Reading Room: After Gold snub, Ramirez settles for Silver

Alexei doesn't leave awards season empty-handed, and his wallet figures to get fatter, too.

Alexei Ramirez didn’t leave the awards season empty-handed. He might have been snubbed in the Gold Glove voting, but he came away with his first Silver Slugger Award on Thursday.
But with the good news came the somewhat bad news I’d forgotten about — it gives Ramirez another reason to opt out of the $1.1 million he’s set to earn in 2011, and enter arbitration instead. The Sox can then exercise a club option for $2.75 million. Both decisions are expected to happen, and CSNChicago.com’s Brett Ballantini ponders the idea of an extension.
At any rate, Ramirez’s raise won’t make him any less of a bargain, but it does give the Sox a little less operating room for 2011.
Speaking of which…
*Ken Rosenthal had a lot of White Sox notes in his latest column, and two of three make sense:
No. 1: He calls Arizona a longshot to sign Paul Konerko, which seems right. As great as it would be for Konerko to sleep in his own bed half the season, it doesn’t make enough sense on either side. It would basically be pre-retirement retirement for Konerko, and he’d block Brandon Allen, who is flawed but deserves a chance.
No.2: He thinks the Sox should offer arbitration to A.J. Pierzynski, because a one-year contract would be an OK way to buy time, and Pierzynski will get two-year offers elsewhere. And if you’re keeping track, he describes Tyler Flowers as a guy “who has regressed offensively while improving his defense.” That basically gives more credence to the notion that all concepts of Flowers’ true defensive ability, positive and negative, should be ignored.
No. 3: He says the Sox are checking into Rafael Soriano, which also seems like it should be ignored. He’s the cream of the closer crop, and Scott Boras is representing him.
*MLB Trade Rumors overreacted just a little bit to the idea that Kenny Williams is listening to offers for Gordon Beckham, coming up with a detailed list of potential suitors for his services. Not that it can’t be used for other purposes.
Considering Kenny Williams always says nobody on his team is untouchable and he’ll listen to anything, this seems like a huge reach. ESPN.com’s Keith Law agreed in his chat:

That rumor felt very unlikely to me – all I’ve heard from CWS and people plugged in there is that they love him. And they should. Given how they stuck with him this year when he was struggling, I have to think that what I’ve heard is true.

J.J. at White Sox Examiner has some thoughts on the issue, and it all reminds me of what Williams said about Brandon McCarthy after he dealt him to Texas for John Danks before Christmas of 2006.

“For the right deal, I think you can find a match for anyone,” said Williams during a Saturday afternoon conference call. “So you never want to use the word untouchable. We have guys close to being untouchable, where we have to be bowled over to make a move. In our minds, we were bowled over.”

Beckham’s coming off a down year, but being bowled over for Beckham would probably have to involve somebody who is even more highly regarded than Danks was at that time.
*Ozzie Guillen said in a radio interview that he’s preparing to move on without Konerko and Pierzynski, and his relationship with Kenny Williams is fine, although it will probably never be as great as it once was.
*Doug Padilla thinks Jerry Reinsdorf’s relationship with Konerko will allow the Sox every opportunity to match other offers.
*Scott Merkin details the factors in Konerko’s free agency pursuits, and recounts that Mark Buehrle thinks Konerko is less likely to return to Chicago than Pierzynski.
*Ballantini offers his list of the 10 most irreplaceable — not untouchable, of course — White Sox.
*White Sox Observer rolls along with a Dayan Viciedo review.
*Jermaine Dye wants to play again, and maybe due to the way his side mis-sold himself last year, he’s going agentless in negotiations.
********************************
Arizona Fall League:

  • Peoria Javelinas 9, Peoria Saguaros 4
    • Charles Leesman allowed two runs on two hits and three walks over 1 1/3 innings, striking out two.
    • Jason Bour went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
    • Henry Mabee pitched two innings, allowing a run on a hit and two walks. He struck out one.
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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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striker

