Guillen's saturation point, and Plan No. 12

With a new blog and a website on the way, it's fair to ask when Ozzie Guillen becomes too much of a good thing.

Now that he has launched his MLBlog, the roll-out for the Ozzie Guillen Internet King empire continues with OzzieGuillen.com, which will be ready by SoxFest on Jan. 21-23. The details:

Content on the Web site will be reviewed by MLB before it is posted. The content will not include any inside tips on the Sox, but promises to provide as much current information as possible to keep fans informed.
Content will be provided in English and Spanish and will be handled by Guillen’s sons. Although the content will be written by the sons, the opinions expressed are exclusively those of Guillen.

It’s going to be interesting to watch Guillen’s interactive tentacles in action, and not just because of the looming conflict with Kenny Williams.
First of all, I wonder if he’s going to be able to maintain interest. He grew bored with Twitter before the All-Star break, though it was revived around September as the rest of the Guillen campaign started to take shape. Right now, he’s probably only writing half of them, judging by the increased attention to correct spelling and punctuation.
The cleaner tweets have now led to an MLB-approved blog, which is living up to the interactive portion, but not in an interesting way, yet. That will be in place until Guillen’s MLB-approved website is live, and that has the potential to be even more sanitary.
Following the progress of Guillen’s internet ventures, I’m seeing a trend that I think could dull Guillen’s edge. Guillen is a remarkable figure because he’s excessively candid in a culture that threatens to deplete the world’s surplus of cliches.
His usage of Twitter didn’t hurt anybody. It was mainly used as a way for Guillen to get free swag, but with the random nature and the spelling/syntax issues (“Comcast come true”), it was still very much his voice.
Based on what we’ve seen so far with an edited approach, it’s sanitary. Too sanitary.
And maybe that’s good for the Guillen family’s finances. Maybe it seems like it’s spreading thin to me, but it could be more palatable to the public, making him an even more recognizable. It worked for Kings of Leon and Wilco.
The creative side of me thinks it’s like The Who going with Kenney Jones after Keith Moon’s death. Pete Townshend finally got a drummer who could play in time signatures besides 4/4 and didn’t consider the hi-hat a sign of weakness, but he didn’t come close to producing the combination of energy, aggression and comedy coming out of Moon’s kit. The result was a band that had The Who name, but didn’t sound much like them.
Either way, I think we can assume it will seemed forced. By carving out a brand name for himself, he’s going from a guy who didn’t care if he got attention to being a guy who gets attention because he needs it.
Whichever the case, it will only work if Guillen piles up winning seasons. If he’s thrusting himself onto the public with a team that makes the postseason, he’s a True Original and an Innovator. Without the success, he’s just a guy who talks too much.
********************************
Our 12th plan comes courtesy of NoNeck. I’ve illustrated the lack of neck to the right. If there’s one theme to this one, it’s faith in the incumbents. The Democrats could have used more guys like him (*golf swing*).
MUST-MAKE DECISIONS
1) Would you offer arbitration to:

  • A.J. Pierzynski? (Type A)
  • Paul Konerko? (Type A)
  • Manny Ramirez? (Type A)
  • J.J. Putz (Type B)

I would offer arbitration to A.J., Konerko and Putz. However, I would try to work out a longer deal for Paulie and Putz especially. It can’t hurt to have A.J. one more year.
2) Would you pick up Ramon Castro’s $1.2 million option for 2011, or buy him out for $200,000?
Pick up Castro’s option. I have no confidence in Tyler Flowers on either side of the ball.
CLUB CONTROL (explain if warranted)
3) One-year contract for John Danks?  If not, what would you pay to extend him?
Definitely try to extend Danks. I’d go for a four-year deal for $36 million.
4) Would you tender a contract to Bobby Jenks?
Absolutely no to Big Bad Bobby. I love ya big guy; now scram.
5) Would you tender a contract to Carlos Quentin?
Yes, we have to keep Quentin. He could still come close to 2009 numbers again. He’s young and a solid team guy. He also could have decent trade value.
6) Would you tender a contract to Tony Pena?
No, I’d rather re-sign Garcia than Pena. It would be great if Freddy were open to being the long man / 6th starter.

