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Before we get to the last offseason plan I have lined up, a couple of quick notes:
*Akinori Iwamura, whose name was brought up a couple times in discussion, is heading to the Pittsburgh Pirates for reliever Jesse Chavez. Nice move for Pittsburgh.
*U-God at South Side Sox has been swept up by the craze and has a plan of his own.
That said, let’s take a look at some ideas from sars:
* * *
1) Octavio Dotel: Arbitration, or not?
In the best year of his life he was barely worth $5mil. If you told me he’d strike out 122 batters like he did that season, I’d sign up for $7mil without question, but he’s just not that good anymore.
2) Jermaine Dye: Mutual option, arbitration, or not?
It’s been pointed out already, but Jermaine Dye is hands-down one of the worst right fielders in all of baseball. It’s kind of hard to believe, but he’s been worth negative dollar value for two years in his five spent on the South Side. Regardless of what Hawk tells you, this is attributed entirely to his inability to field. Turning 36 next year with a Line Drive % reaching a career low of 16.9% screams an even sharper decline is coming.
3) One-year contract for John Danks? If not, what would you pay to extend him?
Given he already turned down the 4yr/$15mil extension that was given to Floyd, I’d guess the White Sox would be hard pressed to go ahead and offer more money and more years (assuming that’s what he’s looking for) to a guy that’s just “underperformed.” He saw declines across the board in some of the most important statistics:
7.34 K/9 in 08 to 6.69 in 09,
2.63 BB/9 in 08 to 3.28 in 09.
0.69 HR/9 (15 HR allowed) in 08 to 1.26 in 09 (28 allowed)
…this all the while with a lower BABIP (.299 in 08 to .273 in 09). While his stats pretty much normalized from 2008 to 2009, he was still worth $13.2 million per FanGraphs value system. The decline might be attributed to his circulation problems and an inability to grip his cutter. If the Sox can sign him to a 4yr/$25mil, they should probably do it since even in an off year he’s been proven to be worth more than that.
4) One-year contract for Bobby Jenks, extension or trade?
Just get it over with and trade him. Rarely is there a reliever that has the shelf life of a Trevor Hoffman or Mariano Rivera. And while those two are obviously the extreme exception, a closers value lies entirely with the façade that he has the magic ability to get outs 25, 26, and 27; their perceived value exceeds their actual value at least two-fold.
4a) If you picked trade, what do you see as a return? Contending teams in dire need of a closer are the most obvious options; Tampa Bay, Chicago, Philadelphia (whoops!), St. Louis, and to a lesser extent Toronto, Arizona, and Houston. Because I see Jenks as one of the key trading chips, I’ll focus on this in the Trades section.
5) Which positions are in most dire need of an upgrade?
The obvious is the positions that simply need a player. For one, the entire OF. This requires mostly shuffling the right player to the right position: Quentin to DH and Rios to CF. Rios’ bat plays much better in center as I highly doubt he’ll ever be hitting 25 HRs again. His defensive play has shown to be spectacular and would help the White Sox that much more in center.
Quentin, on the other hand, is a marginal left fielder and his inability to stay healthy reared its ugly head in 2009. While it may be difficult to swallow, the easiest solution is to simply move him to DH. It’s a touchy situation because convincing a nut-job like Quentin to swallow his athletic-pride and move to DH so early in his career might be a hard sell, but personally I’d rather have the .965 OPS Quentin produced in 480 PAs in ’08 out of the DH spot, rather than the oft-injured, oft-bad left fielder version in ’09.
Also, STOP PLAYING CHRIS GETZ! Bad bad bad. Nix’s defensive abilities (14.3 UZR/150 career) far outweigh his penchant to make less contact. Give Nix 500 PAs and I’d be willing to bet he hits at least .240/.335/.460 with 20 HRs. Throw in some incredible defensive value? Makes it almost pointless to have Getz on the roster.
6) Name three (or more) free agents you’d consider, at a price.
Mike Cameron CF, 2yr/$15mil – This allows you to keep Rios in RF and add another premium defender that has almost always been worth more than his paycheck.
Any one of Erik Bedard/Rich Harden/Ben Sheets/Justin Duchscherer SP/RP at 1-2yrs/$2-$6mil, incentive laden contracts – There’s no reason not to do any of these. I don’t believe Freddy Garcia reaches 80 innings next year at any sort of value, Hudson could use another 100ip at triple A, and you have to account for at least an injury or two. While Bedard and Harden are probably out of the price range/willingness of the Sox to commit, Sheets and Duchscherer are great options that would provide incredibly high upside value. Duchscherer, especially, as he’s shown to have great value out of the bullpen also.
Randy Winn OF, 1yr/$5mil – While he reminds me of Tim Duncan as a player and Paul Konerko as a self-defeatist hitter, he’s valuable at both corner outfield positions, is a switch hitter, and would likely hit more HRs at the cell than the two(!) he hit all of last year.
Mark Prior SP, 6yr/$200mil – Wait…what’s that you say? He’s injured? LOL Cubs.
7) Name three (or more) realistic trades that could improve the Sox team.
Given that trades rely on a thorough knowledge of the lower level minor leagues, I’ll simply make the case for a few players worthy of acquiring and players I think the sox can afford to lose;
Players the White Sox should entertain thoughts of trading:
Mark Buehrle – Only getting older. Had one of his worst years in a Sox uniform. Very friendly contract and tons of perceived value.
AJ Pierzynski – Marginal defensive and offensive value. At this point, Flowers should start in the majors and provides a whole lot more upside than AJ. Again, friendly contract and more perceived value than actual value.
Bobby Jenks – See above.
Players the Sox should attempt to acquire:
JJ Hardy, SS & Mat Gamel, 1B/3B/DH – Both are essentially useless to the Brewers because of the players blocking them. Escobar is likely the starting SS going into next year and Gamel is likely a 1B/DH, stretched at either third or the OF.
Carl Crawford OF – I think it’s highly unlikely he gets traded for what the White Sox have to offer, but he’s a hell of a player and one that would make the Sox a much better team.
As I see it the most important things the Sox need to do going into next year are move Quentin to DH for health purposes, move Rios to CF if they don’t sign Cameron, play Nix full-time at 2B, relegating Getz to PR duties, and make savvy, incentive laden deals on high-upside SPs. It’s really not too much to ask given that most are in-house moves. I’m just not so sure I trust the Sox to make them.
Arizona Fall League:
- Peoria 3, Scottsdale 2
- Jordan Danks went 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.
- Brent Morel went 2-for-4.