Hey, Mr. DJ, I guess we don't have a deal

A tip of the hat to Scott Merkin and Mark Gonzalez — they were definitely on to something when they said D.J. Carrasco, Ozzie Guillen’s “Team MVP” two months ago, might not be loved tender.
Here’s how expendable the Sox thought he was:

Carrasco, who made $440,000 last season, was offered a $160,000 raise. That wasn’t what he or his agent had in mind, and the gulf became apparent during a lunch Wednesday at the winter meetings involving Carrasco’s agent and a Sox official.

That’s a little bit of a slap in the face for a guy who was worked harder than any other Sox reliever last season, isn’t it?
Ultimately, it’s not a huge loss, if only because for as well as he pitched, the Sox went 18-31 in his appearances. More than half the time, he entered a game with the Sox leading or (more often) trailing by at least four runs. His velocity and occasional lack of command didn’t exactly make him suitable for higher leverage.
Yet it feels unfortunate for a handful of reasons, but the following chart sums it up nicely.  Names have been changed to shield the embarrassment:

80 132 7 43 92 6-1 3.82 1.33
“Scott L.”
107 102.1 17 32 95 5-9 4.22 1.40

And yet the Sox tried to offer that Carrasco was only worth one-seventh of what “Scott L.” is getting paid.

Another image bites the dust.
Another image bites the dust.
Anyway, while that’s too simplistic considering Carrasco is only in his first year of arbitration, it illustrates a greater point. Namely, I liked Carrasco because the Sox acquired him by way of the spring training non-roster invitation. For a team that had flushed too much money on “S. Linebrink” (whoops) and Mike MacDougal, Carrasco was a godsend.
I hoped his presence might encourage Williams to try going back to cheap-reliever well, but the scars from 2007 haven’t healed, I guess.  With the exception of Matt Thornton, none of the permanent Sox relievers is a confident bet to live up his salary. Thornton’s getting up there in price, too, as he’ll earn $2.25M in 2010.
I could also be suffering from a little Chicago Sports Fan Syndrome, because the idea that the Sox don’t need a long reliever smacks of hubris to me.  Three of the five starters missed significant chunks of time last season. John Danks didn’t, but blister/circulation problems aren’t easy to shake.  Mark Buehrle always takes August off.  The Sox are as set as can be expected, but there’s always stuff that can go wrong.
That said, there are a few internal options to replace Carrasco, whether it’s Carlos Torres or Daniel Hudson. The latter strikes me as a bit premature, especially if the rotation lives up to its billing and Hudson ends up with Aaron Poreda’s workload.  Jhonny Nunez also worked two innings regularly in the minors.
Somehow, the Sox will get by.  Carrasco deserves better, though, and I hope he’ll get paid somewhere. In Chicago, he’s merely paying for the sins of others.  The headlines say he’s a victim of “economics,” but I wouldn’t give Scott Linebrink’s bank account that much weight.
If you’ll miss Carrasco, it’s nice to know he’ll miss you too:

“One of the reasons I’m going to miss Chicago is the passion and knowledge of the White Sox fans,” said Carrasco, when asked if he had heard of fans’ disappointment over his departure. “It holds a special place in my heart that they wanted me back.”

I’ll miss the stirrups the most.

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I agree that the White Sox do have some internal options to use. Nunez has been somewhat groomed for this spot with all of his 2 innning appearances in the minors. It’s been written that perhaps Hudson would be used and would learn more by being alongside Peavy and Buehrle instead of starting in the minors, but it would be a waste to have him as a mop-up guy like Poreda was and get very inconsistent work after he has shown such great promise after only one year in pro ball. Sergio Santos should be interesting. Has the fastball to develop into an effective reliever, but no options left. If Kenny and Guillen have enough confidence in the starting rotation to go deep into games consistently, Santos could be worth the gamble if he shows enough progress in spring training.


I don’t know if it *entirely* justifies the move, but you’re right, there are a bunch of potential internal replacements: Nunez, Santos and Hudson, like you said, and also Clevelan Santeliz, Carlos Torres and Brandon Hynick.
At least one of those guys has to emerge as a league-average mop up guy… right?


I read somewhere that Carrasco wanted to start next year, so I wonder if that factored into the Sox’s non-tenderness.

Chris Pummer

Taken in isolation, this move is probably fine. The Sox have other options, so why spend close to an extra million on on a long man you can replace internally or with a spring training NRI.
But if they wanted to save money at the margins, why sign Omar Vizquel, who is no sure bet to play better than Jayson Nix?
It makes the Putz signing even more questionable. Sure, Putz might have some upside if you think he can go back to what he was in 2006-07. That seems like a dubious proposition.
And if they wanted a right-handed power reliever, why not offer Octavio Dotel arbitration. He couldn’t have commanded much more than what Putz and Vizquel got combined, and the Sox might have made off with some draft picks.
Dotel also gets points over Putz by virtue of being better and healthier over the last two seasons.
Again, nothing the Sox have done this offseason has been bad in isolation (except perhaps the Teahen extension), but it still adds up to a big question mark. There just seems to be no consistent philosophical or even tactical approach to filling out this roster.


You know, if back in the fall of 2005, you had told me in a mere four years, the only beacon of hope in an otherwise bleak Chicago sports landscape would be the Blackhawks, I would have laughed in your face.


Bears went to a super bowl in 06, cubs won their division in 07 and 08, sox won their division in 08, and the hawks have been awesome and may be very special this year. Granted 09 has stunk for chicago sports, but nothing is beyond repair or a quick turnaround. And the bulls arent great and may be the farthest away from a title but they have also atleast been in the playoffs a couple times in that span.
An owner dying can occassionally do wonders, I was talking to a raiders fan the other day and that franchise mirrors the hawks in a lot of ways.


You have to start utilizing your minor leaguers at some point, and the safest point in the game is low pressure situations, like the ones Carrasco pitched in.


Totally confused by this move. Consider Carassco’s proposed raise as a percentage of payroll and it makes little sense — especially as he was the second most consistent performer behind Thornton out of the pen last year. Pennywise and poundfoolish indeed. My guess is that they will pay Jenks and we will end up with either Crisp or Pierre in center. Pods may be signed as a back-up OF and DH, though I wouldn’t do headstands to sign that dumb hick who lacks the basic fundamentals of fielding and baserunning. No one else will give him a multi-year, except maybe Hendry who pays losers like Grabow crazy $$.


Why Pierre when Winn is still available. As is Beltre.
I lost out on Cameron though.
Looks like Theo Epstein and I think alike. Defense & Pitching.


A million here, a million there — pretty soon you’re talking real money.
I agree that Carrasco was a useful piece last year, but in arbitration, his valuation is affected by all the folks who have overpaid for middle relievers the past few years — such as the Linebrink signing. The flaw in arbitration, from management’s perspective, is that it gives too much weight to other people’s mistakes. By non-tendering him, the Sox can get him (or his replacement) for current market value, which is way less.


Please give me your list of relievers with a sub 4 era (carrasco had a 3.70ish) and who threw more then 50 innings (carrasco threw about 89)
That will come and sign for “way less” then what carrasco would have gotten likely .8 to maybe 1 mil.
This was a dumb move by the sox, PERIOD. There are two justifications and neither are that good.
1. They are at their payroll limit, if that is the case and they dont improve this offense then nothing really matters they are a third or fourth place team
2. They are taking the gamble on Carrasco having no chance of repeating his 09 success. He did throw a ton of innings and he did have one of his best years in the bigs. (This is a bad gamble since its well worth even the mil to find out).