FREE AGENCY: WHITE SOX

7) Which of the following impending White Sox free agents would you attempt to re-sign, and at what price:
*Paul Konerko: Three years, $30 million with a team option on the fourth year.
*A.J. Pierzynski: Two years, $10 million. The Sox have no good catching prospects and apparently don’t know what one looks like.
*J.J. Putz: Three years, $15 million. Install him as the closer to start the season. He could be a huge bargain.
*Manny Ramirez
*Omar Vizquel: One year, $1 million.
*Andruw Jones: One year, $3 million. He’s still the second best defensive outfielder they have. Unless they trade for true right fielder, they need him.
*Freddy Garcia: Two years, $7 million. Garcia is very valuable if he is not overused. He can’t make 30 starts, but he can throw 150 innings between the pen and the rotation.
*Mark Kotsay
FREE AGENCY: OUTSIDE HELP

8) Which positions are in the most dire need of an upgrade?

DH and third base are in most dire need of upgrade. Fortunately, I believe Morel will become even better than expected. The very solid D at third will really help the staff.
9) Name three (or more) free agents you’d consider, and at what price.
The Sox have few holes. I really believe that what cost the Sox the playoffs more than anything in 2010 was signing Mark Kotsay. It wasn’t his fault. He did what he does. But, by signing him the Sox refused to sign another left-handed bat that also plays first base and the outfield such as Aubrey Huff. Signing Huff for $3 million instead of Kotsay puts the Sox in the playoffs last year. He can play third base, first base, right and left field. It would have made the difference. I say –  do it now. Sign Huff for two years, $12 million.
TRADES
10) Name a couple (or more) realistic trades that could improve the Sox.
A trade that could improve the Sox would be if they could get someone to take 75 percent of Jake Peavy’s contract for a bag of balls. Oh, you said realistic. I would wait until June to make some trades. The Sox could have quite a bit of flexibility by then.
SUMMARY
And finally:
11) Sum it all up in a paragraph or nine, and give a ballpark estimate of the total payroll.
The fact is that the Sox offense was above average last year and the pitching wound up only being average as well as the defense. This offense would improve with the addition of Huff and rebound from Beckham and that assumes another subpar year from Carlos. The defense is better with Morel. However, the pitching is what will win the division for them:
John Danks, Peavy, Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd and Edwin Jackson
Chris Sale, Freddy Garcia, J.J. Putz, Sergio Santos, Scott Linebrink, Gregory Infante and Matt Thornton
Payroll has to rise to $ 115 million to pull this off, but the Sox need to stop trading prospects for a minute in order to both compete and develop cheaper talent. In 2012, they would be able to afford to drop payroll significantly while filling in with some quality young and ready talent.
********************************
While NoNeck wants to retain Pierzynski, the White Sox have yet to reach out to him. MLB Trade Rumors relays Pierzynski’s interview with Jim Bowden on Fox Sports Radio:

In an interview with Fox Sports Radio’s Jim Bowden today, A.J. Pierzynski said that the White Sox have not made him an offer to return to the club in 2011. (Twitter link)  Pierzynski doesn’t specify if the club has made any contact with him at all, and it’s worth noting that Chicago still has three days left of exclusive negotiating time for pending free agents.  Given that Pierzynski said he would like to keep playing in Chicago “but they are going to have to want him first,” however, it seems unlikely that the Sox have opened negotiations.

