Sigh, I just read through all of the "Fire Sale Guide" article on Sox Machine that was written back in May, and it was very striking to think that this team barely had enough talent to draw a decent amount of prospects if they gutted the roster then and there. But nowadays we get to debate fun things like "Can this team win the division?" because as it turns out, Minnesota and Detroit are much, much worse than most pundits gave them credit for.
And the Sox are better too, that's definitely a factor. The starting
pitching can be excellent, the defense isn't exactly packed with
superstars but they happen to have very good players at the three most
important positions (SS, C, CF), and they can hit (mostly for power)
when they want to. By all means, the White Sox are competitive, and
should compete for the division title.
Winning the damn thing...well...that's frankly a bit of a tossup. The
loss of Peavy is about as huge as it seemed. Even if Daniel Hudson obliterates the Mariners later on tonight, and even then...it's just the
Mariners, the White Sox have lost their dominant feature, their meal
ticket, the prevailing strength that can carry them over the many, many
flaws that have situated themselves in the Chicago roster.
We gotta do something, We have to get slightly better. Otherwise, the
ceiling for the 2010 is the result of 2008; when an aging and
overmatched squad scratched, clawed, weathered the loss of the AL MVP,
played to about 104% of their potential, and won the weakest division in
the league in a one-game playoff. And were promptly waylaid by a far
superior team in the division series.
Don't get me wrong, 2008 was an absolute blast. I adored that fatally
flawed team with all my heart, and cheered without inhibition when they
won the division, but that's partly because I knew that was all they
could get. Unless Sox fans dream about cheering "We weren't swept!
Hurrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy!" come October again, this team needs a
little boost, especially if they want to even be granted the right to
discuss a World Series. And really, once the payroll eclipses the
9-digit mark, shouldn't that be the goal? Especially when it seems the
team is going to eschew all opportunities to build the farm system or
So what should the team get? Eh....I don't
care....something....something that's not garbage....what are the
A bat - Hey a bat! Bats are cool, and good for beating people
who are trying to key your car with. As for a contributing hitter,
that's a more difficult issue. It's kinda hard to find an impact hitter
who can also play competent defense available, and the White Sox
already have two or three DHs in their defensive allignment. I'd much rather find
someone capable of playing the outfield or 3rd base so that Mark Teahen
will stop committing errors and Carlos Quentin will stop running into
walls and breaking ribs and whatnot. Really, just about anything is
worth considering as Mark Kotsay seems to have become our everyday DH.
A starter - As detailed earlier,
there's a lot of prime, damaged, but talented veterans starters who
might be available. This is also the spot where the White Sox could
best manage to add a piece that wouldn't be a loaner, as they could just
let Freddy walk in free agency after the season, and they could move
their best prospect to do so in Daniel Hudson, as there'd be no hole in
the starting rotation for him to fill. Also it wouldn't result in the team trying to do a stylistic about-face 90-something games into the season, which is nice.
Upgrade the bullpen - The most knee-jerk of the reactions! I called for Putz to be made the closer once he got situated in the season-preview, and that still seems like a much more attractive option than enduring another period of Bobby Jenks figuring out how to throw strikes again. The real man letting down this scenario is Sergio Santos.
At times, it seemed like he could take over the role of being the late-inning right-handed setup man, but has become quite the walkaholic recently. If someone, someone from the Santos, Linebrink, Pena, gang could step up then it would be fathomable for Putz to transition to the 9th and Jenks to be flipped as part of package for something (a 5th starter, a hitter better than Mark Kotsay, new socks for everyone, anything!).
Yankees GM Brian Cashman referred to the trade market has having
"limited options and high-price tags". So as much as Corey Hart might
be perfect for us because he's only 28, not overpaid, and would take Quentin out of right field, the White Sox might be out of the running not because they're unwilling, but because they're flat-out talent broke. Without a star prospect, every team is asking for Gordon Beckham, who Kenny Williams wouldn't part with even if it didn't mean being ripped limb from limb by distraught 13 year-old girls. As much as they covet a top tier move, the White Sox are only afforded to do something modest. To get the missing piece they need, something completely friggin crazy is going to have to happen.