Putting the 'bull' in 'bullpen'

A few notes in the lead-up to the winter meetings:
*Takashi Saito signed with the Braves for one year and $3 million — which is the price Timmeh tagged him with in his offseason plan.  Nice work.
A commenter at Baseball Think Factory mentioned that the Red Sox basically shielded Saito from arduous workloads, only pitching him in back-to-back games three times over the course of the season.  Considering his age and arm problems, the White Sox probably would have had to go a similar route – and they already have to protect Scott Linebrink and his $5 million contract that way.
*Speaking of Linebrink, Kenny Williams thinks he might be “tipping his pitches”:

“We’ve got to find answers because he’s too good to have struggled like that,” said Williams of Linebrink, who had a 1.93 ERA prior to the All-Star Game. “His stuff is too good.”

To me, this sounds like Williams’ quote about Nick Masset:

“You get more real answers when a guy takes a step backwards,” Williams added. “Now, he’s got to try and figure it out a little bit.”

Anyway, I’m not inclined to believe it. For one, “tipping pitches” is the “dog ate my homework” excuse of the pitching world. It’s occasionally true, but awfully convenient.
Plus, his average fastball clocked 93.6 m.p.h. last year. That was the fastest of his career, but it also seemed to be straight as an arrow.  Add in his decreasing ground ball rate and uptick in walks, and I’d accept overthrowing as an issue before pitch-tipping.
*Phil Rogers gets Buddy Bell’s opinion on Dayan Viciedo:

“One of our biggest concerns with him was the culture,” Bell said. “The kid turned out to be maybe the best teammate we had at Birmingham … He’s a great kid.”
Bell compares the 20-year-old Viciedo to the Angels’ Kendry Morales, a more experienced Cuban who needed 309 games in the minor leagues before establishing himself as a big-leaguer. “He’ll figure it out,” Bell said of Viciedo. “He’s so strong. He’s going to be a good big-league hitter.”

I’m still inclined to agree. Out of all the hitters I’ve seen this year, he provided the most reason for excitement. As a fielder… he’s not much of one.
*Sports Illustrated listed the White Sox farm system in the 16-25 range of Baseball America’s rankings. I suppose it’s a testament to the system’s health that the Sox can trade away three top-10  players and still stay out of the bottom five.

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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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soxfan1

“Tipping pitches is the bullpen equivalent of the dog ate my homework”. Jim, you are awesome, that quote made my day!!
Linebrink throws very straight stuff, a good college player could hit him!

chisoxt

Throwing hard speaks nothing about command or movement…As far as fixing Llinebrink, forget it. If it were fixable, Cooper would have solved it by now.
I only hope that he gives us a decent two or three months to give Daniel Hudson more seasoning time in the minors.
Again, Kenny can this be a lesson to you? Quit screwing around with these washed up expensive relievers and focus on drafting and developing arms within our own farm system. Even the Yankees and Red Sox are doing it this way!

jeff

Relief pitching is the least predictable component of MLB – it is equally likely Linebrink bounces back to career averages and performs at a respectable level as it is he continues to struggle; although his downward trajectory is hard to ignore.
I am really looking forward to seeing Viciendo, my little voice tells me he will be really, really good. The Sox, like any good organization, publicizes players who they perhaps feel are perceived to be better than in reality, elevating trade value; but have remained quiet on Dayan.