A/V Room: Audio, Lucy, bullpen help, Twins

With the winter's biggest signing soon in the books, enjoy some news, notes and banter as the second phase of the offseason takes shape.

For those who missed it on Saturday, here’s me and Rob Hart yakkin’ it up over the White Sox’s winter.
[podcast]https://soxmachine.com/files/2010/12/SoxMachineWGN.mp3[/podcast] ********************************
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*Carl’s latest strip: With Love from Mr. Reinsdorf.
*A.J. Pierzynski talked to Scott Merkin about what his return means. Aside from being taught to hate the White Sox while with the Twins, here’s a key quote:

“At the beginning of the year, I was trying to do too much, trying get five hits every at-bat. I wanted to show everyone what I could do instead of letting it happen. That’s the wrong way to go about it, and I learned a lot.
“Then, after trying too hard, pressing and getting off to a bad start, I look up and I’m hitting .180 in May. You start trying even harder instead of letting it go and relaxing.”

Pierzynski has barely skirted a complete collapse twice. Logic would dictate that this seems to be a convenient excuse, but he’s a hard guy to stop, for better or for worse.
*Donny Lucy is back with the White Sox — or, more specifically, the Charlotte Knights. So is Brian Bruney, who is basically Bryan Brukvich.
*J.J. says the right offer won’t come along to make Mark Buehrle expendable.
*Cross J.P. Howell off the list, as he’s returning to the Rays for one year and $1.1 million.
*The Red Sox are going hard after Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier and Brian Fuentes.
*Fittingly, James tries to figure out whom the Sox can trade for bullpen help.
*Twins bloggers aren’t responding favorably to the J.J. Hardy trade. Two recommended pieces:

  • Nick’s Twins Blog: “The move was clearly a flat-out salary dump, and be assured, shaving a few million dollars from the payroll is the only positive thing it accomplishes.”
  • Aaron Gleeman: “They focused on Hardy’s flaws, trading an above-average shortstop under team control at a palatable one-year price and turning to two question marks in the name of getting faster.”

Boy, Gleeman’s beef sure sounds familiar. His is in response to Ron Gardenhire’s weird quote:

“We all know Hardy doesn’t run like he used to, and when you’re talking about injecting speed, there’s only a few places that you can do that, and shortstop is one of them.
“We like Hardy a lot. He’s a great guy, great teammate, and we believe when he’s healthy he’s solid at shortstop. But when you start looking at speed and everything, and other options, that’s one of the areas we’re going to look at options at and see if we can find more speed — a little more versatility out there.
“So we’re looking, and not to say we don’t want Hardy back, but we’re just trying to make our ballclub better.”

It almost sounds like Gardenhire has a bigger Twins fetish than Ozzie Guillen does. I wouldn’t start rejoicing yet, though. It’s one thing to notice the Twins are worse on paper, but the Sox have to believe they’re vulnerable, and that’s not an easy sell.
*Cliff Lee signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for five years and $100 million $120 million (updated).  With the Yankees swinging and missing on Lee, this should loosen up the trade market, because they still need pitching.

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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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gnix

Lee’s contract is actually $120 mil over 5 years, not $100. But he still left a heckuva lot of money on the table. Probably makes the AL a slight bit more winnable.
As for Hardy, he’s probably the best defensive shortstop in baseball this side of The Cuban Missile, and he can really slug when he’s healthy (the Joe Crede of shortstops, in a way), so I’m glad to see him go to the O’s. Japanese middle infielders have been a mixed bag coming over, and looking at his NPB stats, odds are that even at his best, Nishioka won’t be as good as Hardy. It’s nice to see the Piranhas make a (seemingly) Sox-like mistake every once in a while.

buford

And he made his wife happy by not signing with the Yankees.

81thebird

How about Carlos Quentin for Joe Blanton for a trade idea. It would allow them to keep Sale in the pen. Is that realistic at all?

