Thome twists the knife, but not in Guillen

Believe you me, I’m not thrilled to bring up Jim Thome. We all know that I wanted him back, and most of you were and are on the same boat. That Mandruw Kojones has failed to match his production isn’t a surprise nor a revelation.
I could probably find a way to trace every flaw back to that decision, but I’ve refrained from doing so because it’s monotonous. I generally avoid it unless he’s in the news, or there’s a development that sheds light on yet another way the Sox blew it.
Sadly, this is one of those times.
Justin Morneau, who suffered a concussion last month when he took a knee to the head while sliding into second, didn’t make the trip to Chicago. The Twins had hoped to get him in batting practice mode during this series, and then get him on a rehab assignment. Instead, it’s been 35 days since Morneau has taken part in any normal baseball activity, which is causing some concern that he might be Corey Koskie 2.0.
Let’s not look that far ahead, though. Let’s just say he’s out for the entire month of August, because normally that would be devastating to a team in a pennant race. Morneau had posted MVP-caliber numbers this season, hitting .345/.437/.618 before going on the DL.
Imagine the Sox playing without Paul Konerko for an entire month. That’s what the Twins have been doing, missing 10 percent more OPS, too.
That would probably destroy the Sox, but it hasn’t ruined the Twins. In fact, they’ve gone 19-10 in his absence. Minnesota might be without a MVP left-handed hitter, but they’ve been able to replace him pretty well with a future HOF left-handed hitter.
Since taking over in Morneau’s role, if not defensive position, Jim Thome is pummeling his way to the tune of a .279/.413/.606 line. That includes his homer, double and walk against Freddy Garcia and the Trashmen on Tuesday night.
The Twins were able to replace a 1.055 OPSer with a 1.019 OPSer, thanks to White Sox hubris.
Ozzie Guillen had to defend the decision to bypass The Gentleman Masher during his return to the South Side, and once again, the reasoning turned to Thome’s inability to play the field.

“A lot of people are mistaken about the DH,” Guillen said. “It gives me an opportunity to play people at different places. I put Carlos (Quentin) at DH, I put Andruw (Jones), (Omar) Vizquel.
“That’s what we want to do, rotate people, give people more at-bats, more help for the defense. When we play (in the) National League, we don’t have the DH. That’s my point.”

OK, first, he should never point to Designated Hitter Omar Vizquel to sell his strategy. We’ve been over that before. Designated Hitter Andruw Jones hasn’t been an asset in months as well.
But this is well-worn territory. Ozzie has argued this to death. He didn’t think he could be a part-time player, and he didn’t want to be the guy preventing Thome from his pursuit of 600 homers (I still can’t believe he said that). He wants to give other players a half-day off. I get that.
He shouldn’t have to defend it any further because it shouldn’t have been Guillen’s decision in the first place. He has said before that he only pays attention to the 25-man roster, and isn’t concerned with who’s performing in Charlotte. Would you count on him to have the divisional depth charts pinned down in the offseason?
That’s what Kenny Williams and his staff are paid to do. It’s their job to keep an eye not only on their system, but the flow of talent around the league as well. The discussion with Guillen should have been a two-parter:

  1. We know you want a flexible DH, but Thome will help your team, even if you play him part-time.
  2. If we don’t sign him, the Twins or Tigers might, and all of our jobs will be harder.

The second point keeps getting overlooked. Missing Thome wouldn’t be nearly as big of a deal if the Seattle Mariners picked him up. The Sox would lack production, but it wouldn’t hurt him. But the difference between any ol’ team taking Thome and the Twins doing so is the difference between throwing an incomplete pass and an interception. One is merely a missed opportunity; the other is a missed opportunity that puts your team on the defensive.
Guillen has taken the heat for this turnover, but Williams shouldn’t have turned over his duties in the first place. And speaking of first place, the Sox are no longer in it as a result.
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Postscript: In Morneau’s absence, Ron Gardenhire has used Michael Cuddyer as a full-time first baseman. He won’t be mistaken for a Gold Glover. Neither will Jason Kubel in right, as he’s taken over for Cuddyer in that corner. Yet it’s not killing them.
This is the flexibility Mark Teahen was supposed to bring before the Sox locked him in as the third baseman of the future. Versatility is what Mark Kotsay, Andruw Jones and Omar Vizquel had going for them as multi-positional bench players, giving Guillen lots of rotational options.
But for some reason, he needed one more.  As you’ll see below, Teahen is getting some reps at first in preparation for his return to Chicago. That’s about seven months too late.
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Before the game, Guillen talked about the mountain this team climbed to actually make this three-game series against the Twins meaningful:

“I never thought I would write a book, but I will make a book about 2010 regardless of whether we win,” Guillen said Tuesday.

