This off-season for the White Sox has been sort of dull. Unyieldingly dull, even. The most exciting thing the team is done is retain Jason Frasor, and, like, what the hell? Why did they do that?
If it feels like that Sox have been stuck in a holding pattern, with even a call like "we don't have any use for not-cheap and getting-older mediocre relievers" registering as a little too decisive, it's because Kenny Williams actually doesn't know what he's going to do yet. Besides less money. He would like for whatever he does to cost a bit less money.
"I’m not ready right now. There’s some fact-finding that has to go on and this is going to take a while."
"We got some players that have garnered some interest from a number of clubs. And we’ve got to exhaust ourselves to make sure that if we end up making a deal or end up staying the course and try to add to it, that we know exactly what we’re getting ourselves into."
That seems like an odd place to be at given that organizational meetings just wrapped, and presumably that topic was covered at some point.
Yet between Quentin, Danks, and Floyd, it would seem like the White Sox off-season is almost entirely--Buehrle included--dictated by the whims of the trade market, and how much an offer for either tickles Kenny Williams' fancy.
KENNY'S TICKLE INDEX
A traditional leadoff man + a young MLB-ready starter with #2 upside -"AHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAH!!!!!, OMG STOP THIS SERIOUSLY CAN'T BE GOOD FOR MY BLOOD PRESSURE!"
League-average veteran corner outfielder + young power arm + B prospect - "Heehee, stop, heeeehheee, stop. They're staring, they're staring!"
Set-up man + Double-A defense-first catcher - "I have a lot of fancy, and you haven't quite encompassed it in titillation"
Fourth outfielder + Zach Stewart clone - "It's just a dull rubbing sensation as far as I'm concerned. I'm putting my blazer back on."
Three high-ceiling prospects...all in High A-ball - "What the--hey Hey! HEY ST-STOP IT! STOP! Get off of me!!......here, I'll help you down from my desk"
As unstable as such a set-up might be, maybe it makes sense that Kenny just wants every possible asset in tow while he's figures things out. Of course, with his recent trade record, the idea of Williams free-wheeling with no set idea of how he wants his roster to shake out isn't nearly as exciting as it was 7 years ago.
Some might say it's downright dread-inspiring, or some might rollover in their beds and wait to be awakened by a press conference announcing that Carlos Quentin has been inexplicably swapped out to make room for Josh Willingham, and that this is an exciting new beginning*.
The White Sox signed two left-handed minor league free agent pitchers Thursday in Donnie Veal and Jose Quintana. They also left a post-it note on Will Ohman's morning newspaper reading "Watch your ass!", but watched disappointedly as he just shrugged at it and went about his day.
In 2009, Marc Hulet called Veal "interesting" because of his "hard stuff from the left side". That volcanic eruption of praise was 9 underwhelming Triple-A starts and a Tommy John surgery ago. Now he's a 27 year-old flier that will get a sprtiz of Don Cooper pixie-dust and see how it takes. For every Matt Thornton there's a few Jimmy Gobbles. Gobble Gobble Gobble. Heh, Gobble.
Jose Quintana is an interesting case. He's only 22 years-old, and came available because he was signed at age 17 and has already accumulated 5 years of service time in the minors. 22? Holy crap! That makes him an actual prospect! With upside! Not great upside, as he's 22 and in High-A ball, and has shaded a lot more toward "effective" than "overpowering" since getting out of the rookie leagues.
But still! A pitching prospect! The White Sox have one! Acquired in the most White Soxian-way possible (sketchy undercover minor league free agency)!
If only there were such a thing.
*Some = Me!