I’d love to extend Ramirez. It would cost us more in the short run but save us money in the long run.
The first domino in my offseason plan has fallen 🙂
http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/story/14279145/mets-beltran-would-consider-waiving-notrade-clause/rss

soxfan1

Alexi won the right award. The stats posted yesterday don’t include the many mental errors he still makes (forgetting to cover 2B, cutoff mistakes, etc). The voters don’t like to award dumb ballplayers like Alexi. Jeter is just the opposite, a very smart shortstop.

bigfun

The award is for the best fielder, not the one who makes the fewest mistakes. Ramirez created far more outs and saved far more runs than Jeter did.

sars

still insane, i see. does this sort of conviction extend to other things in your life, too?

marshlands

It’s almost too bad Jeter is such a genius then, because he can’t get to a single fucking ball, which makes his intellect useless.

David

If CWS interest in Rasmus is real I didn’t see a match that didn’t include Beckham.
Beckhamv + 1 mid prospect would probably be the price.
Rasmus is under control for 4 more years, Beckham for 5.

sars

i like beckham. so much that the thought of trading him is a bummer. i’d trade him for rasmus in a heartbeat.

brittburnsfan

It might take a bit more than that even? Depends upon the seriousness of any rift that might or might not exist between Rasmus and the organization/LaRussa. He could be a heckuva ballplayer for sure.

knoxfire30

I get down on his boneheaded play, but Alexei might be the best overall signing KW has ever made, he is quite a bargain.
Huge Beckham over reactions, go on mlbtr and you would think he is a replacement level player. Everyone has ignored the fact the guy has extremely limited pro experience, hell he only played like 55 minor league freaking games, he shot through the minors like a meteor and was suppose to be a leader of a contending team? All while switching positions 3 times, he was asked to do to much a sophmore slump should have been expected. Everyone needs to calm down about beckham he is still going to be a stud, expect a big 2011.
AJ- “is going to get several 2 year deals?” good luck with that

knoxfire30

I still like trying to get soriano, i want a lock down bullpen. I understand paying for saves can backfire and dealing with boras isnt easy but teams have been real queit about soriano, maybe the sox can sneak in with a solid offer.

buford

Signing Soriano includes losing our 1st round draft choice. Re-signing Putz doesn’t.

knoxfire30

Like I said yesterday I want both. Soriano closes, innings 6-8 you have sale and thornton from the left, putz and santos from the right, thats devastating.

knoxfire30

We regain that draft pick if konerko goes and its not like we value picks or prospects that much on the south side.

sars

relievers contribute 60 innings to a major league team. did you see what the twins did last year WITHOUT joe nathan? it doesn’t matter. sign putz, and invest in a team that can hit baseballs. right now, the sox don’t have that.

knoxfire30

that same twins team realized the importance of a bullpen and acquired brian fuentes and matt capps for their stretch run!

sars

so you’re telling me that they blew the AL central out of the water because of a trade deadline acquisition that performed at an ok level and a waiver pick-up? in 38.1 ip with the angels, fuentes was worth 0.1 WAR. in 18 ip with the twins, he was worth 0.3 WAR. capps was worth 1.2 WAR all season. jon rauch? 1.1. you think the twins won because of two deadline acquisitions they obviously didn’t need to make?
your posts have become noticeably more “sabr” in the past year…you need to realize that relief pitchers just aren’t worth the investment. there’s no magic pixie dust that comes with being a good relief pitcher. the white sox need a big dude that gets on base and hits home runs. not a guy that pitches once or twice a week and gets three outs a game.

brittburnsfan

I felt bad for JD last year. Not that he tore it up in his last season with the White Sox but I thought he certainly could have fit in with some organization. The biggest reason I felt bad for him because he didn’t come across well last winter via the media. He seemed arrogant and overvaluing himself. That certainly wasn’t the JD that played on the South Side so maybe it was his representation. Hope someone gives him a shot!

buford

AZ GM Towers is already on record saying that he will look outside the organization for his 1B.
Not only will AJ receive several 2-year deals because of the catching supply vs. demand situation, he could receive a 3-year deal when his durability is factored in.

bigfun

I don’t see a supply/demand situation. Catcher is one of the deeper free agent positions this year.

