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White Sox Interested in Upton; Vizquel & Omogross Updates

Jason Gage

Accountant By Day, Sports Analyst By Night

The St. Petersburg Times reported on Sunday that the Chicago White Sox have been amongst the teams to show interest in Tampa Bay Ray outfielder and former No. 2 overall draft pick BJ Upton. 


While the likelihood of the two teams agreeing on a deal are slim, the Rays have a potential replacement for Upton in Desmond Jennings (#7 Ranked OF Prospect in Baseball) and a need at closer and catcher.  The Sox happen to have a top of the line (when healthy) closer (Bobby Jenks) and one of the best catching prospects in baseball (Tyler Flowers).  Will that be enough to make a deal, probably not, but it is certainly a good starting point. 


Two years ago, the Rays would have hung-up the phone at that offer, but Upton, 25, is coming off a dissapointing 2009 campaign in which he batted .241 with a .313 OBP, 11HR, and 42 stolen bases.  It was the 2nd straight season in which Upton's numbers have been on the decline and the budget conscious Rays are very-well aware that Upton is just a year away from becoming arbitration eligible (under team control through the 2012). 


Despite the regression noted above, many believe Upton could benefit from a change of scenery and there is no denying his skill-set.  Upton would provide the Sox with a young, above average defensive outfielder, who has the tools be a premiere top of the order hitter (.386 & .383 OBP's in 2007 & 2008 respectively) and the power potential to be a middle of the order run producer.   


Vizquel Update

Little news came out over the weekend regarding the Vizquel talks, but Dave Van Dyck is reporting that the offer presented was for $1 million and an insider has learned that the team is expecting Omar to accept the offer and sign with the club as soon as today. 


Omogrosso Update

Late last week, SoxNet reported that the White Sox had purchased the contract of relief prospect Brian Omogrosso.  The move to protect Omogrosso from the upcoming Rule 5 draft came as a surprise as it had been widely reported that Omogrosso underwent surgery on a torn-labrum in July of 2009 and was expected to miss the entire 2010 season. 


Omogrosso informed Sox fans that the procedure he underwent in July was a minor clena-up and that he is already throwing and expects to be 100% by spring training.  While this news falls off the radar to most Sox fans, the organization should be quite happy as Omogrosso possesses one of the organizations best fastballs (mid to upper 90's) and along with Kyle Bellamy is Sox best relief prospect. 



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Jason Gage said:


Acquiring Upton would be incredibly exciting. I would think long and hard about a deal which involved Jenks, Flowers, and one more of our top 4 prospects.

The Sox get financial freedom from Jenks contract, move Thornton to closer, and upgrade the pen and sign a cheap DH.

Jeff Buchanan said:


I think Thornton is too valuable to be the closer, but that's another debate.

I like Upton a lot, his defense in CF is very good and it would allow us to move Rios to RF and upgrade 2 spots defensively. Upton has shown all the sides of his game; great OBP, power, speed and defense, but he just hasn't managed it all in the same season, if he does he'll be an easy 6+ WAR player. Buying low on him now makes a lot of sense.

PawsOut said:

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IMO Jenks + Flowers is way too much to buy low on Upton's potential. Jenks is a proven commodity and Flowers provides the same high ceiling potential that Upton can provide. I say Jenks OR Flowers plus mid-levels should do it. If not, I think it's too much to give up. Also, we'd have a starting outfield of potential. Awesome, amazing potential, but still no consistency has ever been proven by any three.

I truly think Flowers should be untouchable unless Kenny is blown away.

Jason Gage said:


To me Upton would be the best player in the package. He has the best upside and already has 2 out of 3 years where he's been at least a league average player.

The big question is, can the Sox use the financial flexibility gained by moving Jenks to fill other holes and make the team better all around.

If they can, I think you make that deal.

PawsOut said:

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See, I think Jenks is the most valuable player in that package. Upton had a pretty terrible season last year and while Jenks wasn't lights out, he does close out games and has consistently done so for 4 years.

But believe me, I would love Upton on the Sox. And I would trade Jenks + to get him. I just don't think the + should be Flowers.

I guess it all boils down to how much Tampa values a closer. I think good arguments can be made on both ends of that spectrum, but I also think that the value of Upton can be equally debated.

It seems like Jenks for Upton is about as equal a trade as you can get involving big names given both teams' ability to replace the traded player.

The Sox would need to get more bullpen help though as they would surely be moving their only good reliever to the 9th inning.

spillage88 said:

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Upton is a good player with lots of upside i agree but to give up Jenks and Flowers noway. AJ is up after this year and they wont keep him around Flowers is gonna be much cheaper. Also there is NO relief out there. Relief Pitchers are a shot in the dark and if we lose Jenks we are one less arm in the pen. The pen was not good last year so why give away something when we cant replace it. If you move Thornton to closer who is the setup guy? I say have Kenny try and pull of the trade on the cheap. Give up neiter of them. I would give up a young minor league pitcher cuz you never know what they will do.

Kenny Williams said:

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There is no on earth that TB would take a washed up closer who may have to be released soon and a catcher who can't catch. If Flowers is off the steroids and his knee completely heels from the last surgery, he may have a good enough eye to DH at the MLB level, but I don't think even the most wide eyed optimist would seriously consider him a legitimate catching candidate.

Jeff Buchanan said:


The questions about Flowers' ability to catch have mostly disappeared. By all accounts he took vast steps forward with his defense this year. He's unlikely to ever be a gold glove caliber catcher, but he will be given a shot to catch.

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