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Friday, November 05, 2004
They MUST be Mocking Me

We've gone over this before, but it's starting to get a little bit ridiculous. The Chicago Tribune is printing a weekly piece submitted by a Sox fan in it's online edition, ChicagoSports.com. I don't know their motivation for printing it, but I would guess it's to offer competition to the Daily Herald, who actually printed their fan contribution in the "real" paper as well as the online version; or it's an attempt to compete with the blogosphere in general; or just a pathetic attempt to provide content without actually having to pay a reporter or columnist. I suspect the latter.

The last time I highlighted one of these I didn't go into great detail, but I think that may change, and this could become a weekly thing. Mike's Baseball Rants and Baseball Think Factory used to rip apart the Joe Morgan chats back before they moved them to insider, why not start my own little tradition?

Yesterday's column was submitted by Kurt Wrase. I apologize in advance to Kurt, as it's not his fault the Tribune is too damn cheap to actually pay real writers. So let's get to it.
Kurt: I think that the White Sox have a chance to be great in 2005. They do need to make some moves and there are some they shouldn't make. First of all, they need to keep all of their core players.
I can't really disagree with him too much here. The sox do need to hold onto a majority of their players. This knowledge has to be tempered with the current White Sox payroll situation, however. That payroll remains somewhat a mystery right now, even though the Trib indicated it could go in excess of $70M this week.
Kurt: They cannot trade Paul Konerko, Carlos Lee, Aaron Rowand or Joe Crede. Those guys have great chemistry together and that cannot be broken apart.
Over the past two seasons Paul Konerko and Joe Crede lead the league in bat-slamming, head-down-trots to first base after a pop-up on the infield or a weak ground out to the short stop. There is something to be said of having a little diversity on your team. Kurt just named 4 guys, who are right handed, don't walk much, and two of them couldn't win a race against a three-toed sloth.

Preach on all you want about "chemistry," the Cubs had "it" in 2003 yet didn't in '04 despite having nearly identical line-ups. The Red Sox didn't have "it" in '03, yet did in '04, despite having nearly identical line-ups. Chemistry is unquantifiable, and is begat by winning. (I can't believe I just used the word begat)
Kurt: Secondly, the Sox need to find another arm for their starting rotation, and there are tons of quality pitchers available. I would like to see them make a push for Brad Radke, Aaron Sele, Derek Lowe, Russ Ortiz or Carl Pavano. One of those guys could put the Sox's rotation over the top.
Sele??? Sele has posted ERA+ marks of 89, 74, and 91 the last three seasons. The last time he posted a win total in the double digits was 2001. He's hardly what I would call a quality starter.

Russ Ortiz has averaged 100 walks allowed over the past 5 seasons. His high walk total would destroy his ERA at the launching pad known as USCF.

Lowe is coming off of a season where he posted a 5.42 ERA, allowed way more hits than innings pitched, and struggled with his control. The positives are that he finished runner-up in Cy young voting just two seasons ago, is a ground ball pitcher, and we've now seen what he can do in the post-season. He likely priced himself out of the Sox price range though with his post-season performance.

Pavano is a good pitcher, but I don't think he's going to be worth the contract he's going to get. This piece at ussmariner does a nice job of explaining my view on Carl.

Bradke is the only pitcher I can't really quibble over from Kurt's list. He's a solid pitcher, even though he tends to give up the long-ball. His value to the Sox is doubled when you realize that you'd be stealing him from your division rivals. (I've also heard that both Detroit and Cleveland will look to pursue Radke.) The Sox should throw their names in the hat, if for nothing else than to drive the price up for those other teams.
Kurt: Third, the Sox obviously need a shortstop. Christian Guzman is a quality player. Juan Uribe could play shortstop or he could move over to second. Either would be fine. I think the Sox are set at catcher. Ben Davis and Jaime Burke can handle the job just fine. They both were clutch for us last season.
In what alternate universe does Christian Guzman rate out to be a "quality player?" The Twins have won their last three AL Central titles in spite of him. Adding Guzman to our team would do the exact opposite of adding Bradke. It would force the Twins to either acquire a better shortstop, of which there are many, or play Jason Bartlett, who hit .308/.398/.445 the last two years at AAA. If we don't sign him, there's a slim chance that the Twins may be dumb enough to resign the career .303 OBP Guzman.

Jamie Burke can adequately handle the role of back-up catcher, but I don't ever foresee Ben Davis as any contending teams starting catcher. His career .237/.306/.366 looks a lot like Mike Matheny's .239/.293/.336, except Davis doesn't provide half the defense or play calling that Matheny does.
Kurt: If the Sox do lose Magglio Ordonez, that would devastate South Side fans. But I think the Sox will survive. Carl Everett and Timo Perez can handle the job in right field.
The Sox will lose Ordonez, and their fans shouldn't feel devastated. He was offered the richest contract in team history, and chose to turn it down. When he subsequently went down with what could be a career threatening injury he lost all hopes of a big payday in '05. Why should we feel sorry for him?

I hope Carl Everett can stay healthy enough to patrol right field for 150 games, because the alternative of having Timo Perez out there makes my stomach turn. I really wish Ross Gload was decent defensively in RF; I would feel a whole lot better.
Kurt: If the Sox make some of these moves they will be a better team then the 2004 squad. With the steady leadership of manager Ozzie Guillen, I think the Sox can win the division and be a quality playoff team.
So basically, if the sox add one of the 5 pitchers listed, only one of whom they can afford(Sele) without moving anybody, and Christian Guzman they are suddenly going to win the AL Central and be a quality playoff team? I don't see it.

* * * * *

I don't wanna seem like I'm being to harsh on Kurt here. For all I know he's a great guy.

The internet is forum where people can express their views and opinions. It's an open exchange. For every right-wing Instapundit, there's a left-wing Atrios. You may not agree with my views, and you can voice that opinion in the comments section (so long as you keep it under 1000 characters).

The internet is one big incestuous loop. Site A links to Site B, and B to C. Then C back to A, until D disagrees with A, B, and C, and all write scathing reviews of D's views. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm just a spoke in the wheel and sooner or later I fully expect somebody else to do the same exact thing I just did to Kurt right back to me, and I'm fine with that.