The Tribune company owns the server that this blog is published on, so maybe this isn't the smartest career move I've ever made, but something tells me that limited readership is my friend. Tribune writer Phil Rogers wrote a feature article about the dreary beginnings for both the Cubs and Sox that I hated hated hated, which is remarkable considering I essentially agreed with the central thesis of the piece. The thesis being that the White Sox are most likely doomed, but the Cubs have a chance because they're more talented and play in a weaker division. I don't think that the Sox necessarily can get over the hump and overtake Minnesota if everyone kicks in the gear, but for Rogers to say that "you really have to use your imagination to get this Sox team to .500" when so many players on the roster are producing drastically below career norms (Quentin, Pierzynski, Floyd, Buerhle, Ramirez, Beckham, or even Pierre). Of those players, only Pierzynski and Pierre are due for age-related dips in production. Teahen's below career levels too, but I honestly believe that he's just an abject failure.
But that's not really what ticked me off. In the section titled "Gut read" to let us readers know we're getting some exciting, off the cuff, sharp-witted opinions from this grizzled columnist (pinch me!), Rogers claims that "Pitching wins championships, but it doesn't carry a weak team", before citing the Sox' dismal offensive numbers.
So what you're saying is essentially that pitching doesn't really win championships because you need both offense and pitching. Firstly, this statement is irrelevant. The White Sox are 11th in the AL in ERA at present, so their pitching is faaaar too weak to claim that the offense is dragging it down. Second, pitching can win championships, as it blatantly did in '05 when the Sox took it all despite finishing 11th in the AL in batting average. That team won with excellent pitching and defense, the two principles this year's team was supposed to be built on but have failed at.
While Rogers is on point that GM Kenny Williams has consistently gutted the farm system, like most incredibly short-sighted White Sox fans he bemoans the loss of almost every veteran player. Openly campaigning for the Sox to bring back Juan Uribe, Rogers cites him as one of a "string of productive players" allowed to leave by Williams along with Thome and Dye. Williams dumped Uribe after '08 because Alexei Ramirez had just finished in the top 5 in Rookie of the year voting, and Juan had posted his third-straight sub-.700 OPS season. You're right, Phil! That was clearly a terrible decision at the time! Why keep a 26-year old who's faster, younger, with more power and speed, when you could keep a D+ offensive player for three times the price?!?!
Speaking of paying way too much for under-producing veterans, Rogers wanted us to keep 39 year-old Jim Thome to DH (because he can't play anything else), even though he can't hit lefties, needs to be pinch-run for whenever he gets on base, can't hit for average anymore and is essentially Andruw Jones if you tripled his salary and cut off his legs.....oh and made him six years older. But hey! At least he'd be charming and down-home. Dye is 36, hit in the .170s after the All-Star break last year (that's a far longer stretch of suckitude than the one Phil is condemning this year's version of the Sox for), and to top it off, Jermaine would have demanded at least 5 million dollars. It's a captivating amount of hypocrisy for Phil to wonder "Just how much loyalty does a World Series ring buy?" for Kenny Williams, but demand the same loyalty for '05 heroes who have gone to seed. He also complains that we replaced these players with the likes of Alex Rios and Mark Kotsay. Rios is the most talented and conistent position player on the team so far, and Kotsay is blatantly a utility player and not a replacement for either of these two guys at all. Phil Rogers could probably be pretty insightful, if he had watched a game since '06.