Torres passes trust test

It won’t make up for what has been a disappointing performance, by and large, but it was great to see Ozzie Guillen remind us why he earned a contract that will keep him around through 2012.
Guillen came out to the mound on Thursday afternoon after Dewayne Wise saved Carlos Torres’ lead with an outfield assist in the seventh inning. With two outs, the tying run on second and left-handed Koyie Hill at the plate, Guillen would have been well within his rights to pull Torres for Matt Thornton. The spot starter’s pitch count was into the 90s, and he’d entered the game with a 6.75 ERA.
But Guillen made the visit a short one, slapping Torres on the chest and giving him a chance to finish the inning. That he did, striking out Hill on a beautiful down and diving curve.

I just like this picture.
I just like this picture.
In the last two seasons where the Sox didn’t stand a chance in the final month, Guillen found a way to make playing out the string productive with a young starter:
2004: Over the last three months, Jon Garland pitched six innings or more in 17 of his 18 starts. The results weren’t sterling (7-6, 4.94  ERA), but he finished with 217 innings, after stalling at 192 innings the previous two seasons under Jerry Manuel. Garland responded to the increased workload the following year, and became a reliable starter for his final three years in a White Sox uniform.
2007: Guillen gave Gavin Floyd the ball throughout September as John Danks appeared to wear down in his rookie year. Floyd responded by throwing quality starts in five of six outings, cementing a role in the 2008 rotation.
Now, this is not saying that Torres is going to be the next Floyd or Garland.  He shut down a Cubs lineup that shut itself down a while ago, and he wasn’t locating his slider particularly well (though he made up for it by throwing a number of dandy curves).
But there’s nothing stopping Torres from being a useful major-league pitcher, something along the lines of a D.J. Carrasco who can be a little tougher on left-handers. Rewarding Guillen’s trust — especially when he’s not giving up on the idea of the postseason yet — can only help.
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Remember when Frank Thomas would be criticized for being overly concerned about his numbers?
Here’s A.J. Pierzynski:

“I don’t know how that’s an error when a guy falls on his head, but apparently it is at Wrigley,” Pierzynski said.

Hey, so few misplays are called errors these days that maybe it caught Pierzynski off-guard. But considering he reached on a “single” in the ninth inning when it probably should’ve been a fielder’s choice, he doesn’t really have a leg to stand on.
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Kenny Williams explained his reasoning behind the Jim Thome and Jose Contreras trades to Peter Gammons:

“The best way I can sum up what we did,” Williams continued, “is that we tried to do right by players who certainly did right by us. And I will find a seat at Jim Thome’s Hall of Fame induction in Cooperstown.”
[…] “I’ve been in this game for a long time,” Williams said, “and he is one of the finest people I’ve ever been associated with. There’s no question we want to look at some people in September; we want Jermaine Dye to play, Carlos Quentin to play, Alex Rios, Tyler Flowers. But we wanted to accommodate Jim Thome so he could finish the season the way he wanted. This isn’t about us.
“Ozzie [Guillen, the Sox’s manager] had said that he didn’t plan to start Jose down the stretch,” Williams continued, “and I thought this was a way to at least give him an opportunity to start and rebuild his value in the free-agent market.”

It’s easy to take Kenny Williams’ budget consciousness for granted. Even after picking up Jake Peavy’s contract, as well as Alex Rios’ potential albatross (he has two hits in his last 35 at-bats), the Sox are still in bad shape.
Look at the Cubs. It was something to watch Alfonso Soriano couple his awful error on Pierzynski’s flyball with three strikeouts, and then realize he’s still one year and one month away from fulfilling only half his eight-year, $136 million contract.
And then realize that he’s not the only unmovable contract in the outfield.
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Minor league roundup:

