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Thursday, September 16, 2004
Slightly Distracted

As I type this, I'm in the middle of a No-Limit Texas Hold'em tourney. No Mom, I'm not using real money (tonight). So I apologize in advance if this entry seems even more disjointed than normal. I'm probably debating whether to bluff and go all-in from the small blind with 7/2 off-suit. Please bear with me.

I don't even know why I bother to watch this team anymore. I know part of it is habit, and part is actually feeling obligated to update this blog. Aside from that there's really not much else to look forward too.

I want to see some of the young kids get a chance to play, but that doesn't appear to be the Modus Operandi of this organization. Wilson Valdez has one start at shortstop. Felix Diaz is in the pen watching Jason Grilli get a chance to start.

One positive that I have seen is that Ross Gload has been getting some regular at-bats. Tonight he got the start in left field in the place of Carlos Lee. One thing that Ross has proved with his play in the outfield this year is that he should only be used in emergency situations, and never play outfield on the carpet like Ozzie asked him to do tonight. I can't fault Gload for his terrible outfield play. He's been almost exclusively a first baseman. Once again the White Sox put another player in a position to fail.

Gload has, however, been good with the stick this season. Gload is batting .297/.354/.427 in his 175 at-bats this season with the Sox. Those are not incredible numbers for a 1B/DH in the American League, but they are not far from league average(.265/.345/.445) either. I think Gload should be given some serious consideration as a starting 1B in the off-season.

Gload bounced around in the minors for between the Marlins, Cubs, and Rockies; the latter two where he spent his time in AAA toiling being two great left-handed first basemen in Mark Grace and Todd Helton. Gload found his way to the Sox organization via Greg Walker who had been a coach of his in Colorado Springs. Walker thought that he'd make a great back-up and possibly even a decent starter, but he wasn't likely to be given that chance with the lefty Helton locked up in an albatross of a contract.

Gload spent the entire season last year in Charlotte. It was his 4th year of extended playing time in AAA. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking Gload has all the makings of a AAAA player, but take a look at what Gload did in the minors. He compiled an average of .304 across all levels, while posting a decent slugging percentage of .495.

In just his AAA stops alone he posted .315 and .542, average and slugging percentages, respectively. I can't accurately figure out his OBP's as I don't subscribe to any paysites that will let me at the required data. All I can tell you is that he walked once every 12.2 at-bats on his minor league career. He K'ed once every 6.5 at-bats over that same time period, but improved to once every 8 at-bats over his final 2 seasons in AAA. (In the interest of not trying to appear like I'm skewing the numbers, Ross' last two stops in AAA were at notorious hitters parks. At least he should feel right at home at USCF)

Those are not the numbers of a 4-A player. Ross Gload appears to be a decent contact hitter, with some power, who can get on base at a reasonable clip, all while being left-handed and having a decent glove. He just has never been given the chance to showcase his skills at the major league level.

For Gload to be given a chance in Chicago, the Sox would have to say goodbye to Paul Konerko and his $9.25 MIL contract next season (Konerko only costs the sox $8.75MIL, but his contract contains a clause that calls for a $500K bonus if he's traded). That will not be an easy task. However, if Kenny is able to find a taker for Konerko, he should bring a considerable return. The sox would be saving $8MIL and getting a good player in return. Actually thinking about it a little more closely, Konerko would likely be traded for somebody else who has a large contract, so the money will probably be a wash in the end.

I have a feeling that Gload can put up some good numbers on a full season of play. Somewhere in the range of (.280/.340/.445). Depending on his spot in the line up I wouldn't be surprised if I saw him finish the season with about 18 HR's and 80 RBI's. It's only going to be time that keeps him from getting the chance.

Kenny Williams has a decision on his hands, make a downgrade at the first base position with the ability to significantly upgrade one or two other holes, or stand pat and try to patch the holes with expensive free-agents. To me the choice is an obvious one, I'm not so sure it is to Kenny.