buford

There are 14 catchers available in free agency. Only 4 are full-time starters (Martinez, Buck, AJ and Ramon Hernandez). The rest are back-ups/platoon catchers.
Teams on record saying they need a full-time starting catcher – Sea, SD, FL, Dodgers, Det, Col, Tor, Bos, Tex, Cin.

bigfun

There were only seven catchers last year that qualified for the batting title (“starters”). Every year two-thirds of teams make due with back-up/platoon guys.
You might not consider Yorvit Torrealba a “starting” catcher but plenty of teams would be happy to start him for the bulk of their innings rather than give a 34-year-old coming off one of his worst seasons a three-year contract.

buford

“Every year two-thirds of teams make due with back-up/platoon guys.”
“Make due” is a perfect description. Once the good catchers are taken, what’s left but back-up/platoon types. Given a choice, teams would rather have the good catcher. There just aren’t many of those good catchers to go around.
Torrealba vs. AJ – Let’s see what happens.

bigfun

Yeah, but why would teams pay him for his past goodness? He’s coming off of a bad year and at his age there’s a good chance that’s the start of a permanent decline.
I would gladly take one year of Torrealba over three years of A.J. Pierzynski. A.J. will probably get two years, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he had to settle for one.

knoxfire30

tons of mediocre catchers are available, if anything their is a surplus at catcher this offseason
again, aj’s durabilty only matters if he plays at a pace above replacement level, the last 4 years he has been around a 1.3-2.5 WAR player, so he is basically a little above replacement level, last year he was a 1.8 in 5 times the amount of games that it took ramon castro to be a 1.1 WAR player…
3 years is insane for aj.

buford

“aj’s durabilty only matters if he plays at a pace above replacement level”
“the last 4 years he has been around a 1.3-2.5 WAR player”
Conclusion: AJ is an above replacement level player with durability. And at a premium position which is physically demanding.
Alternatives to AJ include “tons of mediocre catchers” who do not have a 1.3-2.5 WAR over the past 4 years.
Therefore, AJ will receive multi-year contract offers up to 3-year.
Thanks for proving my point.

sars

AJ’s only contribution to the position is his health, though. he’s not a defense stalwart and he’s surely not an asset with the bat. i think WAR is difficult to peg with catchers simply because health and the adjustment that comes with valuing the position is so heavily weighted. at literally any other position, AJ is a below-replacement player.

buford

Here is something we can agree upon:
1- All 30 teams need a catcher.
2- There are not 30 catchers with both above average offensive/defensive skills.
3-You take the best catcher available -warts and all.
For example, Texas had interest in AJ earlier this year. Why? I assume they thought his positives outweighed his negatives.
Since catching is a difficult position to fill, teams will pay a premium.
Especially for a catcher who can “steal” first base in a playoff game.

sars

it’s a distribution of resources, though, not “well he’s available, so we might as well.” you can have tyler flowers for the league minimum, or you can have AJ, coming off his worst year at the major league level with a diminishing skill set that’s never produced much offensive value in the first place.
i, for one, can’t evaluate catching defense the way many others claim they can. i don’t think hawk harrelson can, i don’t think you can, and i don’t think metrics can. it’s a mostly-stationary position that requires nothing more than durability.

fustercluck

Holy shit, did SARS just boil down “excellent defensive catcher” to mean “warm body”? No credit for measuring the ability to catch/block pitches or make quick, accurate throws?

sars

how often does another team “run wild,” a la what happened to matt lecroy a few years back? if you’re a major league catcher and a decent athlete, it’s just as much the pitchers deliveries as it is the catchers arm strength. just to focus on the subject; AJ’s got a career CS% of 25%, so it’s not like he’s even helping in that department, which leaves pitch blocking.
my point is that to sign AJ to a two, three, and even a one year contract is foolish with the money he’ll demand, his extreme ineffectiveness offense, and the fact that the white sox need a whole hell of a lot more than just a catcher who can catch 135 games. you honestly believe this team would be noticeably worse if they just platoon flowers and castro?
it feels crazy that i need to argue against an offensively inept catcher coming off the WORST season of his career, with a lower wOBA than yuniesky betancourt.

