Starting lineups for the 1980s, 2011

Today's offseason plan inspired me to look at which White Sox "stars" of the late 1980s were worthy of molded plastic.

If you ever want to get an idea of how bland the White Sox of the late 1980s were, look no further than the list of players who were immortalized in the form of a Starting Lineup figurine:

This can be had on eBay for $49, not including shipping.
  • Harold Baines
  • Carlton Fisk
  • Ozzie Guillen

They could have stopped there. They should have stopped there. They did not.

  • Ozzie Guillen
  • Greg Walker
  • Ivan Calderon
  • Bobby Thigpen (before he set the save record!)
  • Gary Redus (who, as I recall, looked 60 at age 30)
  • Bobby Thigpen
  • Dan Pasqua

There’s one more player, and he happens to supply the next offseason plan. (It could be somebody just assuming his name because they admired his hair, but as Mr. T says, it’s fun to pretend.)

MelidoPerez’s 2011 White Sox offseason plan

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 only offer arbitration to Putz out of the four guys listed.  I recognize, as all Sox fans do, what Paul Konerko has meant to this team.  However, Konerko has one time in the last four seasons had a year that would justify the likely $13-14 million he would get as an arbitration case if he accepted.  The Sox simply have too many needs and too little flexibility for this money to all be put towards retaining Konerko, should he choose to accept it.  No thought to Manny, and A.J. would not be worth the risk as his production was nowhere near his salary.
2) Would you pick up Ramon Castro’s $1.2 million option for 2011, or buy him out for $200,000?
I would pick up Castro’s option. He’s a solid backup who should have gotten a little more play this year in my opinion.
CLUB CONTROL (explain if warranted)
3) One-year contract for John Danks?  If not, what would you pay to extend him?
I would try to lock up Danks for the three-year deal many have mentioned.  I would attempt to have the deal the lightest in 2011, giving the Sox the most flexibility this year.   Maybe something like $4M/$12M/$12M.  The reason being that Mark Buehrle/Edwin Jackson/Scott Linebrink/Juan Pierre, etc. will all be coming off the books next year.
4) Would you tender a contract to Bobby Jenks?
Non-tendered, for obvious reasons.
6) Would you tender a contract to Carlos Quentin?
I would try to trade Quentin for any kind of minor-league depth.
7) Would you tender a contract to Tony Pena?
I would offer him a deal, as he provides some kind of insurance with his versatility.
FREE AGENCY: WHITE SOX
8) Which of the following impending White Sox free agents would you attempt to re-sign, and at what price:

  • Paul Konerko
  • A.J. Pierzynski
  • J.J. Putz
  • Manny Ramirez
  • Omar Vizquel
  • Andruw Jones
  • Freddy Garcia
  • Mark Kotsay

The only White Sox free agents I would want back are Putz and Andruw.  Putz could be part of the closing situation, but not promised any role.  Maybe $5 million brings him back.  I would offer Jones $2 million as well.  Jones would not be a starter of any kind, but would platoon in right field with Teahen if he is still here, and provides good insurance as he can play all three OF spots.
FREE AGENCY: OUTSIDE HELP
9) Which positions are in the most dire need of an upgrade?
I would like to see the Sox use the $13-15 million that would have been dedicated to Konerko and spend that on the first base/DH situation.
10) Name three (or more) free agents you’d consider, and at what price.
There are a decent batch of free-agent left-handed hitters that could fill these spots, and a couple are good buy-low candidates.  So signing a couple of the Lance Berkman/Carlos Pena/Adam LaRoche/Jack Cust types on one-year deals would be the way I would be looking to go. ($6-8 million for the first three, and Cust could probably be had for $3M or 4M).  These guys have proven to be solid lefty hitters and restoring value in a home run park like the Cell might be an attractive option.
Signing two of these guys would also provide some of that flexibility the Sox were looking for last year, but the difference is they actually can all hit and get on base.  Cust is by no means good in the outfield, but is passable and could be thrown out there every once in a while.
TRADES
11) Name a couple (or more) realistic trades that could improve the Sox.
Two ideas here.  The first is to try to swing a deal for Mike Napoli of the Angels.  He is arb-eligible, but the Angels are said to be looking to dump him and the ~$6-7 million he will make. They don’t like his defense, they have Conger ready, and they are looking to trim fat to make a run at Carl Crawford and/or Adrian Beltre.  Napoli is a career 118 OPS+ bat, and we are already accustomed to mediocre D behind the plate. Napoli also played 70 games at first with decent results, and could be used as one of the 1B/DH guys.  Napoli could also be used as a Victor Martinez type at catcher, first or DH should Tyler Flowers get his stroke back.
The other trade is a garbage for garbage swap that makes a bit of sense.  The Sox send Teahen and Linebrink to the Cubs for Kosuke Fukudome.  Liney is obviously better suited to the NL and out of the bandbox Cell, and Teahen’s versatility would help with Derrek Lee gone, Aramis Ramirez always injured, Josh Vitters not ready, etc.  Fukudome is not a great everyday player by any means, but he has a +5.7 UZR in right field for his career, and has a .368 career OBP.  He would take Teahen’s place in RF and Jones would still be the caddy against left handers.  Cubs would be taking on around $1.5 million, but gain a little short-term flexibility since Teahen is spread over two years.  This would be why I was advocating back-loading people like Danks.


