I just glanced at some stats and HOLY CRAP SHOULD WE HAVE KEPT JIM THOME?!?!?

I was happy when the White Sox decided to not sign Jim Thome before this season.  Not because I disliked Jim in any way.  He was a great player who gave the White Sox some very great years, and from all accounts was an exceedingly great guy (I mean, how many times has the media fallen for the humble white guy from a rural area?  Never happens, right?)  But I believed the Sox hype, and the Sox hype was that the team was moving in a new direction.  They were to become a team based on speed, pitching, and defense, and were disavowing the tradition of slower-than-the-effects-of-the-health-reform-bill sluggers that they confusingly re-avowed in 2006 after winning the World Series in 2005 where they had disavowed it to some degree except not really because Carl Everett was pretty darn slow, especially in his acceptance of modern science.

But as a man who saw Jim Thome hit several bullet line-drives to the
wall last season and pull up at 1st for a single, I accepted this
paradigm shift as necessary, and was excited to see what the White Sox
would come up with.

I still hope to God that they just got lazy and rested on their laurels,
and that the Mark Kotsay/Andruw Jones platoon wasn't actually the
plan.  (Now would be the time to refer to the 2010 Season Preview
column I leave posted where I gushed about how excited I was to have
Jones.  To be fair, I liked the concept of taking a flyer on him with a
cheap, one year contract, not the concept of him being a replacement for
a known quantity.  I still do.  It didn't work out, but we lost

In all the purging of old driftwood, it surely seems that at least in
the case of the DH, Kenny Williams forgot to actually replace it with
SOMETHING, leading to this hellish rotation of Kotsay (26 games), Jones
(13), early-season crappy Carlos Quentin (13), 'I feel too tired to play
1B today' Paul Konerko (9), and 'no Earthly business being here' Juan
Pierre.  This rotation has hit .223 with 9 HR, 29 RBI, for a .675 OPS. 
By OPS this position, the position where the sole purpose of the player
occupying the position is to hit, is the 7th best hitter in the
lineup; ahead of only the 2nd Baseman (Gordon Beckham's teen slasher
flick of a season), and the left-fielder (Juan Pierre; who last had a HR
when Carlos Quentin could still run).

Surprisingly, in a league that's offense is slumping worse than the
housing market in Louisiana right now, the production of the White Sox
DHs is actually better than that of 5 AL Teams.

Toronto: Star-in-the-making Adam Lind taking an unexpected year-long
sabbatical from hitting

LA Angels: Pried Hideki Matsui away from the Yankees, only to discover
that he probably returned to Japan sometime after the 2009 World Series
parade.  The true identity of the guy wearing his jersey in LA is
anyone's guess.

Oakland: Eric Chavez isn't retired??!?!  Who knew???!  Jake Fox is
apparently completely useless as well, Jack Cust is currently playing at
a half-decent level.

Seattle: The lethal combination of Mark Sweeney (dead), Milton Bradley
(mentally ill), and Ken Griffey (retired, asleep, and dead)

Tampa Bay: Failed at resurrecting three different careers in one season
(Pat Burrell, Hank Blalock, Willie Aybar)

One team is getting pretty darn decent production out of the DH slot,
and that's the Minnesota Twins.  A half and half rotation of Jim Thome
and Jason Kubel is hitting .247 with 11 HR, 45 RBI, and .807 OPS, with
Thome being by far the more productive contributor.  Jim's
hitting .248, but has 8 HR, 9 2B, and 22 RBI is only 117 at bats for a
.929 OPS.  Also, he has more walks than all Sox DHs combined in about
half of the plate appearances.

Jim's definitely been solid in limited time, but it wouldn't be worth it
to dole out the money necessary to keep him with our payroll already
what it is...

Thome's 2010 Salary: $1.5 Million
Kotsay's 2010 Salary: $1.5 Million

Oy.  I guess now would be a bad time to bring up that Jim was willing to
take a hometown discount to return to Chicago.   Still, as much as the
White Sox are in need of a left-handed power bat, there's no way they're
going to be interested in having someone as defensively useless and
cement-footed as Thome in the middle of the order...



Well, the DH of the future is actually already on the White Sox roster. 
It's Carlos Quentin.  Perhaps just installing Carlos in right has made
it easier to swap around DHs than it would be to rotate right fielders,
but he fields like a DH (-13.5 UZR) and hits like one too (.261, 8 HR,
23 RBI, .936 OPS in the month of June).

Not to nitpick, but if the 'new direction' was just to skirt along with
castoffs until July where we wake up and realize that we need at least
one decent left-handed bat in the lineup, then we surely could have
given Mark Kotsay's salary (who is currently being paid to generate
outfield assists for opposing teams) to Thome.  Or we could just admit
we're throwing stuff at the wall, and play Lillibridge in right-field
until his OPS drops below 1.000.  

Follow White Sox Observer on Twitter
@ WhtSoxObserver and on Facebook

Look out for WhtSoxObserver on Twitter especially during games
for in-game commentary and updates   


Leave a comment