********************************
Arizona Fall League:

  • Peoria 8, Phoenix 0
    • Eduardo Escobar hit his third triple of the season during a 3-for-5, one-RBI day.
    • Jason Bour went 1-for-5 with a double, RBI and strikeout.
    • Henry Mabee threw two scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk.
Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
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: 3794
36 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
striker

I was actually thinking along the same lines for awhile. Kenny Williams likes to tinker alot. What happens if you just leave it alone, or just make minor modifications.
1. Konerko for more than 2 years is too risky for me.
2. Putz for more than one year is too risky for me. He is still injury prone. I’d rather gamble with one of the departing Toronto relievers.
3. I think people over value AJ. He has an OBP of .330. And is there any way to really measure is catching capabilities other than his defense? Does he really deserve credit for his pitchers doing well? I think knoxfire noted before that AJ gets alot of his pitches called from the dugout. At some point you have to take a gamble on your prospects and I’m willing to gamble on Flowers over AJ.

dalton

But can the Sox gamble on having Flowers’ and Morel’s bats in the line up on a daily basis? What if neither of them hit? It’s not like we had someone who raked at third this year, but the Sox offense would really sputter with two guys hovering between .200 – .230 all season with little pop and a lot of Ks. Especially if Q is back and continues to underperform and the DH isn’t shored up.
Going to be an interesting off-season. I’d like Chicago to dangle an offer in front of Adrian Beltre, and maybe offer Morel and Gavin Floyd to a team with a lefty bat with power at 1B or DH.

knoxfire30

Love Beltre’s defense, but his bat only comes alive while on roids and or in a contract year. Plus he is represented by Scott Boras and teams are already lining up to overpay him.

sars

his contract year with the mariners was awful and it’s been shown that people don’t play better “in a contract year.”

dalton

In what sport has this been conclusively shown?

sars

strikeouts are still just outs. there is no more negative value to a strikeout than a pop out or ground out.
and isn’t .200-230 with little pop EXACTLY what AJ did last year? guarantee you stick flowers at C and give him the same number of plate appearances you gave AJ, he’d double AJs home run total from last year.

dalton

But do you want that at C and 3B?
A ground out that advances a runner is better than a strikeout. Otherwise, agreed.

knoxfire30

For the most part these 12 plans have been semi similiar in a lot of aspects. The area I see the most panic seems to be related to AJ Pierzinski, Im not sure how many more arguements or stats I want to throw out there that will fall on def ears but AJ ISNT WORTH 6-7 MILLION DOLLARS, he isnt close to worth that.
I was very happy to see yesterday AJ already whining to a radio station that the sox havent approached him about a contract yet although they still have another couple days of exclusive negotiating time.
AJ was a great fit, now he is barely a mediocre fit, he should be happy if the sox offer 3 mil, if they go to 6 or 7 or offer two years, then AJ has committed a robbery.

bigfun

The Sox have no good catching prospects and apparently don’t know what one looks like.
I know the the mostly baseless hatred of Flowers has been discussed to death here, but what’s the beef with Gonzalez and Phegley?
Yes, we have to keep Quentin. He could still come close to 2009 numbers again.
Man I hope you mean 2008 numbers…

bigfun

They don’t have to exclusively bank on either, but both are too young to just give up on and sign a declining 34-year-old to a fat two-year deal.

ricksch

Everyone seems to have Morel penciled in at 3rd. I hope this isn’t a repeat of the Brian Anderson nightmare. Good field — no hit. I think Morel will be better than BA, but he’s rather unproven. At least Omar is there to back him up. Sox need to acquire another solid bench infielder, in case Morel ends up in AAA and Vizquel gets moved up to semi full-time. God help us if Teahen’s at third.
Sox need two lefty sticks with good OBP and at least one guy with some power. The lefty-right imbalance killed the line-up last year. Huff will probably stay in SF after winning the Series.
AJ deserves no more money than Castro IMO. I know he’ll get more, but let him get it elsewhere. AJ selfishly demands playing time, no matter how many weak grounders he chops to second on the 0-2. Tired of his act. As for his defense and brilliant handling of pitchers — well, he can’t throw anyone out and I think most veteran catchers know how to call a game.
Kenny needs to pull off a trade to get either Linestink or Teahen off the squad. It will be hard to unload either of those guys, but that’s where the skill of your GM comes in. Sox should eat some of Liney’s contract, or else they’ll end up eating it all for another bad year at the back of the pen.
Too many big “ifs” next year such as IF Peavy starts living up to his contract, IF Beckham returns to the promise of his rookie year and IF Morel can hang at third.
If we crap out on two of those, get ready for another mediocre year. I wasn’t fooled by the 88 wins. The team’s 8-2 finish was nice, but rather meaningless — as was the 6-1 record against the injury-depleated Red Sox.

