Central Concerns: Nelson Cruz out, Cleveland Guardians in

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 26: Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) hits a solo home run in the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox on July 26, 2019 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire)

A couple days ago, the NBC Sports Chicago used a White Sox-Twins game to talk about Rod Carew and his magical 1977 season. He won the batting title by hitting .388, leading the league in runs, hits, triples and OBP as well, culminating in an easy MVP award.

Given how close he was to hitting .400, I was curious whether the White Sox could’ve claimed responsibility for the reason he didn’t reach that number.

Nope. The opposite, actually. The White Sox were a big reason why he got so close.

Carew torched White Sox pitching for a line of .492/.537/.678, or 29-for-59. He hit four homers against the Yankees — only one against the Sox — but he victimized the White Sox the most in just about every major column. Nor did the White Sox even try getting in his way at the end of the season. Carew had at least two hits in each of the last six games he faced the Sox last year, finishing 15-for-27 for September.

Nelson Cruz only hit .368/.437/.743 against the White Sox during his time with the Twins, which came to an end with a trade to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday. If it felt like Cruz’s production rivaled Carew’s in 1977, that’s because he made a helluva first impression in that uniform. Most of that production over the 41 games was front-loaded, after which the White Sox eventually figured out how to wrangle him into a more ordinary kind of dangerous.

SpanPAHHRRBIBBKBAOBPSLG
First 21 games933611341415.456.538.975
Last 20 games822048722.274.321.493

It sucks that the White Sox might’ve seen Cruz fewer times from here on out had he remained a member of the Twins (three games) instead of joining the Rays (three games, plus postseason?), but I’m here to provide positive reinforcement. He was an obvious fit for the Rays as an everyday DH threat with an acceptable/enviable strikeout rate for the amount of power he provides, but the White Sox have neutralized him before. Or perhaps a move to Florida will allow his retirement instincts to kick in faster.

As for the return, it seems like the Twins did well enough for a rental player limited to one league. They received right-handed pitching prospects Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman, both of whom would rate higher in another team’s farm system, but since the Rays placed eight prospects in the top 100, they’re relegated to second-10 status within their own organization. Ryan has a really good high fastball, while Strotman looks like he’s fully past Tommy John surgery and ready to fill out a starter’s arsenal.

They should help fill out of the depth for a Minnesota pitching staff that collapsed this year, assuming the coaching administration is not a contributing factor to the foundering.

* * * * * * * * *

The next time the White Sox face the Cleveland Nine, there’s a new way to write around their current team name without writing “Cleveland” five billion times. The “Indians” moniker is officially on the way out, with the team introducing a replacement this morning.

“Cleveland Guardians” feels generic, but it makes sense when learning that it’s based on the city’s Guardians of Traffic statues, and I already liked the winged-G baseball before understanding what it meant. Just about every current MLB team name would get trashed if it were introduced on Twitter, so give it five years — and maybe a font update once the franchise completes its transition from the Indians era — and it’ll probably seem like they’ve been there for 50.

The team name will be introduced for the 2022 season, but we can start calling them Future Guardians now.

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire)

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ParisSox

I read about the reasons for choosing that name on mlbtraderumors. That was cool. Then I made the mistake of reading the comments. That is a horrible place.

Holland23

It is, makes you appreciate the comment section here even more.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

It’s about flippin time they are finally doing away with the Indians as team name. Speaks to the idiocy of humans that it took this long.

HallofFrank

I’m a little surprised by the return for Cruz. It seems like a lot for a rental DH—albeit one that can mash. It’ll be interesting to see what rentals like Story or Marte fetch, as well as those under control for ’22 like Frazier.

HallofFrank

Good point. Tampa must feel like a kid with so many coins in his pocket he’s willing to overpay for a soda to keep his pants from falling down.

As Cirensica

And speaking of 40+ man crunch situation…after welcoming Cruz, they traded Rich Hill.

jhomeslice

Is surely why the Sox have been unable to make any trades. 4 of our top 5 prospects are pitchers who are having terrible years in the minors. Kelley is rated number 1, and has been hurt, and pitched all of 12 awful innings – in 7 starts. Stiever has not been very good at AAA, both Thompson and Dahlquist basically awful at Kanapolis. And those are the Sox best.

Last edited 2 years ago by jhomeslice
HallofFrank

Eh, that’s overly cynical. FG has Burger, Adolfo, Rodriguez, and Bailey above Thompson and Dalquist. Except Bailey, those guys are all having excellent seasons. Plus, I can’t imagine 19-20 year old pitchers struggling in A ball hurts their stock *that* much. If you’re interested in Kelley/Thompson/Dalquist, it’s because of their talent and long-term projection, not their performance in the first half of their A-level season.

jhomeslice

Good to note, MLB.com is pretty outdated with their rankings. Burger was a first round pick and I would think he would have the highest ceiling among Sox prospects. He isn’t even in their top 10 on MLB.com.

Last edited 2 years ago by jhomeslice
Trooper Galactus

This has really been a problem for them when it comes to working out trades. Their only top-100 prospects (Madrigal, Vaughn, Kopech, and Crochet) have graduated from the lists, and only Madrigal is not being utilized on the current roster (and is unlikely to be traded). Kelley, Thompson, and Cespedes were probably their best chances to nudge another person back into a top-100 list, and that’s absolutely not gonna happen with their results so far this season.

