This would be one of those lulls of sorts in the White Sox news cycle. So much so that I don’t even have anything to add to that thought. It’s a lull. Luuuullllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllz.
Waiting for trades has offered a lot of time to ponder just what kind of pie-in-the-sky type scenario with the current roster would actually produce a division-winning season. I couldn’t determine whether to handle such a measure with a serious statistical breakdown, or with the jest that the question deserves. The former pursuit lost momentum when I realized that the WAR calculator I downloaded was quite clearly broken. I’m no wiz with this stuff, but 60 innings of relief from Matt Thornton at a 3.40 ERA doesn’t seem like it deserves a -3.2 WAR.
As for handling it in jest, I didn’t get much farther than this one fake player profile:
Adam Dunn shows up to camp garishly thin, possibly under 200 lbs, citing an off-season program of “jogging all the f****** time, just like all you people said I should”. From the earliest moments of camp, a drastic change in his plate approach is visible too. Gone are the titanic whiffs that marked his career, and newly arrived is an all-contact approach that sprays flares and grounders around the infield. Dunn even flashes the footspeed that saw him steal 19 bases in his second season, and eventually forces Dayan Viciedo to DH so that he can man right field. Dunn’s remarkable reformation earns him the 2nd All-Star bid of his career, even though statheads argue that his .317/.343/.429 line isn’t particularly remarkable for a corner outfielder. Taking over the leadoff spot allows Dunn to earn his first 200-hit season, alongside numerous other meaningless counting stat benchmarks. In the deciding final game of the division series against the Angels, Dunn goes 3-4 with three singles and a stolen base, but is stranded on every occasion, as the Sox are eliminated 1-0.
“I hope you’re happy, motherf******,” Dunn grunts while walking out of the clubhouse for the final time.
According to Jon Paul Morosi–one of the few guys who is allowed to blow through a bunch of rumors on Twitter without derision–this week is supposed to bring about some more trade activity as GMs try to wrap up their major roster moves before Christmas. Good on GMs for recognizing the existence of popular social occasions while in the thick of their work. I tend to lose track of time tweaking my roster on MLB 2K11, so I can only imagine it’s harder for them.
Still, let’s see how true this principle has held up for the White Sox over time. What moves has Kenny Williams made over the last week before Christmas?
2010: Decides he’s too fidgety to wait for the relief market to settle down, forks over a 3-year deal to Jesse Crain. So far, not bad at all.
2009: Brings back 27 year-old OF Josh Kroeger for another go at Triple-A Charlotte. He goes on to slash .204/.285/.364! This doesn’t really qualify, but I didn’t want to put nothing here.
2008: Signs Ryan Braun!….The wrong one. Nothing happened this year either.
2007: Pretty much nothing
2006: Pulls off the Danks for McCarthy trade with Texas, and in doing so, provides a go-to option for what to mention if you want to try to get into a fight with Jon Daniels.
2005: Trades Orlando Hernandez, Luis Vizcaino, and Chris Young to Arizona for Javier Vazquez and a whole heap of mixed results. Also allows Willie Harris to go to free agency during this period. Not Willie!
2004: Fires twice, hits once in the pursuit of the perfect back-up catcher. Signs Ben Davis and Chris Widger. It’s a day too early to fit my criteria, but on December 17th, Williams claimed Bobby Jenks off the waiver wire.
2003: Signs the 40 years-old and out-of-baseball-for-a-year Mike Jackson for bullpen help.
2002: Signs Sandy Alomar Jr. to return to the ChiSox catching duties, and has the good sense to release Todd Ritchie and Jim Parque
2001: Literally nothing
2000: Signs Sandy Alomar Jr. for the first time
For one team, that’s a fairly active slate in the last week before Christmas, with some especially notable ‘big-time prospects for a rotation-piece’ swaps. I would say there’s something to Morosi’s assertion, and I would certainly hope there is something to it.
The trade status for the Sox seems to be the same as it’s been for a while. The White Sox are waiting out the Yankees for one of their top prospects for Danks, Gavin Floyd is a backup option for most contenders who are currently in the Gio Gonzalez sweepstakes, Carlos Quentin just seems like he should be able to be moved rather easily to some offensively-challenged NL team, and inexplicably no one wants to touch Matt Thornton with a 10-foot pole.
More links? Alright.
Chris Jaffe at the Hardball Times states the case for Tim Raines to make the Hall of Fame. Sox fans seem to be oddly split on whether Raines was one of their favorite players, a solid and consistent contributor, or an abominable disappointment for not winning 5 MVP awards during his age 32-36 years. I am not in the third group.
Once again, I know that when Mark Gonzalez does anything, his primary goal is to be straight-forward and informative. Still, when he titles a piece “Sox like Molina’s upside potential“, I can’t help but think “WELL, I WOULD HOPE SO”.
J.J. expresses some concern about Jesse Crain, which is pretty warranted, seeing as Jesse earned his big deal with the White Sox, and the trust of his new team by drastically out-pitching what his peripherals says he should be capable of the past two seasons. He’s enjoyed a very low batting average on balls in play, been remarkably successful in keeping runners from scoring, kept a high-percentage of fly balls in the park, and just about every other thing that pitchers aren’t traditionally able to demonstrate a great deal of control over. There are always exceptions, though.
Organizational soldier/back-up catcher/owner of a career 102 wRC+ in the majors/savior of humanity Donny Lucy retired. Larry from South Side Sox’s reaction is vital material.
Jermaine Dye is on Twitter now. Since he’s unaffiliated with any team he needs to make nice with, and not pushing any product at the moment, he’s probably a slightly more interesting follow than the average athlete on Twitter. My favorite moment so far was when he referred to winning World Series MVP as “almost as good” as the birth of his first child. That’s interesting to hear. I mean, this smile doesn’t look quite as big as this one.
It sure was a pleasure watching him hit.
Tags: Adam Dunn, baseball, ben davis, Bobby Jenks, brandon mccarthy, Carlos Quentin, chris widger, Dayan Viciedo, Donny Lucy, Gavin Floyd, gio gonzalez, jermaine dye, jesse crain, jim parque, John Danks, jon daniels, Matt Thornton, mike jackson, nestor molina, ryan braun, sandy alomar jr., Todd Ritchie, White Sox, Willie Harris