In an effort to be a well-researched, consistently topical White Sox blogger, I took the liberty of following @mlbtraderumors on Twitter some months back. For a while, it seemed like a pretty good decision; it actually reminded me to follow semi-plausible trade talk, and kicked some half-decent topics for posts rather often.
I felt pretty positive about until today, when I left my laptop open with Twitter up and left for work, only to return in the evening to find that my laptop very exploded, with burnt shards in the couch, embedded in the wall, and one, having impaled the cat. So long, Lou Holtz the Cat, you flew just a little too close to the sun.
I kid, of course. If blogging was literally killing off those I loved...I probably would at least parse myself down to 3 posts a week. But seriously, there was the proverbial ass-load of White Sox trade stories today, and in the past three days. This is a development that's quite remarkable, because to date, absolutely nothing has actually happened.
Well, one thing happened. The White Sox signed Dallas McPherson, a once highly regarded prospect at 3rd base, now a 30 year-old minor league HR king. But hey, if Randy Williams' dreams don't have to die, why should Dallas'?
It's still unlikely that anything transpires before the deadline for teams to offer players arbitration on November 23rd. And maybe if I had remembered that, I wouldn't have bothered getting so worked up on anything that happened before now. But let's get into it.
It's almost hard to know...where to start first.
Ah yes, catcher. For funsies, let's tell every saga like it was some winding yarn a hack writer who never evolved past low high school-level in their composition would scribe. Let me reiterate, this is for funsies.
So the Marlins wanted a new catcher after a year of the Ronny Paulino and three other dudes regime in 2010. A.J. Pierzynski seemed like a likely candidate being regarded league-wide as 'competent' and owning a home in the state...but then the Marlins heinously overpaid for John Buck, which did two things. First and obviously, it meant A.J. wasn't going to Florida to go be John Buck's Ramon Castro. Second, Buck's meaty 3-year, $18 million contract pitched the market for mediocre catchers over 30 significantly higher than anyone expected. A.J., even if he's secretly an insane, knuckle-dragging moron, still is an athlete with a paid agent, and will want to see if one of these crazy contracts could fall in his lap.
As Jim Margulus, and J.J. "Respect the Gloyd" Stankevitz have already pointed out, this makes offering arbitration to Pierzynski the play to make for the Sox. They're no longer in danger of overpaying him because of the price Buck set the market at, and if he declines, they'll be well-compensated in terms of draft picks when he bolts. Even if they want to pursue free agent Miguel Olivo--who in terms of his reputation for handling a pitching staff can be called 'Bizarro Pierzynski'--it will probably prompt A.J. to decline his option and give the Sox picks. It's a win-win...so as long as it's still a win when you're starting a mediocre over-30 catcher in 2011. One thing is clear, there's absolutely no kind of "let's give the keys to Tyler Flowers" vibe going on at all.
At first base, the wait-and-see-and-try-to-read-Paul-Konerko's mind game continues, with no real developments ever since Mark Buehrle wavy, noncommital 'I donno man, I donno' analysis of Konerko's feelings on free agency. There's still plenty of reason to think that the White Sox would like him back--they need offense, Reinsdorf loves him, acquiring a superior (or even suitable) substitute isn't exactly a cinch--so an offer of arbitration is likely headed his way, in fact, I can't see a way where the Sox lose.
Say they offer him arbitration...he accepts....Yay! We got Paulie back! Yaaay!
Say they offer him arbitration...he declines...some team, apparently not the D-Backs picks them up..White Sox awarded draft picks, and room in the budget. Uh...sad, but ok!
The Dunn variable
Kenny Williams still is carrying the torch for super-powerful, super-slow, no-defense, high-strikeout, everything-Ozzie-Guillen-hates-in-life, left-handed-bat Adam Dunn. The Sox are fringe candidates to land Dunn, but he provides an adequate replacement if Konerko bolts....although probably in a huff because they signed his replacement before he made up his mind, and if they sign him and Konerko accepts, then they have a mighty fine trade chip, or a very potent 1B/DH rotation (and no money whatsoever)
In terms of outfielders in name only, SI's Jon Heyman has reported that Kenny Williams is keeping up the White Sox tradition of pursuing players he's always loved 4 years past their prime by inquiring about Hideki Matsui. Matsui is left-handed, and rallied to have a pretty good offensive season in 2010, but he wasn't a good defender before he got really old and his knees died and went to heaven. Either he plays awful defense, and even as J.J. forewarned, makes the entire outfield worse, or he full-time DHs and Carlos Quentin plays awful defense...
...unless you ditch Quentin. Almost definitely unable to sign Jayson Werth, the Phillies are interested in trading for Carlos, because if you can't afford the Cadillac, why not see if you can pick up a broken Rolls Royce? My favorite part is the line that the Phillies have done "extensive groundwork on Carlos Quentin", leading me only to assume that Philadelphia has blackmailed Bud Selig into instituting the DH in the NL.
Matsui, Quentin, De Aza, Bob Zupcic, whoever, the White Sox need to find someone who can play right field, the absence of 'competent fielding outfielder' rumors is disappointing.
Finally, in the random trades portion of the rumor mill, the Sox are still trying to trade Bobby Jenks (are you interested? are you?) before they inevitably non-tender him. Even though his strikeout numbers are as good as ever, and there's always the chance a change to a team whose fans don't heckle him in the bullpen will revitalize his career......but no ones going to cough up players for someone they can get on their own (and not compete with other teams for) in a few weeks (unless you will...will you?)
The Sox are reported to be willing to listen to offers for Gavin Floyd, which most circles are treating the same way as the report about the Sox being willing to listen to offers for Gordon Beckham--both are very talented, fairly young, have every reason to succeed in 2011, and are on pretty friendly contracts...what possible reason would we have for trading them? I guess they both had nagging injuries that kept them out near the end of last seas---OH GOD! WE'RE GOING TO MIKE SIROTKA SOMEONE, AREN'T WE!?!?!!! SECRET INJURY! MORAL RELATIVISM!!! NOOOOOOO!!!!
Actually, I don't know...KW is probably just trying to test the market.
And as for Four Loko...that was a shameless throw-in to sneak in confused page views. Though if the White Sox started selling Four Loko in the upper deck, could you tell the difference? The last time I sat in the 500 section in September, some guy sitting three sections over by himself pointed at the field and screamed "Yaaaarrgghh!", and he did so every two seconds over a three hour period....and near the end, other people were joining in.
And them's the rumors.