Tuesday, March 13, 2007

FC's MLB Preview: Chicago White Sox

Offseason Analysis: Kenny Williams didn't buy into the free agent market like his crosstown counterpart Jim Hendry, mostly staying out of the bidding wars and instead trying to alter the team through trades. He shipped 2005 hero and 2006 bust Neal Cotts to the Cubs for David Aardsma in the first Cubs/White Sox trade since 1998 when the Cubs acquired Matt Karchner for Jon Garland. Williams also tried to capitalize on the insane starting pitching market by shipping off a couple of his starters for minor leaguers. Freddy Garcia was sent to the Phillies for Gio Gonzalez [who was just traded by the White Sox a year earlier for Jim Thome] and Gavin Floyd. In a seemingly odd move, Williams then turned around and traded 23 year old Brandon McCarthy to the Rangers for their top prospect, John Danks and two other minor league pitchers. Ex-Cub Andy Sisco was also brought in from Kansas City in exchange for ex-Cub Ross Gload. Mike MacDougal [who finished 2006 with the Sox], Toby Hall and Luis Terrero all recieved free agent contracts from the White Sox, none of which broke the bank.

Random stat from 2006 that was awesome: Bobby Jenks posted a 7.04 ERA against the Royals in 8 games...however, in those 8 games, all of which were save opportunities, he converted seven of them.

Most Overlooked Player: There's a fun reliever poised to make the team by the name of Charlie Haeger. He came on last season in September and pitched well by having a 3.44 ERA in 18 and a third innings. He also had 19 strikeouts to go along with 13 walks, but it should be known that the kid is a knuckleballer. He won't turn 24 until September, and actually retired in 2003 before coming back and picking up the knuckler. He'll be one to watch bounce around for the next 25 years.

Fun prop bet: White Sox Wins vs. Cubs Wins + 10. Yeah, spot the Cubs 10 wins and you might have an even bet. You might have to expand that to 15, though. But still, even with all the money, take the White Sox. You've also got the ever fun Mark Prior wins + Kerry Wood wins + 5 vs. Mark Buehrle wins. The Cubs haven't won that one in a while, and won't again this year.

Funnest non-roster invitee: Wikipedia Gonzalez has been invited to camp and is trying to win a job as the third organizational catcher in AAA waiting for Toby Hall to get hurt. Eduardo Perez is also a non-roster invitee, and it's at least a little surprising that he didn't get a major league job somewhere since his .253/.324/.452 line is a lot better than some of the other guys that got Major League deals.

Player unlikely to live up to expectations: Relief pitchers historically have been rather volatile. With the exception of the great ones, closers are prone to season long implosions, oftentimes without any warning. It's far too soon to declare Bobby Jenks one of the all time greats, but at the same time it's not beyond the realm of possibility to say that he could impolde. He put up some less than impressive numbers in the second half, posting a 5.72 ERA and a .836 OPS against.

Player most likely to finish second to David Eckstein in this years Holiday Inn Second Look/scrappy white guy award: Scott Podsednik almost took the naming rights from David Eckstein back in 2005 when the White Sox won the World Series, and as long as he keeps showing the grit, hustle and [most importantly] pluck, he should have this category locked up for the rest of his career.

So. Much. PLUCK.

Mike Caruso Memorial Overrated Prospect Award: Because a lot of the 2007 White Sox predictions going into the offseason rested on the arm of Brandon McCarthy, it would seem only fitting to put John Danks here, if for no other reason than the Sox are giving up quite a bit now and hoping for a bigger return in a year or two. It's not that Danks' numbers in hte minor leagues are all that bad, except that in each of 2003, 2004 and 2005 he ran into a bit of a rough patch after getting promoted, but that could be expected from a young pitcher going through the minors. So much is going to be expected of the kid because of what fans thought of McCarthy. I'll put him here for lack of anyone better, but note that his overratedness is in debate. The kid is still pretty good.

A Fake Newspaper Headline From Some Point In The Season: Scott Podsednik Benched

A haiku about this teams chances:
Brandon, Freddy gone,
Lots of pitching, down to some.
It rests on Vasquez.

No comments: