It's not the offseason yet

The Phillies extended the baseball season at least two more days, so we’ll have to wait a little longer to see if the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo has a legitimate idea here:

4. Johnny Damon, LF, Yankees – If the Yankees don’t bring him back, the White Sox look like a good fit. They need a leadoff hitter, and while they’d love to sign free agent Chone Figgins and move him to the outfield, he may get too pricy. While Damon has been a No. 2 hitter for the Yankees, he could easily go back to the top spot and give the White Sox some leadoff power.

Damon’s had those “good at-bats” Ozzie Guillen craves, so it’s not a ridiculous notion by any means.
At any rate, let’s take a look at an offseason plan courtesy of Paul:
* * *
MUST-MAKE DECISIONS
Octavio Dotel: Walk
Jermaine Dye: Buyout
FLEXIBLE DECISIONS
John Danks: At least a 1 year contract.  If extended, he deserves more than Floyd (~4 mil per year) and less than Lester (~6 mil per year).  I’ll go 4 year, ~20 million.
Bobby Jenks: 1 year contract.   If I remember correctly, he was pretty good until around the time he got kidney stone, so I forgive a little for that.  He threw too many fastballs and not enough curveballs (I’m reading bleacher report), and I’m guessing too many of those fastballs were lower in the strike zone, resulting in more contact and more ground balls (his ground ball percent was a career high: fangraphs).  So I really thinkpeople are riding him too hard and devaluing him too much.  Come to camp in shape, throw more curveballs, keep the fastball up, and I think he’ll have a very good year.   One side note: Jenks’ average fastball was faster this year (94.8) than in 07 (93.9) and 08 (93.8).
FREE AGENCY
Which positions are in most dire need of an upgrade: Clearly RF/DH, then leadoff must be addressed next if Podsednik is not retained, and finally at least 1 solid bullpen arm, preferably a lefty.  Nix/Gets at second is serviceable; Orlando Hudson would be money misspent.
DH Winner: Hideki Matsui, 2 years  @ 12 million
or
RF: Bobby Abreu, 2 years @ 18 millions (we know 2/16 isn’t enough)
LF:
Scott Podsednik, 1 year @ 3 million
Bullpen:
John Grabow, 1 year@ 2.5-3 million
Or
Darren Oliver, 1 year @ 3-3.6 million
TRADES
I keep thinking about trading for Carl Crawford or BJ Upton.  As loathe as I am to trade pitching depth, depending on who Tampa wants to move, I’m sending John Danks to Florida for BJ Upton or Carl Crawford, plus Dan Wheeler.   I can’t say I’d do this for sure, but I had to throw a wild one out here…Crawford only has one year left, and Upton would be a bit of a sell low, which is why I think we could get Dan Wheeler as well.  Am I on crack or actually close on on trade value?
SUMMARY
We’ll assume we sign Matsui, Darren Oliver, and acquire Upton or Crawford plus Wheeler via trade:
Lineup:
Upton (CF) or Crawford (CF/LF)
Beckham (3B)
Quentin (LF/RF)
Matsui (DH)
Konerko (1B)
Pierzynski (C)
Rios (RF/CF)
Ramirez (SS)
Getz (2B)
Bench:
Nix
Kotsay
Random Good Defense Low OPS Backstop
Retherford
SP:
Peavy
Buehrle
Floyd
Garcia
Hudson
Bullpen:
Pena
Darren Oliver
Dan Wheeler
Carrasco
Linebrink
Thornton
Jenks
Improvements: Outfield defense, leadoff hitter, bullpen, OBP, speed on the bases
Detractions: Starting rotation depth (we will definitely need some spot starts to rest Garcia and Hudson), possible slight loss in power which can be offset by a healthy/productive Quentin
Payroll:  Between $100 and $107.5 million.
I think base is about $81 million before arbitration raises and I’m figuring about $90 million after.  Add $6 million (Matsui), $3.5 million (Oliver), ~$3 million (Wheeler), $5 million (Upton w/Arbitration raise), and we’re at $107.5 million.  If payroll is a major concern, Jenks could be traded for prospects.
*********************************
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*Mark Buehrle was voted the best defensive pitcher in the Fielding Bible awards.  With Johan Santana in the National League and Mike Mussina and Kenny Rogers out of baseball, the next American League Gold Glove pitcher will be a first-time winner.  I suppose Buehrle has as good a chance as anybody.
*Mark Gonzalez talks about his job and the 2009 Sox with WSI.  Highly recommended reading, hat tip to Larry.
*We’ve poked fun at Joe Cowley’s aversion to all things California in the past, but Philly.com’s Frank Fitzpatrick takes it to a whole new level with Cole Hamels:

The whiny voice. The fashion-mag looks. He was born with those. In Southern California, no less. […] It’s easier to imagine him as a waiter in a trendy restaurant (“Hi, I’m Cole. I’ll be your waiter. Would you like to hear our specials?”); a dance instructor (“You call that a battement fondue?”); an architect (“If I don’t use dentil molding, it could ruin the neoclassical motif.”); or a model (“Work it, Cole. Work it!”).
When a guy like that fails in a town like this, it could get ugly.

Dated references to “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” look like Pulitzer material when putting it next to abject homophobia.
*********************************
Arizona Fall League:

  • Peoria 6, Scottsdale 4
    • Jordan Danks went 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI and a strikeout.
    • C.J. Retherford and Brent Morel each went 1-for-4. Morel struck out once.
    • Making his AFL debut, Kyle Bellamy (new roster addition) walked one and struck out one in a scoreless innings.

The Chicago Tribune has a profile on Jordan Danks, who can be seen on the MLB Network on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. CST participating in the Rising Stars game.

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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.

Articles: 3791
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conor

Yeesh. After listening to Cowley on the radio over a spell, I have to say that he’s in on the joke. Is the Philly meatball fan that much dumber than the Chicago meatball fan? Yesterday’s football callers on the Score suggest not, but this article is depressing. Black & white milkshakes? What does that mean? Did Darin Erstad play for Philadelphia?

knoxfire30

Im gonna be honost BJ Upton scares the hell out of me. He has all the tools imaginable but a guy who falls in love with himself and is known to have work ethic and on the field hustle issues shouldnt be worth a prized lefty. Throw in 3 years of full time ball where his numbers have dropped rather significantly and I would let someone else take a gamble on upton. Very tempting but pass…

marshlands

I’m with you on this, Knox. BJ Upton has proven himself nothing but an overrated pile of crap, for the most part. The fielding (arm) is there, but his bat and its steady decline is worrisome, especially for a 24/25 year old. Pass, indeed.
SIGN MIKE CAMERON 4 LIFE

paul

Don’t forget, upton played with shoulder problems in 2008, and had surgery at the end of the year to address it. It’s a very good explanation for down seasons in 08 and 09, as those things tend to linger for a year. I think he’ll bounce back a lot in 2010, being more than a year removed from surgery.
Also, crawford is an option, and should be in reach as he only has a year left. He’d cost more, and we really should extend him if we go that route…

timmeh

I don’t think this season showed what BJ Upton can do as a player, just like 2009 isn’t a good indicator of what TCQ can do. Injuries affect players in different ways and I think a healthy BJ Upton would be a good asset to whatever team he ends up going to.

striker

I like Upton but not at the expense of breaking up the most dominant rotation (on paper) in the central and possibly the AL.

stopdrop8

Any chance bellamy could make the roster with a strong afl and spring training? Every publication I’ve read has him as the closest to MLB ready from the 09 class and it’s happened before with Boone Logan, although hopefully bellamy turns out better than the boonemeister

ceverettsdinosaurs

I like the idea of going after Matsui in the offseason. He’s a lefty with good on-base skills and good power, although not all of the HR variety. If you look at his stats he’s never had a year below .274 (this year)/.353 (’03)/ .424 (’08) and typically his numbers are better than that (all stats are MLB stats). I know he’s getting up there in age (35) but he runs better than Thome and you might even be able to play him in the outfield, albeit rarely. In addition, he’s been said to be the guy other Yankees would want at the plate in clutch situations (http://mlb.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20090909&content_id=6872114&vkey=pr_mlbcom&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb). He’s also stated that he wouldn’t mind trying to play 1B on a National League team. I think he would be a nice fit for the Sox. I know that the Sox have had some history with Japanese players (Iguchi, Takatsu) so he might not mind coming here. I was thinking of writing my own offseason post just to highlight the fit that Matsui would have here. If he’s a available for a shorter deal (2 yrs?) then I think Kenny should take a shot.

striker

@Paul
I agree with your comments on Jenks. I think he will rebound. In fact, I think Peavy’s presence and the agressiveness he brings to the mound will positively affect the entire pitching staff. Jenks was just hit more in 09. Look for a solid rebound in 10.

cushinglee

Regarding B. J. Upton, I was at the White Sox game before the perfect game, in which Upton’s fielding misplay helped the White Sox win. After Upton screwed up, I asked a Rays fan sitting behind me (yes, there was one there) if this was a common occurence. He replied that Upton had some issues. Bringing Upton to Chicago, where he will be far more scrutinized than in Tampa Bay, has “bad idea” written all over it.

iowaoaks

Man… I don’t want Damon.
I’m not using logic, stats or intelligence, I just don’t like the idea of being a dumping ground for ex-Yankees.
I guess Damon would only be okay if he grows the Jesus look again. I might be able to get behind that, otherwise… eh.

knoxfire30

remember when the yanks dumped jose contreres on us, that might have worked out kind of ok

iowaoaks

Wellll… yeah.
but still, it’s the principle and, um, he was Cuban. That’s, uh, different.

soxfan1

You can’t really compare Crawford and Upton in terms of trade value. Carl Crawford is one of the best players in the AL, certainly a top 5 outfielder. It would take Danks plus another top guy to get Crawford. Tampa is not that stupid!! Upton, on the other hand, is a realistic target for the Sox. You could probably get Upton and Wheeler for John Danks, but I wouldn’t trade Danks now.