Looks like I have some competition.
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Minor league roundup:

  • Charlotte 5, Durham 4
    • Brent Morel went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI. He’s hitting .308.
    • Mark Teahen (1B) went 1-for-4 with a walk.
    • Tyler Flowers drew two walks and struck out twice.
    • Jordan Danks also struck out twice, but doubled and sac bunted.
  • Birmingham 7, Mississippi 3
    • Charles Leesman pitched well: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K.
    • Justin Greene (double, two K) and Eduardo Escobar each went 1-for-4.
    • Christian Marrero singled twice over four ABs.
  • Winston-Salem 5, Wilmington 4
    • Brandon Short went 2-for-4 with a triple, two RBI and a walk. He’s drawn seven over his last 10 games.
    • Jose Martinez went 2-for-4 with a strikeout.
    • Josh Phegley singled, walked and struck out over five PAs, and so did Jon Gilmore.
    • Terry Doyle struggled: 4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K.
  • Kannapolis 8, Hagerstown 2
    • Andre Rienzo struck out eight over 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks.
    • Jacob Petricka struck out two over a scoreless of inning. He allowed a double.
    • Tyler Saladino went 1-for-2 with a double, walk and an HBP.
    • Brady Shoemaker singled, doubled, walked, drove in three, and struck out once.
    • Nick Ciolli went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI and two strikeouts.
  • Bristol 8, Danville 3
    • Daniel Black went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.
    • Kevin Moran struck out two of the three batters he faced.
  • Great Falls vs. Missoula PPD
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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: 3793
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onlysoxfaninboston

nice write-up, this really sums up my own thoughts on the thome non-acquisition

vince

Jim you are truly the voice of the non-meathead White Sox fan.

expatnyc

Yes, this was never anyone’s responsibility but Kenny’s. What cowed him I’ll never understand. It’s shocking, when you lay it out as Jim has. An experienced, even cocky, GM allowed his often unreasonable manager to decide against the most reasonable course of action: sign the cheap high-OBP lefty slugger everyone loves. You know, like an AL team might want to do–such as your division rivals. And for what? To serve Ozzie’s fantasy of “real beisbol”? It’s clear to me that right now the Sox don’t have what it takes to win this American League division, let alone get past game three of the division series.
This season has broken my back. During the 2005 run, I took a lot of heat from my Cub-fan cousins–“You realize Ozzie is a lucky idiot, don’t you?” they’d taunt. I wouldn’t go that far, not even now, but he no longer looks like a likable clown to me. He looks foolish and incapable of self-criticism. His in-game managing skills are fine, but why does he have such a hard-on for the National League style of play? Get the fuck out of the American League if that what bones you up. Or wake up to reality. It’s simply mind-boggling. Five years after the World Series victory, I’ve had enough. I want Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen gone next year.

expatnyc

You’re more charitable, and more patient, than I am, Jim. I’m afraid Kenny and Ozzie are deluding themselves about this team’s chances–and have been doing so for quite some time. Kenny’s abdication only solidifies my opinion. It’s not as though his decision to forgo a DH happened in a vacuum. The Linebrink and Teahen contacts were also obviously wrong-headed, if not irrational. I suppose I could be persuaded to give them another year (as if it’s my decision), if only because Kenny Williams is so intelligent. But the fact that a seasoned GM essentially checked out on one of the biggest decisions of the off season makes me wonder whether he isn’t ready to move on too.

ricksch

Thanks for saying all that so I don’t have to. For every HR Thome hits, a regulation-sized ball should be shoved up both Kenny’s and Ozzie’s ass. I nominate Kotsay to do the shoving. He’s so great with all those intangibles!
Williams is a freakin’ moron for letting Thome go and it’s only fitting that here he is beating us in a big series.
The fact that AJ never showed up this year has left us with a black hole on the left side. We have Teahen in the Minors, but they love him so much that they give him an extension but yet are in no hurry to bring him back up. What the hell does THAT tell you?
We also had a roster spot for Nix at the beginning of the season. Yeah, we had a back-up guy (Vizquel) who could play the whole infield, but we really needed Nix and sure as hell didn’t need big old Thome!

knoxfire30

Checklist time:
Over looked the orioles, check
Come out flat in the first game of the biggest series of the year, check
Play poor defense (pierre allowing a double on a sure single to left of Mauer’s bat, and alexei not covering 2nd base in a 2010 rare mental mistake allowing thome to leg out a double, check
Horseshit scouting report on twins hitters, the most annoying being the middle low and middle away pitching to thome which is just inexcusable, check
Terrible baserunning, Pierre at it again getting picked off for no real reason, then rios decided to take the bat out of our hottest hitters hand in the 1st inning for again no apparent reason, check
Lousy bullpen work, pena has been good most of the year, but linebrink being on an MLB roster is mike macdougal all over again, this guy hurts you worse trying to hide him as a long guy then it would hurt to just swollow the money and move on, check
did i miss anything… im sure i did cause that game was atrocious!!!!!! goood news is, you lose by one or get destroyed its the same in the standings, hopefully danks has it going tonight he usually does vs minnesota

knoxfire30

forgot one, low fucking attendence vs arch rival in the middle of a division race, CHECK!

