Castro takeover plot; Sox targeting Jackson?

Here and elsewhere, we’ve seen a swelling of support for Ramon Castro, and his quest to receive more of the catching duties.
After going deep twice against Seattle to help the Sox cap a sweep, Ozzie Guillen is finally giving in:

Castro, in particular had a remarkable game, with a double in the third and solo blasts in the fourth and sixth. While to this point he’s been Freddy Garcia’s “designated catcher,” Castro will be seeing increased playing time, as at age 34 he’s having a career year just as incumbent backstop A.J. Pierzynski is slumping.
“[Castro] is making it harder for me,” Guillen said. “I may give A.J. another day off. Castro takes care of himself. He’s always had good potential. We should take advantage of what he’s doing right now.”

Even with a huge playing time disparity, the divide in performance is too great to ignore. After a threetwo-extra-base-hit night, here’s how the catchers stack up:

  • Castro: .327/.403/.627
  • Pierzynski: .237/.274/.355

Playing on average of once a week over the last two months, he’s hitting even better — .416/541/.833. It’s not fair to pit that line against Pierzynski’s .230 July OBP because of sample sizes, but Castro really can’t do more than he has in the limited opportunities he’s received, and Pierzynski’s play has left Guillen wanting.
And with the Oakland A’s coming to town and set to start three consecutive lefties, it gives Guillen the perfect opportunity to stretch out Castro’s legs.
Since the start of June, the White Sox have hammered left-handed pitching, and they’ve done so without the help of Pierzynski, who is just 5-for-32 in his opportunities against southpaws over that time.  Castro’s OPSing over 1.000 against lefties, so that switch should be automatic by now.
And really, this is perfect autopilot material. Along with the handedness issue, we’d get to see what Daniel Hudson looks like with somebody else calling his pitches. Pierzynski would get an opportunity to start at least one game, whether it’s Saturday against Dallas Braden or Sunday against Gio Gonzalez, because of the day game following the night game.
It’s paint-by-numbers, with exception of the 800-pound gorilla, Pierzynski. Pierzynski has been prickly about playing time before, but he really has no excuse to be. Not only is he suffering through a career-worst season, but he’s showing he knows it, capping bad at-bats with bat slams, flips, tosses, and expletives.  That body language might show what a gamer he is in small doses, but when he does it close to every night, it’s the equivalent of a tell.
Pierzynski should try his best to play it cool, because his future could be at stake.  Tyler Flowers’ poor play increases the chance of Pierzynski sticking around, even though FanGraphs has him pegged as the third-worst hitter in the American League. If he challenges any playing time transitions openly during a pennant race, when the Sox are short a hitter and need every bit of offense they can get, that certainly doesn’t bode well for a player who might never be worth regular playing time again.
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Hampered by a lack of depth in the minor-league sytem, the White Sox may be trying to boost leverage another way.
Ken Rosenthal reports that since the talks with Washington about Adam Dunn aren’t going well, Kenny Williams is turning his attention to pitching, and specifically a pitcher the Nationals are targeting – Arizona’s Edwin Jackson.
Jackson makes some sense. He pitched well in the AL Central for Detroit two years ago, and before that, he was loosely connected to the Sox during his Tampa Bay days before the Tigers traded for him. The Sox may have been following him for a while, meaning that Don Cooper might be able to work with him.
The problem is, Jackson needs work. He’s struggling for Arizona, going 6-10 with a 5.16 ERA and only 104 strikeouts to 60 walks over 134 1/3 innings.
Moreover, this wouldn’t be a mere challenge trade, because Jackson’s going to be expensive next year; an $8.35 million man to be precise. Throw in raises for John Danks and Gavin Floyd and the big money owed to Mark Buehrle and Jake Peavy, and that’s roughly $50 million tied up in five players, and two of them questionable.
Of course, they could always trade for Jackson, and then flip him to Washington for Dunn. Then the Sox are still a starter short, but at least have definitely upgraded a position.
But I’m hoping this is an attempt to gain leverage for another move. If the Sox can sell that they’re high on Jackson, maybe another team will lower its demands. Trading for Jackson in and of itself makes for a lot of dollars and little sense.
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Minor league roundup:

