I'm not really known for seeing things coming. In many cases I've been cited as being oblivious beyond reason.
"There's a lot waiting for you if you'd just open your eyes for once."
-Woman I would eventually become involved with
"Guh." [Rolls eyes]
-Woman I never became involved with any serious way
This trend is only exacerbated by the White Sox. For all I know, someone could have robbed my house Thursday night when I was trying to stare a hole into the TV during the latter innings of the Twins game. But yet, a large number of things this season have completely blindsided me.
1. 43 is apparently not too old to have effective range and admirable bat-speed
A traditionally light-hitting and devoid of power player like Omar Vizquel would seem to have less of a shelf life than most aging players. At around age 35, when most athletes' knees turn into packing popcorn, the defensive specialists, base-stealers, and others who rely on footspeed and agility tend to find themselves fighting for minor-league managing jobs.
When the White Sox signed Omar, I saw it as two things: First, that if Kenny Williams likes a guy, he WILL sign him eventually, even if it's ten years after he initially wanted to. And second, that the White Sox have so many athletic, but no natural fielding ability-types that Omar's know-how would be a welcome contrast.
Not only has Omar played what looks to be superb but is statistically graded as average defense, but has somehow managed to hit several points above his career OPS at an age where most ex-players are shooting Just for Men commercials...or getting liver transplants. Despite hitting .091 for the first month of the season, Omar has locked down the starting 3rd-base job and the 2-spot in the order a full three years removed from the last time he saw regular action. Steroids are tested for, but perhaps MLB should think about confiscating Vizquel's case of Ensure, and see how he performs afterward.
2. Andruw Jones really is washed-up after all
Don't get me wrong, I was all set to declare Jones' career over after the past two seasons; but I thought that because he seemed content to eat himself out of baseball. When it was widely publicized that Andruw was signing with the White Sox and was neither egregiously overweight nor playing on one leg, there didn't seem to be any reason one of the most prodigiously talented players of the past 20 years couldn't have a half-productive season at the age of 33.
I mean hell, at least he could keep Mark Kotsay on the bench, right?
Nope. Andruw's power hasn't evaporated (tends not to), and watching him in the field has shown that even if he's lost a step (or five), his struggles at the plate aren't related to being unable to swing a bat around a newly acquired gut. It just seems that he can't do anything but homer, strikeout, or ground weakly to short
Ground-ball rate: 48.2% Career-high!
Line-drive rate: 9.4% Career-low!
Having a guy who can sock a HR at anytime is a nice, but the whistling line-drives for singles and doubles in between those dingers is the difference between being a starter and a pinch-hitter with a famous name.
2a. Jake Peavy's injury
With his history, anyone could have seen Jake getting hurt in 2010, especially with his extremely disconcerting comments about 'shoulder soreness' and 'it won't push out', but a muscle in his back not immediately involved in his delivery completely detaching from the bone? What happened to good old Tommy John surgery?
3. Paul Konerko Contract Controversy
I think (no, I know) I speak for all White Sox fans when I say that when Konerko was re-upped after the 2005 World Series campaign, the question was whether this emotion-driven decision would come back to bite us in the ass, not "Are we sure we gave him enough years?"
When the White Sox doled out a 5-year deal to a guy who would be 30 the next time he stepped on the field, the hope was that he wouldn't fall off production-wise to the point where it went down as one of the worst contracts of all-time, not that he would somehow live up to the value of the deal. Given the three-year sag that occurred from 07-09, this still wasn't a great re-signing, but that just made Paul's current .955 OPS all the more unexpected.
Mark Teahen still isn't the next Jason Giambi, Dayan Viciedo is a paraplegic (he can't walk...get it? GET IT?!?!), and Mark Kotsay is a preposterously laughable suggestion. The White Sox are in a position where they either have to re-sign Konerko, acquire a comparable replacement (essentially impossible with their assets), or admit to the fans that 2011 is a re-building year.