In case you missed it, the White Sox haven't done anything. After using their most valuable trade asset merely as a tool to cancel all of Mark Teahen's August charity events, the White Sox have stood pat. They've neither restocked with young talent nor added a desperately needed competent bat. As the deadline neared, The only hint the Sox gave of anything was opining for starting pitching, which can't be as dumb as it sounds...
...unless it's as dumb as it sounds.
All this portrays the White Sox as a franchise that has really painted itself into a corner. They've stripped their minor league system too bare to be able to part with any veterans, and in turn are finally invested too much to make any of their trademark mid-season deals. Uh-oh.
Cleveland and Detroit certainly aren't so hamstrung.
The Indians appeared to still be viewing 2011 as simply the first step of their larger plan to build through their impressive minor league system when they dealt two minor prospects for Kosuke Fukudome and his pristine 0.0 WAR. However, all that changed Sunday when they finalized a deal to ship out prized pitching prospects RHP Alex White and LHP Drew Pomeranz along with two other minor leaguers in exchange for RHP Ubaldo Jimenez.
Jimenez is under team control for two more seasons after this one at reasonable prices, so while this trade is generally being lambasted for raiding the Cleveland farm system for the sake of making a run with a barely over .500 team, it certainly makes their rotation a lot better in the here and now. Even if Jimenez currently sports a 4.46 ERA, his strikeout rate hovers consistently above 8 per 9 innings, and three-straight seasons of xFIP in the 3.60's is more than enough to qualify him as Cleveland's No. 2.
Detroit made a corresponding deal that has a lot lower chance for failure, though less potential for reward. They dealt OF Casper Wells, LHP Charlie Furbush and a yet-to-be-named top 3 pick from their 2010 draft for reliever RHP David Pauley and starter RHP Doug Fister.
Wells was buried on the bench, and Furbush's spot rotating between the rotation and the bullpen is covered up by the acquisitions, so Detroit isn't cutting down much. Pauley's results (2.15 ERA) are a hell of a lot better than his peripherals, but that's a lot more than can be said about the rest of the Tigers bullpen. Fister on the other hand, is having a career-year in his third season with a 3.33 ERA. He's a bit of a soft-tosser and doesn't strike many guys out (5.49 K/9), but has great control (1.97 BB/9). Besides getting drilled by the Sox earlier in the season, Fister has had a lot of success keeping the ball on the ground (46.4 GB%) and avoiding home runs (4.4 HR/FB%). Moving to Comerica Park won't force him to come back to Earth in that regard.
He's conclusively better than Duane Below, and under team control for cheap through 2015.
Seeing as both teams were a threat to derail due to pitching woes, both of them adding quality rotation pieces can't help the Sox chances. At all.
White Sox aren't uniquely stupid
So the White Sox dealt the baseball-murdering Brandon Allen to Arizona for bullpen help back in '09, which was only made slightly worse in concept that the bullpen help was Tony Pena.
But they're not alone! Arizona dealt Brandon Allen to Oakland for Brad Ziegler's bullpen help for their almost-certainly-ill-fated run for the NL West division crown. Ziegler's a lot better than Tony Pena, and Allen's strikeout problems may yet derail his promising career. But still, it's a reliever....for a left-handed slugger first-basemen....on a team without any kind of good first basemen.
Apparently these mistakes are made all the time.
The Lighter Side
Frank Thomas had a statue of himself unveiled on Sunday in U.S. Celullar's center field concourse, but he's managed to line it up with the unveiling of 'Big Hurt Beer', a 7% ABV lager that will apparently be sold in 24 OZ cans. Now that Frank's predilection for consuming beers two at a time has been revealed, any last whispers of his bulking up over time being PED-induced can be put to bed.
I've resisted critiquing the movie tastes 1st round draft pick Keenyn Walker has expressed on his Twitter account more times than I'd like to admit, but one of his recent questionable admissions has a high chance of being fixed:
If this young man ever makes his way to Chicago...oh, the wonders he will discover. Soon your days of eating crappy pizza will be over, Keenyn. If you want them to be, that is.
Tags: AL Central, baseball, brad ziegler, brandon allen, casper wells, charlie furbush, Cleveland Indians, david pauley, Detroit Tigers, Doug Fister, duane below, Edwin Jackson, Frank Thomas, keenyn walker, Mark Teahen, Tony Pena, ubaldo jimenez, White Sox