knoxfire30

Im not sure which AJ arguement is my favorite.
1. He calls a great game and handles the staff well. (Yes looking to the dugout for pitch selection is tough)
or
2. AJ is unbelievably durable he never goes on the DL and that makes him extremely valueable. (Yes, he is durable, but no it doesnt add to his value when he produces replacement level numbers, thus if he was on the DL and we added a replacement the output would be very similiar!)

knoxfire30

not true, he calls some games, but he gets a ton of dugout help, break the film down he looks in a ton when guys arent on base

melidoperez

At this point I am ready to let AJ walk and make it a straight platoon with Flowers and Castro. Not necessarily because I think Flowers will be a stud right now, but because he can probably give you similar offensive production to AJ at the league minimum, and it will actually allow Castro to do what he was brought here to do, which is to be a good hitting catcher against lefties.
Ozzie like many people just gets too loyal, and nowhere is this more evident than with AJ. Castro has always hit lefties better than AJ (.792 OPS to .659), and continued to do so this year by a large margin. Unfortunately, Ozzie continued to trot an ineffective AJ out there against lefties, which undoubtedly cost the team.
Castro against LHP= 286/324/629
AJP against LHP= 250/294/348
Now the worst part. AJ did this in 121 plate appearances, and Castro did it in 38! If anyone has any explanation for this idiocy other than blind loyalty to AJ, I would love to see it.

dalton

I still can’t believe that Flowers only saw action in 8 games and had but 15 PAs. Way to go, Ozzie. I normally refrain from criticizing Guillen, but it made no sense how much he played AJ after Chicago was out of contention.
Castro hit one less HR than AJ – in 359 less AB. His walk rate – to no one’s surprise – is also much higher.
I’m not sure how well Castro’s numbers would hold up if he got as many PAs as AJ, but I’d like to see him catch 60 – 70 games, while giving the bulk of the time to Flowers.
I’ll say this much for AJ: He was a doubles machine (on a per AB basis compared to his teammates). I also appreciate the edge he brought to the club, especially during the ’05 season. Hated him when he was a Twink; loved him as a Sox.

paul

Morel has shown he can hit at every single level so far, and I think is a predicator for a much more productive future than what we saw for Brian Anderson. Omar and Lillibridge are our backup infielders, in that order. So I have no concerns about having a 3rd backup infielder at this point.
The Sox have probably already made up their mind as to whether they are going to attempt to resign AJ to a 1 year deal, or if they are going to platoon Flowers and Castro next year. At this point, it’s not that big of a deal either way, but I think they’re leaning more towards the latter than the former.
Obtaining/increasing production from the combination of the DH/RF spot is the most important thing this offseason, and there’s a few ways this could go down:
1. Trade Quentin, possibly in a package, for a new RF, sign a DH (such as Guerrero).
2. Sign a new RF, have Quentin mainly DH.
Also, moving Linebrink or Teahen is not very important. Yes, they are eating up some payroll, but you’re going to have to eat salary or accept bad contracts in return. I just don’t see how Kenny could get rid of either one in a manner that would be anything more than a very marginal improvement in a best case scenario. Look at it this way, at least this is Linebrink’s last year for sure!

bigfun

Morel has shown he can hit at every single level so far, and I think is a predicator for a much more productive future than what we saw for Brian Anderson.
But why? Anderson hit at every level too. At age 23 in AA and AAA, Morel hit .322/.359/.480. At age 23 in AAA, Anderson hit .295/.360/.469. Morel has not been an elite bat.
I’m definitely a fan of giving Morel and Flowers significant playing time and possibly making one or both regulars, but people should be prepared for the very real possibility that they flop like Anderson.

