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Friday, December 17, 2004
Deck the Halls

Monday the White Sox were able to free up some payroll room by moving Carlos Lee to the Brewers. Everyday since has been filled with anticipation of what would be done with that money. First it was Randy Johnson, though it probably was just Javier Vazquez on the cheap. Then there was a Mystery Team™ in the Matt Clement bidding.

It's fairly obvious who the mystery team was. Cleveland has been in it from the start, he was their #1 target. Boston jumped into the fray when Pavano appeared to be a Yankee. Anaheim has always been hunt, as has Seattle.

As of right now, it appears to be a three team race; Boston and Anaheim with the big market money, and the White Sox with a solid offer and the lure of the city itself. Much as Magglio has (somewhat) openly campaigned to remain in Chicago, but for the other team, Clement appears willing to give the home team discount to the cross-town rivals. It's not just the city that's selling itself(his wife likes it here, and doesn't want to move), it's the situation.

In Boston, Clement would be counted on to fill in at the number 2 spot behind Curt Schilling, the same spot that was just vacated by a fleeing Pedro Martinez. With Schilling out for at least a month, Clement would be the "Ace" of that staff at the beginning of the year, and it's not clear whether he'd welcome that added pressure.

The whole situation has me waking up early everyday to scan newspapers from other cities and Rotoworld. I find myself rushing home to check out the internet message board rumors, which are almost as accurate as Peter Gammons or Ken Rosenthal. I've developed the strange habit of having some form of sports talk radio in the background everywhere I go. Who needs Christmas music? Not me.

So here's where I was gonna write about how Clement compared to others on the market, but in the passed 10 minutes there was this,
I have this, but there's not too much point to even going further at this point.
               ERA+

Clement Pavano Perez

2002 112 79 126
2003 103 94 89
2004 123 137 127
Career 98 100 102


* * * * *

The most upsetting thing in all of this, is apparently there was some interest from Clement, and a matching offer probably would have brought him here. So why couldn't the Sox just pony up the extra $1.33M/yr?

Sox sign Timo Perez. There's your reason. What value is paying your sixth best, yes sixth best, hitting outfield option anything more than league minimum? What's the point in even having a 6th outfield option on the 25 man roster? 6 options in order(Aaron Rowand, Jermaine Dye, Carl Everett, Ross Gload, Scott Podsednik, Timo Perez). Gload and Everett can't field a lick, but they each still have at least as much range as Timo. But at least Timo can be that speedy lefty bat of the bench. Oh wait, Podsednik, Everett, and Gload are all lefties, and while the latter two are not fleet of foot they are just as fast as Timo.

The Timo signing is nothing short of flushing $1M down the toilet. He brings nothing to the table.

* * * * *

Now here's a troubling thought. The Sox just shipped out Carlos Lee for the box of peanuts that is Scott Podsednik, and according to Joe Cowley, part of the reason was his situational hitting. The sox just signed Timo Perez, and cited his situational hitting as an asset. WTF?

Why value 1/4 of a players at-bats as more valuable than the other 3/4? Timo was a woeful .205/.253/.281 in his 171AB's without anyone on base. But since nobody was on base I guess the sox didn't care. They don't seem to understand that in order for a player to get an RBI, to have a RISP AB, that somebody needs to get on base first.

At this point the White Sox are the least Sabermetricly inclined baseball team in all of the majors. They think they are studying the players well, but they are using the smallest sample sizes, and crazy situational stats, to help justify their bizarre roster moves. They are shunning, rather than embracing, their offensively charged ballpark. They have ditched the all-or-nothing offense, and will quickly come to find they have replaced it with a little-or-nothing offense. At this point, I have to believe they are the most frustrating team in baseball to the astute baseball fan. Cases can be made for the Mets, Nats, and DBacks but in general White Sox fans are just happy as clams if you spend money. So I would wager that most would be satisfied if they had "upgraded" like the other three mentioned.