  • Durham 14, Charlotte 3
    • Stefan Gartrell drove in all three runs with two homers. But he wasn’t supported by players way in over their head, including:
    • Kent Gerst (0-for-3, three K’s, one walk) and Brady Shoemaker (0-for-4, 4 K).
    • Sergio Santos, who walked five in an inning of work, and…
    • Daniel Wiltz, who gave up six runs on six hits and three walks in just one-third of an inning, giving him a Triple-A ERA of 162.00.
    • Durham’s Desmond Jennings went 7-for-7 off the ramshackle Charlotte staff.
  • Birmingham 9, Chattanooga 5
    • Dayan Viciedo went 2-for-4 with a homer, walk and three RBI.
    • C.J. Retherford went 4-for-5 with a double, boosting his average to .301.
    • Dave Cook hit his 25th homer, and added a single and a walk.
    • Charlie Shirek gave up five runs (four earned) on 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out four.
    • Clevelan Santeliz pitched a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one.
  • Winston-Salem 7, Salem 5 (10 innings)
    • Brent Morel went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI.
    • Justin Greene doubled, walked and struck out three times.
    • Dylan Axelrod threw a quality start, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks. He struck out three.
    • Tyson Corley threw two perfect innings with two strikeouts.
    • Nathan Jones picked up the win with a scoreless 11th. He allowed a hit.
  • Kannapolis 4, West Virginia 3
    • Eduardo Escobar went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
    • Josh Phegley went 1-for-3 with an RBI, and he was hit by a pitch.
    • Joe Serafin allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk over seven innings, striking out six.
    • Kyle Bellamy struck out the side in the eighth; Dan Remenowsky pitched a scoreless ninth, with one hit and one K.
    • Luis Sierra hit a solo homer.
  • Great Falls 4, Billings 3 (10 innings)
    • Matt Wickswat allowed a pair of solo homers over six innings. Six hits, no walks, four strikeouts.
    • Jordan Cheatham singled, doubled and drove in two.
    • Trayce Thompson, getting more work in after finishing Bristol’s season 0-for-19, went 1-for-4 in his Pioneer League debut.
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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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chisoxt

Regarding Rios, I wonder what Carl Crawford will fetch after next season and how it will compare to Rios’ deal?

winningugly

I usually agree with you, Jim. I disagree about the AJ assessment. First, it sure seems that every official scorer known to Man has a rule that if the ball is not touched, it’s not an error. And although AJ can be considered to be “chirping” about unfair treatment (he is, upon his own admission, the “most hated man in baseball”) he has a point.
Second, no way Theriot throws him out on the IF single. He was sprawled in the dirt and probably having an issue physically, anyway, after being laid out a few innings earlier by said Mr. P. AJ earned that one.
I’ll give AJ the benefit of the doubt here.

knoxfire30

completely agree
, you hit on two good points, ozzie does really do a good job handling the sox young arms, leaving him in was a great move especially the way the righties in the pen have done setting up jenks/thornton at the end.
Im still thinking Torres is “just a guy” but in AAA and this start for the cubs he has pounded the strikezone and that is something that can make a “meh” type pitcher a lot more valuable especially in a 5th starter spot.
PS, I have been saying it for years, Jim Hendry is a bottom 5 maybe now 3 GM in all of baseball, just god awful.
JIM, I would to have a projection of next years payroll for you, I have committments (including guys under arb who will be back on the 25 man) at about 82.5 million.

striker

I wonder what the odds are of having Nix play the OF in winter ball and try and turn him into a LF. It worked great for Soriano (that was a joke, but I’m serious about Nix). He could be a great hitter given fulltime play.

eddystankysghost

I don’t take much interest in the NL or the Cubs, but what was on display yesterday was pretty ugly stuff.
You can talk all you want about the fans’ right/obligation to boo bad play, but the Wrigleyites have developed a history of going after guys, especially outfielders. Not exactly a proven method of eliciting superior performance. Talk about eating your own young.
The guy they oughta be booing is their gm, with his long-term contracts and judgment of players.

soxfan1

How about those Cubbies!! What a sorry excuse for a team with the 3rd highest payroll in baseball!! CUBS = Completely Useless By Sept!!
Carl Crawford is twice the player that Rios is. I guess that means he will earn $24 mil per year on the open market. I think the Rays have a $13 mil option on Carl for 2010. Since they traded Kazmir and his big salary, I assume they will pick up Crawford’s option.

knoxfire30

I think its a 10 mil option, and their is zero chance the rays dont pick it up. Even if they have to trade him for some reason that would still be easy to do as crawford is having a fantastic year and a ton of teams would line up to try and acquire him.

K8T

Is the Linebrink thing a joke?