Wednesday, March 02, 2005

 

2005 Season Preview: Chicago White Sox

I feel the White Sox are going to finish in fourth place this season, and they have no one to blame but themselves...and maybe Scott Boras, but that'd be too easy. Then again Kenny Williams also thinks his entire offseason plan was ruined by having Omar Vizquel sign with the Giants, so maybe blame should be shifted upstairs, in the place it has gone everytime he has "zigged and zagged" according to Baseball Prospectus. This season they have decided to abandon being a powerful pitching team or a powerful hitting team, and instead have tried to become a speed and defense team. Williams did a good job of using the money he saved from the Carlos Lee trade to plug other holes the White Sox had, but the issue is that he weakened a team that didn't hit or pitch well enough to win in the first place.

Ben Davis, C: I do not think too much of Ben Davis, and for a team that complains about not being able to afford players (and just cleared up money by trading Carlos Lee) I do not understand the logic of giving Davis $1,000,000. In 2003 he was a league average catcher according to BP. In 2002 he was 3 runs above average, but overall it may not be worth the money when you factor in the VORP of 0.2.


Jermaine Dye, OF: Uh…23.3 VORP. Quite the “comeback” for Dye, who will never be the same as he was before his freak broken leg. So Kenny Williams gives him a 2-year $10 million deal to reward his .265/.329/.464. The deal does not look as bad now considering the way the market has overvalued players, but still there was no need to pay that much. Richard Hidalgo and others were available as well.

Dustin Hermanson, RP: Hermanson is a tough call, as he went from successful to season ruining closer in a matter of weeks. They are paying him a couple million per season too, and again I wonder what Kenny Williams is thinking. Lets add Hermanson, Davis and Dye together and wonder why either a better starter or a better hitter wasn’t added and then cheap talent used to fill the gaps.

A.J. Pierzynski, C: Good pickup for a team whose best option was Ben Davis. But apparently he’s nuts (or just likes to kick the trainer’s anyways).

Orlando Hernandez, SP: Well El Duque is effective and worth the money he was signed for…if he’s healthy. Probably one of the biggest if’s in the baseball world though. So if he’s healthy then kudos to Kenny and Crew…if he’s unhealthy then there is $8 million more down the tubes (that could have been spent on something more reliable).

Tadahito Iguchi, 2B: .333 and 24 homers last season with the Daiei Hawks. Three time Gold Glove winner and two time stolen base champ. Power (and the intentional walk reputation that comes with it) is most likely to slip in the transition from Japanese baseball to the Major Leagues according to Clay Davenport's Translations. So Iguchi will most likely be a big upgrade at second base over Willie Harris.

Acquired via trade: Scott Podsednik and Luis Vizcaino for Carlos Lee.

Why Kenny? “Oh now we have a top of the order threat (giggle) that can steal bases and score runs for us!” Who is going to drive him in? Konerko is your entire lineup now. You let Magglio walk, you let Valentin walk, and you traded Carlos Lee. Thomas might not be back for awhile. Aaron Rowand isn’t really that good. Oh wait, you have Joe Crede…phew. Don’t worry White Sox fans! The Carlos Lee/Konerko/Thomas/Magglio/Valentin/Rowand lineup couldn’t get you into the playoffs, so here comes Podsednik/Dye/Konerko/Rowand/Everett to the rescue! No offense to Paul of course. Imagine what is going to happen if Konerko has another 2003-like season (.234/.305/.399)?

  1. Scott Podsednik
  2. Tadahito Iguchi
  3. Paul Konerko
  4. Aaron Rowand
  5. Jermaine Dye
  6. Carl Everett
  7. A.J. Pierzynski
  8. Joe Crede
  9. Juan Uribe

The lineup sounds better than it really is I think. Dye is likely for somewhere around last years performance, Everett looks like he regressed back to his 1997 level of play, Rowand is good, but probably not that good, Pierzynski is an upgrade over any catching combo they had previously, Podsednik is a black hole of a player who happens to move very fast, and for some reason I just don't feel comfortable depending on Konerko as my best hitter. And Joe Crede is still Joe Crede. Iguchi could do well and add an extra dimension to the lineup (the one Podsednik is supposed to bring) with a little more pop.

  1. Freddy Garcia
  2. Mark Buerhle
  3. El Duque
  4. Jon Garland
  5. Jose Contreras

I don't trust Garcia to perform start to start, nevermind year to year. Buerhle I like, and he is the ace of this staff in all but name, even though I wish he struck some more people out considering the innings he pitches. For those of you who may see Garcia's numbers as better than Buerhle's in 04', Garcia's ERA with the White Sox was 4.46, while his Seattle one was 3.20. El Duque will be valuable if healthy, as always is the case with him. Garland is a good enough innings eater for a 4th starter, even though I don't really like his K:BB ratio of 113:76, or his K/9 of 4.69. Contreras had better peripherals with NY in 04', but got slapped around royally on occasion. He could finally put it together like his stuff says he can, or he may just continue to disapoint. BP 2005 says Contreras's issue is that he can't find the strike zone, and there is nothing else to attribute his failure to.

The bullpen is probably the biggest strength this team has, with Shingo Takatsu, Luis Vizcaino, Damaso Marte, etc., holding down the leads this team probably won't have. Maybe I'm being too harsh on the White Sox, but reactionary signings and trades with refusal to stick to a plan catch up to you in more ways than finishing behind the Twins. Sometimes you finish behind the Twins, Indians, and Tigers, with the lowly Royals the only thing making you keep your job and 4th place finish. But don't worry, you got Scott Podsednik instead of Carlos Lee.


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