SUMMARY
12) Sum it all up in a paragraph or nine, and give a ballpark estimate of the total payroll.
With this type of plan, you might have a lineup that looks something like:
1. Pierre LF
2. Ramirez SS
3. Rios CF
4. Berkman or Pena 1B
5. Napoli C
6. Cust DH
7. Beckham 2B
8. Fukudome RF
9. Morel 3B
If you went by name recognition, it doesn’t look that good, but this lineup would have good lefty-righty balance, pretty good speed, and a 3-4-5 who would combine to hit 80-90 homers and get on base at a much better rate than last year.
The other real positive is that a lineup like this would feature plus defenders at basically every infield and outfield position (with the exception of Beckham, who was barely below average, and I think will show a bit more improvement).  I would kind of compare it to the philosophy of the Rays, whose lineup on paper doesn’t look like anything (besides Evan Longoria) but has guys who can take walks, run pretty well, and all do a great job of catching the ball.
This plan also allows for some flexibility for the future.  If the first bash and DH positions were settled for one-year deals, that leaves a ton of money coming off the books next year, when combined with all the other guys up for free agency.  Then the Sox would be in a position to get involved in the Albert Pujols/Adrian Gonzalez/Prince Fielder free agency and come up with a long-term solution.
Sincerely, MelidoPerez
**************************
Note: Due to travel, tomorrow’s plan will be up sometime in the afternoon.

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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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jimbo

Best plan so far this season. With the sox pitching next year, I like the idea of shoring up the defense. I might go after LaRoche ahead of Pena or Berkman for this reason.

onlysoxfaninboston

I’m confused about your plan for 1). If you don’t ultimately want to resign or have back Konerko, AJ, or Manny in 2011, wouldn’t you rather offer them arbitration, and hope they decline so the Sox receive compensation picks?
I would offer arbitration to Konerko and AJ, because I think they could find better offers elsewhere. I wouldn’t offer Manny arb, because arb could be better than FA offers.

alwayssox

I think it’s the ‘hope’ that is the problem. If he takes it then you are stuck with his contract and have few resources for any other moves.
They must have a better sense of this than we do. For instance, if they are convinced he only wants to go to Arizona, then it is possible if he doesn’t get a suitable offer there, he may take the Sox up on a 1 yr deal knowing he goes back to free agency next year.

striker

That is a really high obp, LH/RH balanced and good defensive lineup.
Picking up Fukudome is an interesting idea.

soxfan1

Interesting bad idea. Cub Factor should be zero, not one.

dalton

I’m not ready to give up on Quentin. I think he can still be a consistent 30/100 guy, if he can stay healthy. Who on the Sox is tall and crappy at baseball? Maybe we can trade him to the Phoenix Suns for a member or two of their training staff and they can work their magic on Carlos… They worked wonders with Shaq and look how healthy Grant Hill and Steve Nash have been…

bigfun

Pretty good plan. But yeah, a guy in Konerko’s situation will almost never accept arbitration coming off a career year. He is sure to get at least two years, possibly three, and maybe twice as much money on the market.

knoxfire30

Not offering Konerko is like a Poker player folding a Pair of kings after the flop comes out, king, five, nine, all out suites. There is ZERO percent chance that happens, PK is at a minimum getting arbitration.
I understand payroll is tight, but this flexibility word is getting thrown out a lot, and its being miss used, if you have 13 million bucks and you use it wisely AKA Konerko on a 1 year deal, you have had a great offseason, if you use that same 13 million on Fukydome and Berkman you have likely had a terrible offseason.
As I pointed out in my plan, a 1 year deal on Konerko (which again I think is amazingly unlikely) gives you a very good 1st basemen in 2011, and leaves the door wide open on 2012 when 2 or 3 SUPERSTAR first basemen may become available. Why settle for dunn, berkman, pena, types who will likely require multiple years.
Napoli reamins a very intersting idea, tons of power potential behind the dish and he could obviously DH quite a bit maybe even play some 1b.
Fukydome in a move for two of our bad contracts is a nice idea, but if its anything but a swapping of bad contracts I dont want him.

