It makes more sense that they don't know

It makes more sense that they don't know
Williams expressed disappointment when Paddy informed him that this new, strange country full of talented pitchers not only had a name already, but was not interested in giving him the honorary title of "Generalissimo" // Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune

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*.

Snatchin' arms!

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!

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  • Great BP article from the vault, written when Mark Prior was the exception. "TNSTAAPP": "I pretty much believe that you can throw all pitchers into a bin until they're 21 years old or in Triple-A" -Joe Sheehan.

    I think Kenny is an ardent subscriber to this philosophy. He is much more willing to take on talented pitchers in their early twenties (Danks, Floyd, Sale) and less willing to draft teenage pitchers in the higher rounds. I have no problem with this. The Sox have been a good pitching team and a healthy team over the KW tenure. Herm and Coop often get credit but Kenny deserves his share. But because swinging at a baseball (or fielding it) is a much less violent endeavor than snapping one off or throwing it with all of your might a billion times, young hitters are more projectable. But for some reason, KW has an aversion to touted young hitting prospects. This I do have a problem with.

  • In reply to Ham N Egger:

    It's a sound principle, but his reaction to it is kind of extreme. Sheehan himself might even say that this more means you have to roll with the punches and take on a lot of these guys than avoid them all together. By all means, Kenny should continue to sell on them when they're over-valued--or valued at all in trades--but the draft strategy to steer clear of high-schoolers is flawed.

    It's perpetuated with current farm-system situation. With the minors compeltely barren, he's going to want to fill it with some sure things because they're too thin to absorb any busts.

  • In reply to James Fegan:

    I don't understand how the strategy is flawed as far as Sox pitching is concerned. It has been successful and sustainable. If you look at xFIP (the HR independent FIP) 2006-2011, the 5 years after the Sox won the WS, you see that the White Sox have been the 2nd best pitching team in the AL. Certainly, there are teams that invest heavily in young arms (as you write: "roll with the punches and take on a lot of these guys") and are successful (e.g. the Braves who were 2nd in xFIP in the NL from 2006-2011). But the way the Sox do it has proven successful as well.

    The problem in my opinion has been extending TNSTAAPP philosophy to hitters. Essentially changing the acronym to TNSTAABP (there's no such thing as a baseball prospect).

  • In reply to Ham N Egger:

    I guess I'm just concerned about the sustainability of that because I look down the pipe and see Terry Doyle wading through a sewer pipe. You're right though, the run of success is there without prospect, so I should just look to Sale, and they way they acquire Danks and Floyd, or even Humber, and realize they're capable of finding help when it's needed.

    TINSTAABP made me snicker out loud. I am using that...with proper citation, of course.

  • In reply to Ham N Egger:

    Sorry, 2006-11 is 6 years. I was told there would be no math.

  • In reply to Ham N Egger:

    Without math, all that's left is pitcher wins.

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