81thebird

We would have to send someone else with Quentin but I wouldn’t mind them trying Dayan and Teahan in right. More Dayan to see if he could handle the position and it would be a cheap option for once. I like his bat but it doesn’t seem like there is another position for him. Maybe switch him to left after Pierre is gone.

bigfun

Blanton is owed $17 million over the next two years, that’s a ton of money to pay a league-average starter.

paul

I’d say Blanton is a 4 or 5 slot starter, and overpaid at 17 million over the next 2 years. In short, they’d love the trade, Sox would not. Not to mention payroll is very tight after the Dunn/Konerko/Pierzynski signings.
I don’t necessarily want to trade Quentin, as that’s a lot of power we’d lose from the lineup, and I think he’s going to have a better year than last. IMO, we’d need a good, young, cost controlled reliever and, depending on the quality, a prospect or two in return. Cost savings would hopefully be enough to allow us to sign another decent reliever, giving us 5 good arms, 1 bad one, and Pena.

paul

This was obviously supposed to be a reply to THEBIRD…4am FAIL.

bigfun

And I just compounded it by not noticing your comment until after posting my redundant one. Durp.

knoxfire30

I think a blanton for quentin trade makes a lot of sense for both teams, and with the salary difference I dont think the sox need to add anything for that offer to be very realistic, im not a huge fan of starting pitchers whose best trait is “workhorse”, “innings eater” but as a 5th starter thats perfect and keeping sale in the bullpen really helps the sox pen issues.
Another thought that came to mind immediately after the Lee signing was that its time to atleast kick the tires on a Buerhle, Jackson, or even Peavy move to the Yanks. They have to be desperate for pitching at this point with the way the back of their rotation looks, and this might be an ideal time to unload salary, espeically if it could be Peavy.

striker

What would you want in return? I’d love me some Gardner.

dalton

I’d rather get me some Granderson. He’s far more expensive than Gardner, but more productive.
Maybe trade Pierre and Peavy (I’m against trading one of our starters) for Granderson and Gardner (or a reliever), then trade Quentin for Joe Blanton (as someone mentioned) or Cole Hamels (throw in Flowers or Viciedo, if necessary).
Thoughts?

bigfun

Almost certain that no one is going to trade for Peavy until he proves that he’s both healthy and effective. Pierre is a downgrade for the Yankees so they wouldn’t want him. Blanton is an overpaid fifth starter and Philly is obviously going all-out in 2011 so there’s no reason for them to trade Hamels for Quentin plus B-grade prospects.
All of those players except Gardner also create payroll problems for the Sox, who can’t have much left to spend this offseason.

dalton

Jackson for Gardner or Granderson? Does this make sense for Chicago?

bigfun

Possibly, yeah. The Yankees might want something more since Jackson is only under control for one year while Gardner and Granderson both have multiple years left, but a deal of some kind wouldn’t be out of the question.

dalton

Does a deal like this benefit Chicago outside of a salary dump? And that’s if only we land Gardner. Granderson is expensive.

bigfun

Depends on how you replace Jackson in the rotation and what you then do with Quentin (who almost certainly gets traded if Granderson or Gardner came on board, although Pierre is possible).

dalton

“Workhorse,” “innings eater.” – Don’t we already have one of those guys in Buehrle?
Funny you mention trading one of our starters to the Yankees. As I heard the news of Lee’s signing with Philadelphia (that’s one stout starting rotation they have now), I penciled the Yankees in for 85 wins and missing the playoffs. Why, in a year when we’re supposed to be loading up to go “all in,” would we trade one of our starters to give NYY a life preserver? Let ’em sink, I say, and let’s take our chances in the post-season with Boston.
Boston, from what I read above, may just sign Minnesota’s entire relief corps from last year. How long before Boston becomes as hated as the Yankees for “buying” championships?

bigfun

Knox, I’m surprised you like Blanton with his mediocre numbers in the National League, which was a big issue for you with De La Rosa.
Don’t think Peavy or Buerhle are realistic, the Yankees would definitely be interested in Jackson, though.

knoxfire30

I said I expected him to be a 5th starter… I think he can do that.
And the bigger move would be having a bullpen with sale in it, that guy, thornton, santos makes for a real nice back end.

bigfun

You would want to pay a fifth starter that money, though? I’d rather take Freddy or another flier.

knoxfire30

if i move quentin for him im paying him 3 mil net basically, and no i would also want them to eat some of the salary

bigfun

Well, 2012 should be in the net amount too, but I suppose I see where you’re going with it if they would be eating money.

sars

i’d probably trade buehrle in a heartbeat. dude has way more basebally-value than actual value.