knoxfire30

forgot one more, hawk harrelson blaming the umpires for everything especially a mark kotsay strikeout and then following his umpire tirade with a half hearted, well thats not why were losing, CHECK

fustercluck

Damning: “When we play (in the) National League, we don’t have the DH. That’s my point.”
Ozzie shouldn’t brag that his lineup is designed around the 9 games they play in NL parks. He has to realize they have a middling record against the bulk of their competition.
I’d like to believe Mr. Herman Schneider was a factor in them passing on Thome. At least it makes more sense if Herm doubted his own abilities to keep Gentleman Jim’s balky back in the lineup every day. Unfortunately Jim is still mashing DI
DINGERS in the Cell, and Peavy’s the one whose lat snapped off the bone like a windowshade.

sars

i’d argue herm has nothing to do with it. the white sox have routinely been one of, if not the healthiest team for the last ten years

ricksch

Great point — Ozzie’s so nostalgic for the NL that he’s created his own little island of it here! To the detriment of our ability to compete in OUR OWN FREAKING DIVISION!

David

Jim, you wrote my mind. Thanks.

soxfan1

Kenny screwed up big time by listening to Ozzie and taking a pass on Big Jim. The masher would have been good for the team and for attendance at the Cell. Ozzie is a good manager but giving him that big of a say in personnel decisions is a mistake. Ozzie’s ego is such that he wants to control everything. Watch out for Thome in the next 8 Sox-Twins games!! He is not done.

bigfun

Jim, Jim, Jim, Mandruw Kojones is way more valuable than Thome, remember? Soxicano explained this weeks ago: https://soxmachine.com/soxmachine/2010/07/19/weekend-exposes-al-centrals-flaws/
Thome has been worth more WAR than all but three White Sox hitters, in almost half the plate appearances. Good grief.

sars

even funnier considering WAR has a positional adjustment and jim thome has no position.

bigfun

Yep. among DHs, only Ortiz and Scott have been more valuable this year. Thome’s just a hair above Vlad Guerrero right now, despite the difference in playing time.

RWShow

This is exactly what has been on many of our minds for some time now, but somehow, seeing it “on paper” rather than the various elements of it loosely floating around in my subconscious makes the entire situation even harder to stomach.
You (appropriately) omitted the emotional element, other than posting the perfectly tear-jerking waiting-by-the-phone image. Obviously, this is an intangible, and doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme. But knowing how Thome wanted to play for the Sox, and they turned their backs on such a fan favorite, only to see him immediately be snapped up by the arch rival… it was almost poetic.
After watching how it has played out since that decision, it has gone from heartbreaking to absolutely infuriating. This has become a perfect storm illogical/irresponsible decision-making and emotional frustration, and it came to a head last night.
Today is a lousy day to be a White Sox fan.

ricksch

great summation — even better than Jim’s I dare say!

ricksch

you’re not a brother, you’re not a friend, you’re nothing to me now . . . when you come to see our mother, I want to know in advance so I won’t be there.
— G II

RWShow

You’ve been watching too many Sox games with elderly Italians, I fear.

john

To me, Game 1 of this series is just the cherry on top of the turd sundae of the last 5 games. Thome or no Thome on the Twins and Minnesota still likely stomps all over the Sox last night. Freddy’s junktacular bag of tricks was hanging all around the plate.
The bigger issue is in the previous series where just one hitter could’ve been the difference between losing 3 of 4 and winning 3 of 4.
Alas, there’s still quite a few games left on the schedule and we should be used to this rollercoaster divisional race by now.

ricksch

Just wanted to add that it’s nice that you can read about what’s really going on with this team somewhere, because the local press and their happy horseshit are a huge waste of time.
Cowley seems to have a clue, but too often seems to muzzle himself. Gonzalez is a homer, kiss-ass, Van Dyke really doesn’t say much of anything and columnists like Isaacson are either irrelevant or way too late with their observations.
Is Ozzie and Kenny care about or want to know what real Sox fans think, they should read this string. I doubt that either will own up to the huge mistakes they made this year, but I’m sick of the local press lapping up their assinine excuses and just as dad-gum tired of Homer Hawk manufacturing them.

ricksch

That’s called boxing yourself into a corner and the Sox have done it magnificently this year.
BTW — Is keeping Teahen down for an extended rehab Kenny’s way of admitting the disaster of signing that bag of crap?
Even with Viciedo swinging out of his shoes and without a walk in 75ABs, this inexperienced, no-glove kid is up and Teabag’s down? At least Teahen could take some of Kotsay’s ABs.

ricksch

I’m thinking of Teahen as more of a DH and relief for Paulie at first. Maybe he plays three games at third to spell Omar. I just hope Vizquel stays healthy, but something tells me he’s relishing playing this time of year. And, of course Hawk reminds us daily he’s in the best shape of anyone on the team.

lorenzobandini

Wasn’t it enough to simply be sick of Thome? I really didn’t ever want to see him in a Sox jersey again. I just never had the love.
The problem isn’t Thome or not Thome. The problem is Andruw Jones. Kenny should have met the plane back from Baltimore on Monday night and cut him before he reached the end of the jetway.
His at-bat in the 9th was horrible. Worse than horrible…. unacceptable.