When White Sox players get paid more than they're worth, or saddled with larger responsibilities than they're capable of executing, it's a tragic and sad thing. When other teams overvalue former White Sox players, it's hilarious and reminds us of the beauty of freedom. Sweet freedom.
What, Atlanta Braves? You want Scott Linebrink to pitch which inning of your season-deciding final regular season game?!? That inning? For real? Oh man, I await the results of your decision with great anticipation.
Carlos Quentin and the San Diego Padres
The Padres did fine trading for Quentin. They dealt two young arms who had both hit a wall at Triple-A for TCQ to come bring them some vague sense of an offense (something they lacked last season). They did so on the notion that the AL West was open enough for some quasi-contending, and that their fans might get a kick out of seeing the occasional home run. That's cool.
Seeking a contract extension is another thing. Sure, the Pads might get the best price for Quentin now if he blows up, but they'd be committing cash before seeing how an outfielder who's main value is derived from power hitting, has been known to struggle to field his position, known to struggle to stay healthy, and really struggle to field his position when he's struggling to say healthy, adjusts to a park that depresses home run totals and features a massive outfield.
Here's to the Sox re-signing Quentin on a one-year make-good deal next off-season after Petco Park tries to eat his career! (fingers crossed)
Edwin Jackson and Scott Boras
Perhaps it's been overshadowed by him doing the exact same thing with a higher-profile client by the name of Prince Fielder, but Scott Boras has been going through the same drawn-out, cloak-and-dagger routine with Edwin Jackson. In fact, he's been doing it with damn near every one of his clients, nearly all of whom are unsigned going into the new year, with no push or momentum toward making a deal, and uncertainty hanging over the identity, number, or existence of any suitors.
$15-17 million a year is too rich for Jackson, even in light of the John Danks extension, but the greater irritation about Boras' process is the type of roster flexibility it requires to wait out the market for a big ticket rotation piece for the entire off-season. Especially for a team like the White Sox, who were monitoring the starting pitching market in order to determine their franchise's direction, conducting business with Boras in this way is nigh impossible.
It should make it a little more clear why the White Sox treated Jackson like a lit cigarette on their lap at the trade deadline.
Ozzie Guillen's Healing Powers and the Miami Marlins
The Cubs purged one of their beasts of burden in Carlos Zambrano, by sending him along with $15 million to Miami for fellow right-handed starter Chris Volstad. Zambrano was in his final year, so it would seem to be a deal largely driven by psychic benefits, but the return isn't half-bad. Especially if you consider this:
Which is to say nothing of the differences in age, price for next season, or the number of relatively cheap years of team control. Of course, the reason the Marlins made the move, is also obvious. Their new manager, Ozzie Guillen, loves Zambrano, and the greatest minds in baseball think he can wrangle the best out of the right-hander.
While keeping Zambrano happy could at the very least up his innings total by way of avoiding suspensions, it's worth noting that Guillen is not the pitching coach, generally not anymore fond of disruptive personalities than the average manager, and doesn't always work well with friends.
That's not to say it won't work, or that Ozzie doesn't know more about baseball than all of us and could be basing this decision on a lot more than braggadocio. It just that it's rare to see a team desperate to sell off a player get an essentially equal contributor in return.
Mark Kotsay and the San Diego Padres
It's late to rant on this, but 1 yr/$1.25 mil for Kotsay makes even less sense now than it used to.
Thanks to the Mat Latos trade, the Padres have two first basemen now, so that little bit of Kotsay versatility is useless. He can't possibly play centerfield in Petco, so that's no good. Carlos Quentin has slight reverse-platoon splits for his career, so having a lefty bat who can only play the corners is even more useless, especially since he hasn't been able to out-hit Wil Venable or Chris Denorfio in raw stats the past two years, despite spending them in some of the best hitter's parks in the league. And that's to say nothing of his potential to block Kyle Blanks.
Surely, if there was any team that should have been able to figure out that Mark Kotsay--not capable of defending even a non-premium position particularly well, completely neutralized by lefties and utterly unremarkable against righties--was not worth a major league contract, it should have been a team preposterously loaded with young players begging for plate appearances, it should have been a team with no money to blow on meaningless roster spots. It should have been the 'effin Padres.
Scott Linebrink and the Minnesota Twins
Tags: Atlanta Braves, baseball, Carlos Quentin, Carlos Zambrano, chris denorfio, chris volstad, Edwin Jackson, John Danks, kyle blanks, Mark Buehrle, Mark Kotsay, mat latos, miami marlins, Ozzie Guillen, petco park, Prince Fielder, san diego padres, scott boras, Scott Linebrink, White Sox, wil venable