blah

Not sure what “basebally-value” is but according to bWAR Buehrle was worth;
2010- 3.5.
2009- 4.9
2008- 4.4
2007- 5.8
Through in double digit win totals, 200+ innings, a 2 k/bb rate and a partridge in a pear tree, you have an actual valuable player worth the cost of his contract.
The only thing that is a downfall is that he is on the wrong side of 30, his k rate went down last season and the escalator clause.
I expect Buehrle to have a typical Buehrle season next year (200+ innings, 1.2-1.3 WHIP, 2.5 k/bb ratio, 13-14 wins, 10-11 losses, 9.1 h/9, 5.5 k/9, & 2.0 bb/9). If he can do that, he can replicate his WAR, be worth his contract, and be the secret ace he’s been for years.

sars

given his skillset, small margin for error and age, the sox could probably get a return that exceeds what they “should” get. buehrle is most definitely worth his contract and has been the definition of reliability and consistency, but his true talent has always been on the brink of derailing.
some guys break the system one way (buehrle, moyer) and some the other (vazquez, nolasco). the “back of the baseball cards” statistics for buehrle are a lot nicer looking than the peripherals and i think the guarantee of either having a cost-controlled mid level prospect (what we lost in hudson) is more valuable to this club than a pitcher who has always walked the statisical tightrope.

bigfun

I could see that happening at the trade deadline if he has a really strong start to 2011… otherwise I doubt any club is going to feel that Buehrle is worth $30 million and a Hudson-level prospect.

dalton

Rips out the heart of this White Sox fan to write this, but I kind of agree. But I wouldn’t then want to replace him with Joe Blanton. Ugh.

bigfun

No one will trade for him because of the poison pill in his contract. He would have to agree to restructure or something.

bigfun

Woah, you’re right. I stand corrected.

blah

Trading for Jackson was the problem. Buehrle is the only product to come up through the White Sox system. It’s been written to death on this and other sites, but in looking at successful teams, and for this I will point out the Dodgers, Red Sox, Rays and Marlins (successful being relative for the Marlins as being competitive is a success considering ownership for the last 15 years)
Chad Billingsley
Clayton Kershaw
James Sheilds
Josh Johnson
Jon Lester
Clay Buchholz
David Price
Jeff Niemann
Now albiet this argument can be ripped as the Rays and Marlins have been in a position to draft high in the last number of years and must draft well to be competitive, it is still a valid point that they have been able to bring up bonafide aces/ really good number 2’s in their system, enjoying their cost effective rises to stardom. This is something the White Sox have been unable to do, by trading promising pitchers away and being ineffective in drafting.
This has lead them to trading for Peavy, Jackson, Garcia, Vazquez, Colon & Contreras as well as forcing the Sox to occasionally going through 5th starter hell.
I know it’s a tall order to demand your organization draft and hang on to pitchers of that caliber, considering how few and far between they are, but the Sox were lucky to recieve players like Danks (in that Daniels was duped) and Floyd (in that he put it together here in Chicago). Luck eventually runs out

blah

I forgot to end my novella by saying that the ripples of the first Swisher trade are again present this offseason as the Sox would have anywhere between the Peavy and Jackson contracts (so we’ll say 8-24 million) left to play with for the bullpen and other upgrades.

striker

At what draft spot did all of those players get picked? If they are all top 10 then we’d have to be one of the worst 10 teams in baseball for awhile in order to build up our farm system.

striker

nevermind, some of those guys aren’t even first rounders.

blah

In 2008 the Angels won the West 100-62 with a rotation where the most expensive player, Jon Garland (12m), was the only one not drafted or signed by the team.
Ervin Santana- $420,000(amatuer free agent)
John Lackey-$7,333,333 (2nd round)
Jered Weaver-$435,000(1st round 12th pick)
Joe Saunders-$425,000 (1st round 12th pick)
There are probably other examples, but I’m too lazy to look them up

blah

Garland was also the worst one in that rotation

knoxfire30

As far as helping the yanks, its more about helping the whitesox which is first priority. I dont consider making a good deal with the yanks throwing them a life preserver, they are going to go out and add a starter, the whitesox might as well try and take advantage.
I have always been a huge gardner fan, and even granderson has his intrique still. If we could move quentin for blanton and then somehow move MB or Peavy in a package for one of the yanks outfielders I think our team gets a lot more athletic and a little more left handed which would be two big plus’s all while assuring Sale stays in the bullpen which I think is very important given the current outlook of the whitesox bullpen.