paul

In addition to what Jim said, Morel ended 2009 in A ball, and rose quickly through AA and AAA this year. He started out a little slow at each level, if my memory is correct, but quickly made adjustments (certainly at AAA) and ended up hitting well enough for him to be called up in September. So part of it is the fact that he has been able to make adjustments, and make them quickly, which is something Anderson clearly was not able to do. It gives me a lot more confidence in Morel to at least hit for an acceptable average while playing plus defense.
Morel’s definitely not a sure thing, but I think he’s certainly more promising that BA, and we have Omar to step in if/as necessary.
I really wish BA would have been able to adjust though, I really loved watching him in Center…

alwayssox

I am hopeful about Morel but many seem to think he is automatically the starting third baseman next year. I wouldn’t assume that.

ricksch

It seems like even those who want AJ back aren’t expecting much from him — so the smart play seems to be to allocate resources elsewhere.
I think Linebrink may have some value in a big NL park like Petco, where he can revisit his SD glory days. Any deal with SD would no doubt require paying at least half his contract. Couldn’t he be a minor part of a deal to get AGon? That could set up as a mid-season trade — though there will be lots of competition for his services.
The reason getting rid of Linebrink would be WORTH taking a hit is that it would help the Sox towards developing a 25-man roster, not a 22 1/2 -man roster like they started with last year. I mean, what’s the point of carrying seven relievers when two or three of them are garbage-time/unreliables? May as well have the extra position player — even though I’ve come to believe having seven pen arms is the way to go.
Trading Quentin is absolutely essential, ESPECIALLY if Konerko is signed.

sars

carlos quentin was the 2nd most productive hitter on the white sox last year. why would you trade him?

ricksch

First off, Quentin is a lousy right fielder. If that’s not obvious from watching him play, he has an outright horrible WAR rating over his entire career.
Secondly, he’s injury prone and has missed significant playing time every year he’s been on our roster. His best season, ’08, saw him ENDING HIS OWN SEASON — and potentially the team’s as well — with a self-inflicted wrist fracture.
Quentin’s “intensity” clearly had something to do with his wrist injury. This same “intensity” makes him unsuitable to DH — which forces Ozzie to put him in the field — where we know he sucks.
If the Sox are going to sign Konerko, the seem to have power from the right side with Paulie, Rios and even Ramirez. Also, at 35, you probably want to have Konerko DH more and more — obviating the need for Quentin to DH (even though he supposedly can’t DH anyhow.)
On the upside, Q’s RBIs are nice and there are always at least three or four weeks during the year when he’s scary dangerous. But I’d rather have a RF who can play his position and hit with a little more consistency. Even though he’s a Royal, DeJesus would be an ideal replacement, with his .360 lifetime OBP and good glove. He could hit second and makes better contact so he could move Pierre along. Add Paulie and a lefty DH at the level of a Luke Scott, and you have a really nice 1-5 — with Ramirez, Beckham, Castro and, I guess, Morel bringing up the rear.
Quentin’s talents are simply too limited. He’s been a bargain in terms of payroll up to this point, but now he’s going to be getting upwards of $4-5 mil. DeJesus gets $6m this year.

sars

until someone can prove to me that quentin can’t be an excellent DH, i refuse to believe otherwise. find me a quote where he or someone talks about him being too crazy to not play RF. no denying he’s an awful fielder…check these same posts going into last season and i’ve been the strongest advocate on the site of moving him to DH.
you can talk about 2008 all you want…it was an isolated incident. plenty of dudes react violently to poor ABs or shitty outings. not all of them get injured. he’s proven to be more of injury case than a head case over the last two seasons.
he was the 2nd best hitter on a somewhat offensively-challenged team last year. signing konerko and trading quentin are not mutually exclusive. dejesus’ wOBA bested quentin’s by a mere .007 points. dejesus had a career year. quentin had a mediocre one.
“moving the runner along” and “RBIs” aren’t indicators of talent. knocking the shit out of the ball is. add in a little luck and quentin is probably a true-talent .380 wOBA hitter.