This leaves them as, last I looked, the only MLB team without a single top-100 prospect. Basically, every other team in the league could probably outbid them, even when it comes to second-tier prospects. So unless the industry values Jose Rodriguez higher than I’m tracking (and, to be fair, he’s having a pretty nice season in Kanny for a 20-year old shortstop), Hahn is gonna have to get pretty creative with who he targets and what he offers.

joewho112

Guardians is dumb but not dumber than naming 3 teams after footwear

metasox

A product of a bygone era which makes them quaint

Joliet Orange Sox

This could be hurtful to posters with footwear as part of their usernames and profile pics. I’m glad I’m not one of them.

metasox

I like that Guardian logo because it reminds me of the old winged Sox logo

Joliet Orange Sox

I think all team names/logos/uniforms need time to evolve. I’m not wowed by Guardians right now but we have to see where they go with it. It might still seem meh a few years from now but given a little time they could lean into art deco fonts on the uniforms and using the wings and laurel wreaths in logos and it could be unique and cool.

Greg Nix

Guardians is meh, but the Cleveland G’s would be a fun nickname if it were to catch on.

Drdoctor

I felt like this was also very generic at the start, like the name of a bad XFL team (perhaps because it was). The history behind it w/r/t the city gave it some “oh, ok.” Doesn’t totally stop it from feeling generic with a history chaser, but I would be less in arms about it if I were a Cleveland fan than any of the Rockers or Rollers or the like I read were also candidates.

Still doesn’t feel cool or inspired, like “Kraken” does to me. Guess it fits Cleveland then 😉

GrinnellSteve

I, too, felt it was generic. The history angle makes it far less so. I’ve warmed up to it in the space of a few hours. Whereas I think Kraken is stupid.

Kraken is stupid, Guardians is just boring. My brother said Cleveland Guardians sounds like the name of a bad neighborhood watch program.

joewho112

I was thinking militia group or what some Hollywood writer in the 1980’s thought an inner city gang would be called.

GrinnellSteve

Let’s hope Cleveland doesn’t become the favored team of white supremacists and insurrectionists.

ParisSox

Warriors would have been cool.

joewho112

Before first pitch, they could play that “Warriors, come out to play” clip while fans clink glass bottles together

I think Cleveland could get a guard dog as a mascot to steer the perception away from that (nothing fierce looking). I’m thinking Rin Tin Tin.

Root Cause

I know I am cynical but I can’t help but feel that this was a marriage made in a salesroom.

https://www.generac.com/all-products/generators/home-backup-generators/guardian-series/10kw-7171-wifi-enabled

joewho112

Update on Grandal from a few days ago that I had missed. This is great news. Sorry if everyone already know already

Yasmani Grandal (torn left knee tendon)

Expected return: Four to six weeks

Grandal, who had a surgical procedure on July 7, has been moving around the field well and did some running prior to the July 20 game.

“All the reports I read and a couple conversations I’ve had, I think he’s on time,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “I want to say ahead of time, because we thought he’d be limping and he doesn’t limp. He was throwing for distance today. He’s taken a few swings. I’ll leave it for the experts to say whether he’s on time or ahead of time. There is no way he’s behind time.”

To Err is Herrmann

The Guardians is a good name overall. I give it a B minus. Local history, check. Winks at kids’ superhero movie, check. Retains five letters from the old name, check. Plagiarized G with wing logo, check, but that’s on the White Sox for not keeping that great art front and center. Potential to call the team the G’s, or the OG’s, or the 100G’s. It does feel like it was created by a marketing company, but was there any other way it was going to be created? Seems like name/logo is also code for religious people, a surprise move in an increasingly secular age.. It’s a sturdy, safe name that checks a lot of boxes. It probably has even more connections, possibly to other baseball history, It could have been worse. Not sure if I was a Cleveland fan if I would like it. Might be like the White Sox being renamed the Ryans.

blackoutsox

I would’ve gone with Cleveland Spiders, but after reading the reasons behind Guardians and seeing the logos it’s growing on me.

Joliet Orange Sox

I have a friend who grew up in the Cleveland area who is still a Cleveland baseball fan. For him, Cleveland Spiders is a non-starter because of the history of the NL Cleveland Spiders who were disbanded after going 20-134 when their owner who also owned another team in the league transferred all the good players to the other team.

To Err is Herrmann

They also could have gone with “The Lords of Transportation,” an alternate name for the guardian statues that did not catch on.

As Cirensica

With the Indians changing their nickname to Guardians, I started to look for old baseball team’s nick names, and discovered that Baltimore were once the Lord Baltimore baseball team. That sounds so aristocratic.

Amar

It’s a missed opportunity that they didn’t go with Cleveland Rocks (not Rockers).

I like the Guardians though.

To Err is Herrmann

For one year early in the team’s history, the Cleveland baseball franchise was called “The Lake Shores.” Sorry I don’t have a link.I would have voted for Lake Shores. Guardians isn’t a bad name and it isn’t a great name. But those are some awesome and mysteriously strange statues. It will be interesting to see if any local Cleveland media outlet polls the fans’ response.

#3 for HOF

I wonder how long it’ll take before the first “guardians of the galaxy “promotion night.