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Before Monday’s game, the White Sox acquired lefty reliever Jake Diekman from Boston.
Then they spent Monday’s loss to the Royals showing the futility of adding only relievers during this deadline period.
The White Sox were once again outhomered by one of the few teams with fewer homers than them as they dropped the first game of a home series for the sixth consecutive time. They lost their spot in the HR rankings to the Oakland Athletics during the three-game series due to a 7-4 deficit, and now the Royals put a dent in the White Sox’s six-homer edge with a pair of solo shots that proved to be too much to overcome.
Diekman is flawed, and the remaining $4.5 million owed to him ($3.5 million in 2023, plus a $1 million buyout) makes an expensive bullpen even more inefficient, but that’s all kinda besides the point. Even if Diekman were a league-mininum type in the middle of a phenomenal year, he wouldn’t address the White Sox’s biggest issue. Adding a reliever to team with such a limited offense is like trying to improve a car’s resale value by rolling back the odometer, rather than replacing the cracked head gasket. Unless Diekman knows how to erase runs already scored, then he can only help so much.
The hope is that the Diekman acquisition signals further activity from the White Sox before 5 p.m. today. I know there’s a large segment of the fan base that doesn’t see the point in adding. I understand both the simple desire to avoid false hope, as well as the legit concern of pumping further resources into a team that can’t really be fixed. I, too, would rather see Tony La Russa and Frank Menechino fired, hoping that the shock is enough to rattle them out of their rut and win the Central, because neither of them are assets going forward.
The problem is that Diekman already gives the bullpen that money-pit feeling. With his $3.5 million salary on the books for 2023, the White Sox have more of next year’s money devoted to relief spending than any other team. These salaries are all guaranteed…
- Liam Hendriks: $14M
- Joe Kelly: $9M
- Kendall Graveman: $8M
- Aaron Bummer: $3.75M
- Jake Diekman: $3.5M
… and that $38 million doesn’t account for arbitration raises for Reynaldo López, José Ruiz and/or Matt Foster. Even if all three were non-tendered and replaced with league-minimum types, we’re still talking about a $40 million bullpen that might end up being average.
As futile as it may seem, the Sox may as well try to press whatever advantage they’re trying to buy here, because it’s not like all of these guys are likely to be better in 2023. Here are their ages:
- Hendriks: 34
- Kelly: 35
- Graveman: 32
- Bummer: 29
- Diekman: 36
The more I think about this trade, the less I like it. One way to get me thinking less about this trade is to make a deal that is far more exciting and actually addresses the team’s root issues. Alas, Shohei Ohtani isn’t happening, and the morning’s rumors are directing Juan Soto toward San Diego, so sights will have to be lowered.
Further bulletins as events warrant.