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Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Going for IT

Much has been written about the recent trade for the Mariners Freddy Garcia. Most of what has been written favored the trade from the Mariners point of view. Even I am guilty of thinking we gave up too much. But I ask you, if you were Kenny Williams, how would you have made this team more competitive, (i.e. getting to, and winning in the playoffs.)

The two biggest chips available on the pre-deadline market were Beltran and Garcia. The White Sox needed another starter, BAD. The Sox got the best starter available on the market. I don't know if you can question that. Who else were they going to get. Ortiz? Well that's still a possibility. But there's no question that Garcia is a better pitcher than Ortiz. Garcia has a career ERA+ of 113 compared to Ortiz's 102. (Those numbers don't include this season, but Garcia is pitching better than Ortiz again this season.) Ortiz walks a ton of batters, about 1 every 2 innings, and his 21 wins last season were in large part due to the NL's best offense behind him. Garcia, however, suffers from some of the worst run support of any starter this season. Only David Wells has received less support, and he plays in the NL.

Last season the two best pitchers who moved at the trade deadline were Jeff Suppan and Sidney Ponson. Suppan and Ponson don't compare well with Garcia either. Both have a career ERA+ of 99, very average. Ponson was traded for Kurt Ainsworth and Damian Moss, for a rental of 2 months. Suppan was sent to Boston in a complicated deal that sent Brandon Lyon to Pittsburgh, and then back again. (I have no Idea what was going on there). But in comparing the Garcia and Ponson trades there are a lot of similarities. The two main players sent for the pitchers, where either at the Major leagues, or were close. The main difference between the two was that the Giants didn't have as much of an intention of signing Ponson as we do Garcia. The sox should get a deal worked out rather quickly, and that would make us a bigger winner than the Giants were last season. And I didn't hear a lot of people complaining about how the Giants overpaid last season.

So the Sox set out on the road this week with their new toy in hand. First they visit the Humpdome for a three game set with the Twinkies, then they come back into Chitown to take on the Cubs on the Northside this time. Garcia is scheduled to pitch vs. the Twins on Wednesday. This week becomes a very important week. If they can take both series, they should end up in first place, and simultaneously steal some more thunder from the media juggernaut on the Northside. An Ideal scenario would be to win both series, then make another big trade before they return home to face the Angels next Tuesday. The fair weather fans would come out in droves. Attendance is already up a considerable amount, but a good road trip this week could solidify the Sox as serious contenders.

Kenny Williams has hinted that there is another big trade looming on the horizon. So it gets me to wondering what else would be considered a "blockbuster" deal. The sox main needs are one more pitcher, bullpen or otherwise. They could get another starter that would send Shoeneweis to the pen, or possibly even Garland. Though I don't wanna see Jon in the pen, unless we're in the playoffs. They also need a good lefty bat, and a centerfielder. With the loss of Olivo, catcher also becomes a weakness for the Sox, though I doubt any would be available on the market.

The best lefty bat likely available is the 39 year old Steve Finley, who just happens to be a centerfielder. Finley is a 10/5 player, so he would be able to veto any possible trade. I'm pretty sure Finley is comfortable in Arizona. He has already won a World Series there, and I'm sure he and his family are settled nicely. Finley would take quite a lot to get, but since I'm speculating here, why not add another log to the fire? How about adding the guy who brought Freddy Garcia to Seattle. That's right, Randy Johnson. Even with the addition of Garcia, I still don't think the sox have the rotation to compete with the big guns (NYY, Bos, Hou, CHC, FLA). Randy Johnson would be a legitimate number one starter. Unlikely, but I can dream can't I?

Another lefty bat that didn't come up in the recent rumors with Atlanta: J.D. Drew. Atlanta is looking to move Ortiz' and Andruw Jones' contracts. When Horacio Ramirez comes back off the DL, they feel that they have 6 starters, and only need 5, and would like the flexibility losing Ortiz would give them financially. So how do the Sox land Drew in all of this?

Well Drew is a free agent, in his walk year. His agent is Scott Boras, so if we did trade for him, he would only be a rental. The way I see this deal working is us sending Maggs, Rowand, and Rauch to the Braves. The Braves would send Ortiz and Drew, I'd also like Juan Cruz Jr. in that deal, but that seems unlikely. The salaries don't come anywhere near working out in this scenario, so we'd likely have to send the difference in contracts to Atlanta.

A better solution, in my eyes, is to send Carlos Lee Atlanta's way. Carlos still has time left on his contract, so Atlanta would have him for some time. In my opinion, Aaron Rowand could put up the same numbers as Carlos, only a lot cheaper, and with better defense. If we sent him to Atlanta instead of Maggs in that Jones/Ortiz rumor, along with Rauch. We'd have one of the best defensive outfields in baseball, to go along with one of the best rotations in baseball. This deal doesn't help the Sox become any more left-handed, but it gives us a GG centerfielder for 3 more years, to go with to good defensive outfielders. Ortiz would help anchor the staff, that would suddenly become very deep.

Garcia
Buehrle
Ortiz
Loaiza
Garland/Schoeneweis

That makes for a nice rotation, especially come playoff-time when Garland/Schoeny head to the pen.

Uribe/Harris 2b
Rowand LF
Frank DH
Maggs RF
Valentin SS
Jones CF
Konerko 1B
Crede 3B
Alomar/whoever C

I hate having Pauly hitting so low in the line-up, but Valentin has to be thrown in there to break up all of those righthanders. I've gone on for too long speculating. I've gotten myself too excited over the possibilities. One things for sure, it's going to be a fun season to be a White Sox fan. I'll leave you with a few more names as possibilities.

Benson/Kendall from Pittsburgh
Kennedy from Colorado
BJ Ryan from Baltimore