Shinons

Seems to me that the biggest winner out of the Lee signing is Jackson – certainly the Yanks will be interested in him next year, and with Boras also in the equation dude’s going to get paid big. Wouldn’t the Yankees be interested in moving for him ahead of time to be sure they weren’t getting Burnett 2.0?
I don’t think the “1 year of control” is an issue with Jackson, as they can be fairly sure the winning bid will get him. I’d see if they’d be willing to talk about Joba and Slade Heathcott, then go from there.

dalton

Jackson and Pierre for Joba and Granderson or Gardner… Heck, give ’em Flowers if that seals the deal.

blah

Why would they want Pierre?

dalton

Why would we?

blah

I don’t think that trade works.

dalton

We aim to please, Jim ol’ boy.

bigfun

certainly the Yanks will be interested in him next year, and with Boras also in the equation dude’s going to get paid big. Wouldn’t the Yankees be interested in moving for him ahead of time to be sure they weren’t getting Burnett 2.0?
I don’t see this comparison at all. When the Yankees signed Burnett he had six good to great seasons under his belt. Jackson has two good seasons and has been plagued by inconsistency.
If Jackson were a free agent now, he would get maybe three years and less than half of what Burnett got.

daver

Question: So let’s say Kenny Williams does trade Carlos Quentin for a fifth starter and/or bullpen help. What then becomes the plan for right field? A full season of Mark Teahen?

dalton

>Shudder<

dalton

Could Viciedo be any worse out there than Quentin? No seriously: Could he be?

knoxfire30

i have had several “whitesox people” tell me that no viciedo would not be worse then what quentin gave them, so maybe a straight right field platoon of vicedo and teahen in right, if you look at their splits that might not be a horrible idea

Shinons

Why wouldn’t we just put Dunn right? If you’re looking at a defensive disaster either way, might as well go with the experienced defensive disaster while developing our defensive disaster of the future.

dalton

I laughed out loud at this. Very droll.
I don’t like the idea of Dunn running around anywhere except the basepaths, and I’d rather he be able to jog or trot than sprint. I don’t want him having to run or slide or stretch or dive or slam into something in the outfield.

daver

A platoon is never a bad idea in my book. One downside, of course, is it would still give Teahen most of the playing time — and his career splits against RHP aren’t that great (.765 OPS in 2120 PAs). I wonder if it might be better defensively to platoon Teahen and Viciedo in left field and then move Pierre to center and Rios to right.

buford

When I see all the love for Brett Gardner, why do I think that he is just another young Yankee OF who had his one season in the sun ?
Maybe it’s because I remember all the love Melky Cabrera received after his 2006 season of .280/.360/.391 at age 22. And Sox fans dreaming of obtaining this future star whose numbers would only get better with age. Four seasons later, not really.
Maybe the league is catching on to Gardner:
Pre All Star Break: .309/.396/.415
Post All Star Break: .233/.366/.332
Regarding Chamberlain, we just got rid of a fat reliever with injury concerns. Now another fat reliever with potentially a more serious injury concern is a favorite.
In 2006, at age 22, Chamberlain was shutdown and diagnosed with rotator cuff tendonitis. Pitchers are enough of a crap shoot regarding arm injuries without having this baggage at such a young age. And if he doesn’t join Weight Watchers …
Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll pass on these guys.

dalton

Isn’t Gardner 28 years old, too? It’s not like he’s 24 in his fourth year in the league. I think he reached his ceiling, which is why I think Granderson would be the better bet. Not that I want Chicago to take on his 15mm salary.
Has Chamberlain missed any more time due to rotator cuff issues since he was shut down in 2006?

daver

Gardner is 27 and will turn 28 in August. I guess I’d agree that he’s not likely to get that much better. But with his speed and defense, if he can keep his OBP in the .360-.380 range, he’ll always be a pretty valuable player.