  • Louisville 2, Charlotte 0
    • Carlos Torres struck out six over five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and a walk on 74 pitches.
    • Chris Sale struck out both batters he faced.
    • Brent Morel had two of Charlotte’s three hits, both doubles.
    • Alejandro De Aza had the other, going 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
    • Jordan Danks went 0-for-2 with a walk.
  • Birmingham 5, Chattanooga 2
    • Christian Marrero doubled, walked twice and struck out once.
    • Eduardo Escobar was hitless in five at-bats.
  • Kannapolis 4, Hickory 1
    • Justin Collop struck out eight over seven strong innings, allowing a run on five hits and zero walks.
    • Tyler Saladino was 0-for-3 with a sac bunt.
    • Kyle Colligan went 1-for-4; Nick Ciolli and Miguel Gonzalez were 0-for-4.
  • Greeneville 4, Bristol 3
    • Nice night for Matthew Heidenreich: 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
    • Rangel Ravelo was 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
    • Bradley Salgado hit a two-run homer. This was only his second hit in 37 at-bats.
  • Helena 10, Great Falls 8 (15 innings)
    • David Holmberg was roughed up for seven runs on nine hits over two innings. Good news is that he didn’t walk anybody, and struck out three.
    • Andy Wilkins went 2-for-7 with a homer and five RBI. He also walked once.
    • Ross Wilson was 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
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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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mechanicalturk

Ramon Blastro, amirite.

blacksox56

seeing that dunn and fielder are probably too expensive, and the catcher’s position is the only position right now not carrying its weight, what about a move for John Buck from Toronto? Toronto is slowly putting guys on the market, he wouldn’t be a bad pick up. Solid BA, OBP and SLG percentages.

drlingerie

John Buck’s porno name:
John Buck.

bigfun

.310 is not a solid OBP. Buck is a good option for a team that needs to upgrade, but what would the Sox do, DFA Pierzynski? Castro will probably be about as good or maybe better than Buck the rest of the way anyway, so they should just give Castro more playing time and that way not have to give up anything to improve the position.

blacksox56

its comparable to Ramirez’s OBP. not saying it’s great but it’s better than AJ’s and Castro’s career BA is only .230, there’s a reason why he’s a back up, I don’t see him keeping up this pace. Bring in Buck. He has decent power and can contribute defensively. I’m pretty sure he has a better arm than AJ too.

bigfun

Why do you think Castro won’t keep it up but for some reason Buck will? ZiPS projects Castro to hit for a .747 OPS the rest of the way and Buck to hit .745, so almost exactly equal.
Buck is a career .241/.300/.419 hitter. Castro is .237/.312/.424. I cannot think of any reason why a team that has Castro would give up a prospect and take on salary for a second right-handed catcher who’s like the exact same type of player.

drlingerie

Small sample caveat aside, AAA hitters are striking out an awful, awful lot against Class Heir from both sides of the plate.
Considering Ere the Skirt’s presence as the Second Lefty Suitor (Lefty Suitor #2 sounds like a bathroom code), and the fact he’s been more than “Not Raaaaaaaandy,” but “good,” is Has Slicer now relegated to September call-up status? And does that satisfy the Sox’ end of the handshake deal that was supposed to land him in MLB in exchange for a quick sign?
Sincerely,
Grinder Lie

striker

I can’t imagine the Nationals wanting Jackson (expensive and in arbitration years) over Hudson (cheap and pre-arp). Jackson would stay. Kenny always get’s his man. I bet he’s calling Griffey Jr’s agent too.

simps23o

We’re getting Tejada

simps23o

or not

knoxfire30

Jim I made the same mistake after the game saying castro doubled and homered twice, however he singled down the line and was too slow for the double.
I doubt the sox are targetting Jackson for their own use, for some reason the nationals love him so maybe this facilitates a Dunn deal which would be great.
Why would Torres be allowed to pitch last night? Shouldnt he be on a plain to chicago if Hudson is traded and Jackson is moved for Dunn?

David

While Jax is the perfect Coop reclaimation project, his salary for next year, his FA status after 2011 and the fact that Boras is his agent…I say something else is up.

ricksch

Jackson had one good year with Detroit. Otherwise, he’s overpriced. Kenny has to be thinking of flipping him. That still amounts to trading Hudson for Dunn — which I’m already on record as being STRONGLY AGAINST.
As for Castro, FINALLY! The thing with AJ is that he never even seems to TRY another approach at the plate. It’s “swing at everything” every time up. If he can’t see that Castro deserves to be playing more, screw him and his contract year.

Shinons

Actually, just half of a good year. I couldn’t believe the guy is only 26 though. Seems like he ought to be way older – he’s won a pennant in the AL East on a team that’s not the Yankees or Red Sox, made an all star game, pitched a no hitter, then he’s the same guy who’s played for four teams and been absolutely terrible at times. Strange player.