set.
Podsednik, for the second time in four days, ran senselessly into a double play to kill the first rally of the game. This time, it happened against a superior pitcher in Jon Lester, and the Sox never created another scoring opportunity against him.
At the same time, Podsednik also accounted for three of the Sox’s four hits off Lester. That raised his average to an even .300 (including an incredible .344 against lefties), and his OBP to a very acceptable .352.  In fact, it’s just one tick off the league average, which, relative to the White Sox’s recent success in that department, is like having a white, left-handed Rickey Henderson at the top of the order.
And therein lies the rub during this most uneven of seasons.
Prior to the game, I watched Chuck Garfien and Bill Melton discuss the possibility of retaining Podsednik. It’s an interesting question, except they were discussing the possibility of retaining Podsednik as a designated hitter.
Ozzie Guillen has played Podsednik there two games in a row, but he supposedly has his reasons:

It was the second straight game as DH for Podsednik, who said “it’s all the same to him. I don’t mind DH or playing the field.”
The natural DH would seem to be Carlos Quentin, who is nursing a painful left foot.
“I’m good enough to be out there,” Quentin said.
“I don’t like Carlos to DH because he’ll drive everybody [in the dugout] crazy,” Guillen said. “Carlos is the type of guy when he doesn’t get a hit, he thinks a lot when he’s sitting here. I’d rather when he doesn’t get a hit, he goes out there and performs [in the field].”

Still, it’s incredible that a guy who maxes out at a .400 slugging percentage and bases his game around his wheels can’t be trusted either on the basepaths or in the field.   With the problems the Sox have catching the ball, I don’t think Guillen would sacrifice a position if it would truly pay off in terms of defensive efficiency.
Basically, the only reason to trust him is in the area of on-base percentage at the top of the order — an area in which he’s never been reliable.  There’s not much that separates him from Joey Gathright.
The good news right now is, as presently constructed, there would be room for Pods in the role Dewayne Wise currently occupies.  Assuming Jermaine Dye will be re-signed or replaced by another corner outfielder and the Sox retain Mark Kotsay (it was mentioned during the broadcast on Saturday that Guillen likes the cut of his jib), here’s what the roster looks like:

  1. A.J. Pierzynski.
  2. Backup catcher.
  3. Paul Konerko.
  4. Chris Getz.
  5. Jayson Nix.
  6. Alexei Ramirez.
  7. Gordon Beckham.
  8. Carlos Quentin.
  9. Alex Rios.
  10. Corner OF.
  11. Mark Kotsay.

There’s room for two more players — one fourth/fifth outfielder, and one more corner infielder. Assuming a reasonable deal (one year, $2 million off the top of my head?), Pods couldn’t hurt. In fact, he’d probably be the best pinch-hit option, considering his hitting style.
The bad news is there’s nothing resembling a designated hitter. Even if you put Jermaine Dye or Bobby Abreu in that spot, that severely diminishes Rios’ value.
(And if his first 75 at-bats are any indication, preserving Rios’ value is going to be a tall task. After an 0-for-3, three-strikeout performance, he’s hitting .160/.169/.253 with one walk and 21 strikeouts. He’s already hitting ninth, so staying in center as an above-average third outfielder is all that’s left.)
You can look at OPS as the ultimate sticking point. At his best — and I presume this is his best — Pods owns a .752 OPS. That’s about 100 points shy of a declining Jim Thome, and when it comes down to it, a DH needs to both get on base and hit for power. Pods has only half the equation down, and he can’t even be penciled in for it.
This is probably giving too much weight to the thought of Pods as a full-time DH, but it’s still a worthwhile exercise to show that no matter what, counting on Podsednik to fill any starting slot is going to hurt the Sox in terms of value, whether in terms of production.
Whatever the case may be, he really should be the last priority when it comes to filling in the 2010 roster. Wise’s position wasn’t solidified until the very end of spring training. If, at any point over the next several weeks, it feels like it would suck to lose Pods’ services, focus on the mental mistakes. He makes way too many of them for a player — and team — that can’t afford them.
****************************
Minor league roundup:

  • Gwinnett 4, Charlotte 1
    • Charlotte was held to two hits — singles by Kent Gerst and Jose Fulencio.
    • Justin Fuller walked three times.
    • Brady Shoemaker struck out twice, Miguel Gonzalez once.
    • Brent DeFoor (2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K) and Kevin Asselin (1 IP, 1 K) represented themselves well.
  • Chattanooga 6, Birmingham 0
    • Birmingham was held to one hit — a John Shelby double. He also walked.
    • Jordan Danks struck out twice, C.J. Retherford once.
    • Johnnie Lowe pitched two scoreless innings, the only pitching performance of note.
  • Myrtle Beach 9, Winston-Salem 7
    • Greg Paiml had four hits, including a double.
    • Tyler Kuhn went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI.
    • Jacob Rasnwer was shelled — 2 1/3 IP, 8 H, 9 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR.
    • Wander Perez threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, and Levi Maxwell added two himself.
    • Brent Morel had the day off.
  • Hickory 7, Kannapolis 3
    • Brandon Short went 2-for-4 with a double.
    • Josh Phegley went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a sac fly.
    • Eduardo Escobar went 1-for-4; Daniel Black wore the collar.
    • James Albury was roughed up for six runs over six innings on eight hits and two walks. He struck out four.
    • Drew O’Neil threw a 1-2-3 inning; Dan Remenowsky lowered his ERA to 1.99 with a scoreless inings, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out two.
  • Helena 8, Great Falls 7
    • Jeff Tezak, Jose Vargas (double, two RBI) and Matthew Harughty (RBI) each had two hits.
    • Nick Ciolli doubled and walked; Trayce Thompson singled and walked.
    • Kyle Colligan went 1-for-4.
    • Paul Burnside struck out five over 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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knoxfire30

