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Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Nostradamus I am not

Since I made a bunch of predictions over the weekend, I thought I would take a look back at some other predictions I had made about the Sox off-season activities.

Here is the post with my predictions
. (listed with commentary below)

1) Before the Monday morning paper hits your doorstep, the Sox will have inked Omar Vizquel to a 2-year deal, with an option for a 3rd, vastly overpaying in the process. This is not a bold prediction, I know, but it's not like there are any other SS available this year. (Renteria, Cabrera, Garciaparra, CoughGuzmansucksCough, Valentin, Counsell) Vizquel will be the first SS signed. The market will set itself in a week or two to be much lower than what the sox paid.
I wasn't even close on this one, but all indications before the signings started were that Vizquel was a White Sox. Vizquel's deal didn't end up being the albatross that it originally appeared to be, but that could change. I applaud Kenny for balking when he asked for a 3rd year.
2) The Sox will not trade Paul Konerko. KW does a lot of dangling of Konerko again, but finds that the market isn't as strong as he'd like it. Konerko deals with the situation well, and has another good season on the Southside, his last.
50/50 on this one, I guess. Konerko was never really shopped, though he probably was behind closed doors. He has handled everything very well, including his present contract situation. He has indicated he would like to come back.
3) Carlos Lee is shipped along with $2M to Anaheim in exchange for Jose Guillen and a mid-level pitching prospect.
I think I got a little too specific here. I knew Carlos was gone, I knew Jose was gone; it seemed like a good guess.
4) The Sox get out-bid by the Yankees for the services of Eric Milton. They win the bidding, over the Yankees, for Russ Ortiz. He get's a deal that pays him only $6M in '05, but a guaranteed $9M in '06, and has two option years.
Even the Yankees balked at Milton's outrageuos contract demands. Ortiz signed a similar deal with the D'backs (He pitches vs. Mad Dog tonight). Neither player recieved any interest from the Sox. Good job again Kenny.
5) They do nothing else. Esteban Loaiza is talked to briefly, but when the word bullpen is brought up he quickly signs his deal with Tampa Bay.
Loaiza's only serious interest came from the Nats, and once again, KW wanted nothing to do with a pitcher I thought he would be all over.
Perhaps the most revealing thing from that post was my predicted opening day roster. -- Shown below with the actual opening day roster as a comparison.
Predicted                           Opening Day Roster
SP - Garcia SP - Buehrle
SP - Buehrle SP - Garcia
SP - Ortiz (Russ, not Ramon) SP - Contreras
SP - Contreras SP - Hernandez
SP - Garland SP - Garland

CL - Shingo CL - Shingo
RP - Marte RP - Marte
RP - Politte RP - Hermanson
RP - Cotts RP - Vizcaino
RP - Adkins RP - Politte
RP - Diaz RP - Cotts

1B - Konerko/Gload 1B - Kong/Gload
DH - Thomas/Gload/Everett DH - Everett/Thomas/Gload
2B - Uribe/Harris 2B - Iguchi/Harris/Ozuna
SS - Vizquel/Valdez SS - Uribe/Ozuna/Harris
3B - Crede/Uribe 3B - Crede/Ozuna/Uribe
LF - Everett/Perez/Gload LF - Podsednik/Everett/Perez
CF - Rowand/Perez CF - Rowand/Podsednik/Perez
RF - Guillen/Gload RF - Dye/Perez/Gload/Ozuna
C - Davis/Burke C - Pierzynski/Widger
The most glaring differences are the Catcher postition, and the pen. The guys who I thought would break camp with the Sox as catchers will open on the same team on Friday, for AAA Charlotte. There's also 2 members of the pen who I thought would be with the team opening in Charlotte. (Diaz is actually on the DL, but why quibble.)

I think what this illustrates is two things, 1) I wasn't very confident that we would put a competitive team on the field, and 2) Kenny Williams did one helluva job this off-season.

I know it's cool to bash Kenny, after all 40% of the Pirates opening day staff is from one trade, and he was the butt of the joke in Moneyball, but he had a very creative off-season. Even though I may not have agreed with all the moves, I think he did a good job with the resources available. He reshaped the team in a form that is more likely to suceed under the current manager's style, and without really adding much payroll.

Kudos Kenny. It's probably the last time you hear it from me for a while.