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White Sox September To-Do/See List

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Mario Scalise

When you go from second place and as close as two games out to third place and as much as 7 games out, and your GM trades two vets and cash for a couple minor leaguers at the waiver wire deadline, it's time to start looking at next year. But with a month to play, let's look at the present with a September to-do/see list for the free-falling White Sox.

In no particular order...

  • Relieve Matt Thornton. While Ozzie Guillen and the players aren't quitting (according to him), his GM certainly did once that reported memo went out telling fellow GMs that a list of veteran Sox players were available. That said, it's not time to put on a show and more a time to give Thornton a rest. Between pitching in the World Baseball Classic and throwing 59.2 pressure-packed innings (throwing in the high 90's throughout), have Thornton call it a season. He's too valuable of a 2010 piece - especially with the current state of the pen - to waste further energy and risk injury pitching in meaningless September games. You can say this about anyone I'm sure, but relievers' unreliable health from year-to-year makes this too obvious of a choice.
  • Accurately diagnose Jake Peavy. It would be nice for Peavy to get a few innings under his belt before the season ends, but like Thornton, there is no reason to risk injury. If he isn't 100%, pack it in and get him ready for next year.
  • Six-man rotation. If you hadn't noticed, it's all about getting ready for next year, which is a lot about health. Buehrle is on pace for his ninth consecutive 200+ inning season. Gavin Floyd and John Danks will likely do the same. Moving to a six-man rotation will allow them to ease up over the final month and leave the season on a healthier note.
  • Plus, it will allow the Sox to take a look at both Carlos Torres and Dan Hudson, who will both likely be fighting for the fifth spot in the rotation next year, while still testing Freddy Garcia's arm. If all goes well with those three, as bad as this season turned out, the Sox would likely be the only team not looking for a rotation arm in the off-season.
  • Give Alexei Ramirez a month to prove he's their shortstop of the future. Ramirez entered spring training raw, but the mental mistakes have become physical mistakes. He's far too passive right now, looking afraid to make an error, which only leads to errors. Tell Ramirez that the guy to his right will gladly take his position, so he better play with his natural instincts.
  • Ramirez has the tools capable of playing shortstop. He clearly isn't as good as Guillen and Kenny Williams said back in spring training, but there has to be some truth to it, and watching him, there is. If there is and he proves it, Beckham will have to continue his development at third, where he is fully capable of being a reliable glove, if not of the gold variety.
  • See if Chris Getz can go the entire month without a nagging injury. As much as I like him and feel he can be a true baseball player on a team that's lacked them over the past few years, he's found himself on the bench or disabled list a bit too often this season with injuries. Fortunately there is Jayson Nix as insurance, but it has to be Getz's position to take ... if he can prove healthy.
  • Write out the lineup with 2010 in mind. Williams keeps Guillen out of the loop with some things in fear of Guillen blabbering about it. Guillen also only cares about the 25 guys he has to manage that given day. Still, there are a few guys in this lineup whose futures with the Sox are fuzzy. If Williams has his mind set on who's staying and going, then the lineup should best indicate it. Is Scott Podsedink a lead-off candidate for 2010? Where do Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko stand? Is Carlos Quentin expected to be the hitter next year that he was in 2009?
  • As minor league season/playoffs come to a halt, the Sox should look to bring up a few more arms for the pen, and not just for the purpose of sitting Thornton or resting Jenks, but finding potential arms for the '10 pen. Scott Linebrink and/or Octavio Dotel will be on the trading block and Bobby Jenks wasn't the premiere "closer" he's been in the past. They need options, and when it comes to relievers, you'll usually have better luck finding a good one in a failed starter than a pricey vet.
  • See if Alex Rios shows signs of not being a waste of money for the next several years. He was a big acquisition for a team in the playoff hunt, and since his arrival, the team has lunged out of it. It isn't because of his play, but he certainly didn't help matters with his 16 strikeouts, one walk and .167 batting average.
  • See the defense of Tyler Flowers. The Sox top prospect has apparently made some major strides behind the plate. Give him a chance to show it, along with how his bat will transition to the majors. AJ Pierzynski should remain the Sox's primary catcher for 2010, but a good showing for Flowers could make him more of a partner, and less a backup.

What say you? What do you want to see over the final weeks, aside from a miraculous run into the post-season?

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3 Comments

JimH. said:

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Send your comments to Guillen and Williams directly, they are excellent. You never quit until you're mathmatically eliminated, but your points are spot on. For one, I'm surprised Nunez wasn't called up, but then again there are things we might not know.

Mario Scalise said:

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Quitting sucks, but if quitting puts your team in a better position to win later, then quit away. It's not like the Sox are a team that's 5-10 games over .500 ... if they were, I'd say they still have what it takes to string something together, but when you're under .500 ... you can hope, but you have to be realistic too.

sthsideaussie said:

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Quitting is the wrong term. If you can't win/succeed with the people you've got get rid of them and bring in someone else. More like common sense.

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