dalton

Pujols isn’t going anywhere. That guy is a Cardinal for life.
Gonzalez and Fielder will wind up in Boston or with the Yankees, possibly the Mets. I just don’t see that type of “big name” heading to the White Sox (though I’d love to have Gonzo).
If Paulie walks, I’d rather they go after Dunn and lock up a lefty slugger for multiple years.

knoxfire30

yanks have texeria, mets have ike davis who they are very high on so… i still think the sox have a shot at prince or agon,
lot of money coming off the books for 2012 and the sox will be involved for talks to get a game changing left handed bat

dalton

Getting Gonzalez would be immense.

melidoperez

Hearing the rumblings now that there may be mutual interest with Az/Konerko it may be the move to do.
As far as the others, I think Dunn is the only guy that will require multiple years. Pena hit .200 and Berkman was way below his usual levels. I would think those guys may be looking to do what Beltre and Vlad did and reestablish value with a one year deal. And if you were doing that, the Cell would be an ideal spot.

David

I like the Fuko idea except the Cubs would be taking on more money long term in the deal (but saving them $3.75 in 2011) and it’s pretty clear that money is tight on the North Side.
DK

john

I haven’t collected Starting Line-up figures in years…I can’t believe someone is really trying to sling a Melido Perez for $50.

Shinons

Just curious, are there any examples of a guy like Konerko who have ever even accepted arbitration? I’d be curious the outcome…

melidoperez

Can’t remember one. It is unique to have an older player put up that good of a year but still be doubted because of age. I remember there was a big debate about the Yanks keeping Abreu. At 34, Abreu hit 20 homers/100 RBI/22 steals and 296/371/471. He had made 15 mil I think, and the despite those numbers, he was not offered arb. You would think those numbers would have gotten a multi year deal too, but he signed a 1 year deal for $5 million. His year to year production seems a little more consistent than Paulie’s.

ricksch

I like the bad contracts trade. What a joy to be rid of Teahen and Linestink! Fukodome is vastly overpaid of course, but at least has some skills. I’d rather have Konerko AND maybe a Berkman/Cust/Scott guy than your configuration.
Still don’t get why anyone wants Tony Pena — he’s gotten worse and worse since his “banner year” of ’07. Last year’s 5.10 ERA and 1.52 WHIP are godawful. His walk ratio rose as well. Should we put him in the Hall for the garbage-time innings he scooped up at season’s end? The year was over and no one we played in those weeks was anywhere near the playoffs. Dump Pena Kenny. Please!

3oooooooo

Just when you thought the Linebrink contract couldn’t get any worse, he was given a no-trade clause as well.

alwayssox

Thanks. I think this is one of the most reasonable plans.
FWIW, an idea for Jim to consider for the future: it might be useful to include a general statement of what someone is trying to achieve with their plan. e.g, win it all next year, build a team to be competitive for the next 2-3 years, rebuild entirely, etc. It might even be interesting to see plans representing several strategies. Just a thought…

brettdavis

I like the Napoli idea in the event that Konerko doesn’t return. But you have to admit that a lineup with Pena, Napoli, Cust, and Fukudome would never move runners and strike out a ton. Plus, Berkman didn’t want to come here in July, and he seems washed up. The idea on defense is a fine one, but in our park, if you don’t have mashers, you can forget winning. The point of these plans should be to win in 2011, not save money for 2012.

lanuters

I like this plan the best with one exception…
Konerko
… I still think he can play and I think we can get him for a good price. Cust is a great call. I even like the deal for Fukudome – plus I think it is very possible.
Berkman won’t come though. He demonstrated that this year when he nixed coming to the Sox. Plus, if you don’t like Quentin’s .220 avg plus power and RBIs then why do you like Carlos Pena’s .220 average plus power and RBIs? I like that lineup with Paulie in it a lot more.

Shinons

“Berkman won’t come though. He demonstrated that this year when he nixed coming to the Sox.”
Oh, the only thing that demonstrates is that on July 31 he liked the Yankees’ chances at a World Series better than the White Sox’s.

melidoperez

And that he didn’t have anybody on the Sox that he was as tight with as Petitte, who was on the Yanks.

melidoperez

I like Pena a bit more than Quentin because he plays 140+ games a year and is not always banged up, plays at least average D as opposed to Quentin being one of the worst 4 or 5 fielders in all of baseball, and because he would bust up the string of right handed hitters in our lineup. The Sox currently have one left handed hitter (Juan Pierre!) under contract.