3oooooooo

Gardner is legit. His skills are valuable ones: getting on-base, defense, and speed. Gardner’s minor league BB% is nearly double that of Melky. Considering the fact that he’ll make near the league minimum again next season and under control for four years, he’s a big asset.

Shinons

He’s also Chicago-tough and one hell of a bunter!

dalton

Is he more valuable than Granderson? If contract/control wasn’t an issue, which one would you prefer, Granderson or Gardner?

dalton

Yankees agreed to terms with Russell Martin. This effectively moves Jorge Posada to full-time DH. Cripes, this Yankee team does not impress me.

blah

Yeah, but it lets them do a DH by committee that actually doesn’t lose production.

dalton

I think Posada is going to be 40 next year. If we’re freaking out about Konerko losing significant value at 35 after a career year, i can’t imagine anyone is too excited about having Posada as a DH with his declining numbers and advancing age. Or is it always cloudiest in Chicago?

dudeman

With the general consensus around here being that Sale belongs in the bullpen, I’m curious… why?
If he could (and the Sox seem to think he can) start, isn’t that where you put him? I know he wouldn’t be pumping 98 mph fastballs for 175 innings, but with his stuff, I’d expect at least 7.5 k/9 with room for growth.
Not to mention that solid bullpen help should be cheaper than a solid starter. I know that our rotation is full upon Peavy’s return, bu

dudeman

Oops… cut myself off there.
Anyways, I’m just suggesting that maybe Sale is the best and/or cheapest option to fill in for Peavy.

blah

Probably for the same reason why people want to see AJ in the 2 hole. It seemed to work.
IMO I think Sale would be of most use in the starting role myself. Sox have no real depth there and they have 1 injured started and 2 others that missed some time with injuries last year. They’d be best suited using Sale in the starting role, at LEAST until Peavy comes back. A couple rebound signings wouldn’t go astray either for depth.

3oooooooo

Ideally, Sale would spend next season in the minors working on developing himself into a major league starter. Unfortunately, we’re in a position with our roster and budget that makes the decision to convert Sale difficult. As of right now, we have very little money to spend, and multiple bullpen spots to fill. Keeping Sale in the pen alleviates both of these issues as someone who can be a power-arm for high-leverage situations, and as a bonus he’s making the league minimum.

buford

Originally I wanted Sale as a starter but upon further review I have changed my mind for 4 reasons:
1. Last year the Sox and Twins played 9 one-run games. The Sox won 2.
2. LHH Mauer
3. LHH Morneau
4. LHH Kubel
If the Sox are going to pass the Twins, winning these close games are a must. This means holding onto leads late in the game (and keeping tie games tied) by neutralizing these 3 guys with quality LH relievers.
Last year we saw how helpless Mauer looked vs. Sale and I suspect Morneau wouldn’t feel very comfortable. And we simply have to stop Kubel from looking like Babe Ruth vs. us.
Kubel (career) 92 HR .463 SLG%
Kubel (vs. Sox) 18 HR .585 SLG%
Almost 20% of Kubel’s HR’s have come vs. the Sox. His career HR’s and SLG% are the highest vs. any AL team. Mauer or Morneau lighting you up is one thing, but this gremlin ?
Thornton can’t do this alone and some soft-tossing situational LH reliever isn’t the answer. Thornton and Sale in the bullpen to pitch in the late innings vs. LHH – and especially Minnesota’s LHH’s – makes me a happy camper.
Sale showed last year vs. Mauer how to get him and other LHH out – fastballs up and in and sweeping breaking balls on the outside corner. And if by chance one of his high and tight fastballs hits meat, I can live with that too.
If Peavy can’t start the season, re-sign Garcia. He had 3 quality starts in 4 appearances vs. the Twins last year. Or Kenny can do his thingy by acquiring someone else. The guy I would love to acquire is the Cubs’ Sean Marshall who seems to fly under the radar. But that’s for another day.
Also, since the AL pennant will likely go through Boston, we will facing Gonzalez, Crawford, Ortiz, Drew and Ellsbury.
And if the World Series goes through Philadelphia, you’re looking at their two LHH game-changers Utley and Howard.
I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but I’m tired of the Twins getting ahead of us.

dalton

“I’m tired of the Twins getting ahead of us.”
Amen to that.
I’m all for re-signing Freddy.

buford

Look forward to it.