melidoperez

What is Dye doing? You turn your nose up at offers that are “beneath” you (market value), and now he is going to try to get a job after sitting out a year without an agent? You know what they say about the man who represents himself.

buford

“i, for one, can’t evaluate catching defense the way many others claim they can. i don’t think hawk harrelson can, i don’t think you can, and i don’t think metrics can. it’s a mostly-stationary position that requires nothing more than durability.”
“AJ’s only contribution to the position is his health.”
You don’t rely on metrics. Your only catching requirement is durability. And AJ has a history of durability.
Since AJ is not one of your favorites, what else determines the value of a catcher?

sars

those are separate points. i’m not saying that the ability to stay healthy is the only thing we should evaluate catchers on. since pitchers seem to get injured a lot. probably more so than any other position in sports, should the white sox only acquire pitchers that stay healthy? i wonder if lance broadway is hanging around….he could probably give the sox 200 innings…
defensive metrics have a lot of problems and contain a lot of noise. getting on base is objective…the catch andruw jones just made in right may or may not have been difficult. more difficult if CQ was out there…perhaps less difficult if rios were there. catcher is even more difficult.
the white sox threw 59 WPs as a team last year. if we’re generous and multiply that number by 3.5 and say the sox threw 207 pitches that could’ve been wild, a little over 1.2 a game. AJ saw, what, maybe 125 of those? obviously this is all very rough, but how can you evaluate that and it’s overall value to a team’s win probability?

buford

We must be posting on different frequencies because I just don’t understand your reply to my question. Sorry.
Trying again.
The majority of catchers aren’t great hitters and pretty much fall into the same offensive bucket.
I looked at Torrealba’s offensive numbers and there is no appreciable difference with AJ’s numbers. And Torrealba’s future numbers are just as apt to fall off a cliff as AJ’s or any other player whose is on the wrong side of 30.
To say AJ’s numbers will fall off but other catchers’ numbers won’t is just rationalizing your position.
That leaves us with defensive ability. If defensive metrics are problematical to you, that’s OK. But then, what do you have at your disposal to determine a catcher’s defensive value?
You keep mentioning what’s wrong and therefore unusable. I’m looking for what’s right and therefore usable.
I go back to my original question “What determines the value of a catcher?”

bigfun

And Torrealba’s future numbers are just as apt to fall off a cliff as AJ’s or any other player whose is on the wrong side of 30. To say AJ’s numbers will fall off but other catchers’ numbers won’t is just rationalizing your position.
That might be true, but if you get Torrealba for one year and Pierzynski for three years, the downside of Torrealba falling off is much, much lower.

sars

baseball is multifaceted; the ideal is to get a player who excels offensively, defensively, and has good “make-up” (i.e. not elijah dukes, john rocker). if player a is good at none of those things, since AJ is kind of a douche B-)…why should we sign him for his health alone?
that’s going to mean a multi-year deal (maybe) and more money than what it would cost to just play available alternatives (castro, flowers, league-average catcher that doesn’t cost $$$).
even if you want to play the this is a “win-now” team, tyler flowers is at least a 1.5+ win player if all he does is stay healthy, too.

buford

Here is Keith Law’s sarcastic response to the rumor of the White Sox acquiring closer Soriano:
“Because, you know, when your farm system is near the bottom of the rankings, it’s a great idea to give up a 1st round pick for a 65-inning reliever who gets hurt a lot.”

winningugly

FKL.

buford

Law certainly has an attitude, but he knows baseball. I would rather read him than babbling fools like Cowley, Rogers, Van Dyke.

carbiner

From what I’ve heard him say and read Keith Law thinks the White Sox are a bottom third team in the AL, I’m sure after they turned it around midseason he was none too pleased. Teams that are worse than than the White Sox according to KLaw: Indians, Royals, and the Orioles. That’s it. Maybe the Mariners hype machine won’t go nuts again this year but I doubt it.

winningugly

Jim, that is my favorite WS picture of the season, if not almost all-time. (For reasons obvious to only me and you, I bet.) Great job. You still need to top the Che T-shirt. Or at least try.

winningugly

Heh. Though I’d bet you weren’t sure Che would be around 3 years from when you were inspired to do that image.