sars

so a business that employs someone to do his job is doing one part too excessively and the other too poorly. it’s much easier to mitigate his obsessive tendencies to get in the cage than it is to teach a slow bastard how to play right field. limit the number of swings he’s allowed to take in the cage at a given time. isn’t he equally as fragile in the field when he gets awful reads and overcompensates, throwing his body all over the place?
i never played the game, so honestly i have no idea, but a playing totally unwilling to DH because he’s either too crazy or too fragile is just beyond me. i don’t pull this card too often, but he’s getting paid millions of dollars to do a job. when he does one so poorly (playing defense) and CAN do one so well (hit), why not force him to do the only thing he ‘s shown to be successful doing?

ricksch

I agree that Quentin SHOULD be able to DH, but if the dog won’t hunt, forcing him probably won’t work. I wonder what Quentin’s stats are in his limited starts at DH? DeJesus also hits with a little power and had 12 or 13 HRs in KC. That’s not bad — though admittedly we’d still need a DH — who should be a lefty who can pop 25-30 a year. Admittedly Quentin’s stronger and is exciting in those weeks when he’s hot — but the guy is really inconsistent and inflexible. The team was supposed to be built on pitching and fielding, but has some weak spots in both the infield (Beckham) and the outfield (Quentin). Beckham’s rated an average second and now that he’s had two years in a row at one position, he has a chance to get better. In addition, Beckham is still playing for peanuts. Quentin’s already hit his ceiling, such as it is, and he’s reached his arb years.
DeJesus’ bat control and regular contact consistute talent in my book. He’s put up nice offensive numbers for SEVERAL years. This is baseball, not home run derby. Quentin whiffs like the Mighty Thor, but so far he hasn’t hit at the level to compensate for his terrible defensive play. He’s just got too many freakin’ issues.

paul

I don’t think there’s any scenario in which Linebrink could included in a package for AGon. If San Diego is in the race, they will not trade AGon. If they are out of contention, they will only want prospects or useful, cost controlled players in return.
On the other side, Linebrink can certainly eat innings and pitch in lower leverage situations, giving him some legitimate use, albeit a significantly overpaid one.
Quentin could be used in a trade, perhaps for a RF, but I don’t see how it’s essential if Konerko gets resigned.

ricksch

You make some really good points about San Diego’s potential interest in a guy like Linebrink.
I was angling perhaps towards a reunion, as Liney had several solid years as a Padre. But it’s true, if SD drops out of contention, what good is Linebrink to them?
So lets include ANY NL club with a spacious park as a destination for this guy — who for the Sox would represent addition by subtraction.

buford

New AZ GM Kevin Towers said he wants to rebuild his bullpen. He had Linebrink previously in San Diego. We would have to eat some cash, but it might be a fit.

brettdavis

I really hope you are right. Getting rid of even 2 million of Linebrink’s contract would be a win-win, as he’s not going to pitch any worthwhile innings this year.

brettdavis

I really like this plan a lot. However, I don’t quite trust Putz to be the closer, as he blew some games down the stretch. Also, I’m not as big of a Huff fan. I’d rather trade for Luke Scott or sign Adam Dunn. And as for Pierzynski, I really trust Hawk Harrelson’s opinion of him. And even though I get sick and tired of no place discipline from AJ, I have seen him singlehandedly win a few big games for us over the years. Since we do not have any catching kids besides Flowers (who’s not trustworth), I think AJ back for one year would be a good gamble.

dalton

The first game I ever saw at US Cellular Field was in ’05 (I live in northern Michigan, and hadn’t made the trek to see the Sox in Chicago to that point, though I’d been a fan for 25 years, believe it or not. I often can’t.), Freddy pitched solid but we were down two in the 9th when AJ cracked a three-run HR to left. Exciting times.