Im sick and tired of brutally stupid baseball, pods cant be brought back when 8-10 percent of the time he gets picked of the bases. And its the same reason that sooner or later alexei has to be traded before he starts making some money. Fleece someone now!!! This team leads the freaking american league in quality starts and isnt even a playoff contender, and its because of bonehead baserunning, brutal fielding and subpar hitting (the only 1 of 3 things pods hasnt killed us with).
Of the 173 times pods has been on base he has been caught stealing 10 times, picked off 9 times, picked off trying to steal 2 times, and his outs on base total is 5. That means of the 173 times on he has elminated himself 26 freaking times. So take his 350 obp and what do you actually have???

striker

Knox brings up an interesting point. Billy Beane doesn’t like steals because it eliminates a baserunning probably 30% of the time (league avg?). There should be a stat like OBP but something in the lines of “remains on base percentage”. Taking walks, hits and hbp and subtracts pickoffs and caught stealing. I don’t want to rip Pods though. His clutch base hits have helped more than his pickoffs/cs have hurt. In fact he is just about the only clutch hitter we have.
I’m all for trading Ramirez while his stock is somewhat high. I would take OBP over HR/RBI for his spot in the lineup. In fact, if you move Beckham to SS, I’m sure you could find a 3B with better production than Ramirez.
Add Danks to the list of players I wouldn’t mind trading. His stock is still high. If we had starters that went farther into the game (say 7 innings) then that wouldn’t give our bullpen as much of a chance to suck. John’s median IP is 6, which to me is as useful as a 5th starter. I would only package him if it netted us a better starter than Danks. How about bundle Danks,Ramirez, prospects for a Cain, Haren, or F. Hernandez. If you offered up a good pitcher like Danks then the other team would have to listen.

eddystankysghost

podspodspods…
you do mention Rios here (for whose salary some teams could populate half a starting lineup), but forgot to mention that in two of his three strikeouts he rescued 3-0 counts for Lester. At least with Rios, we don’t have to concern ourselves with whether he can run bases or not.
…back to our regulary scheduled programming…

eddystankysghost

Okay, off on the Rios salary reference (actually $5.9 mil this year), but still more bothered by the performance than by pods.

cushinglee

Glad someone else noticed Rios blowing the 3-0 counts. I have the bad feeling Rios may be our Alfonso Soriano of 2010.

chisoxt

When there was a buzz that someone had claimed Rios off of waivers last month, I was hoping that it would not be us.
If Alex has some serious swing flaws, can Walker help him enough to fix the problem?

striker

More on post. Peavy’s median IP in 2008 was 6ip too. But his average was 6.5 compared to 6 for Danks. Either way, we need 3/4 solid relievers or aquiring Peavy was pointless.

chisoxt

I know that bullpens are a crapshoot from year to year but it seems as though some of the better set up guys that I have seen this year have arms much younger than Linebrink, MacDougal, Dotel, etc. Those teams that have the fresh arms in their own system will be in much better shape than us when it comes to bullpen help next year. Talk as much as you want about our rotation, but it will come down to luck on whether we find that right setup piece for next season. If we don’t we are in trouble again.

john

I refuse to believe this is the actual Alex Rios we’re seeing. How can a guy with his track record all of a sudden turn into Brian Anderson?
As for Pods, I loathe the possibility of him being on the Sox next year. Him being the DeWayne Wise next year is all well and dandy, except for the fact that he can’t field, throw, or run the bases adequately enough to be a fourth outfielder. If we could morph Wise and Pods into one person, then we may actually have something.

knoxfire30

I wouldnt dare trade Danks, young lefties who compete like that dont grow on trees.
I am listening all offseason on Ramirez and would think that a decent offer is out their if we want to move him, again though its not a priority to move him since he will still cost so little the next couple years, after that I would trade him in a heartbeat.
Chances the pirates make Ryan Doumit available??? He would be a player the sox could use at C, 1b, DH wouldnt he compliment this lineup nicely……

knoxfire30

His injury history with the change from the NL to AL helps due to more time at dh and 1b available(and the al to nl thing is about 100 times more important for pitchers).
He is cheap, has some pop from the left side (actually switch hitter) and the pirates always make bad trades. He gives good flexibility in my opinion as a guy who could fill DH in 09 and backup catcher or 1b if aj and pk are gone after 2010. Hard to find a similiar player not named victor martinez. Doumit = very poor mans martinez.

striker

I agree bullpens are a crapshoot. Look at 2005. Polite, Hermanson and Cotts all had career years. Polite and Cotts were untouchable. You just have to put talent out there and hope they do their job. I’m betting Pena and Linebrink will turn it around.