6.24.2007

A Look Back and a Look Forward: on Blowing up the 2007 White Sox

Rumor on the street is that Mark Buehrle may be headed to Boston soon. If he's got to be traded, he might as well be traded to a team I get to watch all the time, right? I'd be excited to see him pitch in Fenway, and I'd be excited for my White Sox to get some top talent in return (or what I guess is top talent--I am completely ignorant about prospects). Whether or not this is a bright idea for the Red Sox, I have no idea. I'll leave that to Mark over at the Crazy.

In any case, it appears as though Kenny is looking at blowing up the 2007 White Sox sooner rather than later. In a way, I think it's better this way. I'd rather them completely tank and restructure than have to suffer through a mediocre season, miss the playoffs, and quietly lose Buehrle and Dye and others to free agency. So it goes.

On a slightly different note, since I pretty much watch any baseball game that's on TV, I've become a hell of a lot more familiar with the Red Sox and, to a lesser extent, the Braves this year. And you know what I noticed? Willie Harris is having himself a hell of a May and June since getting called up by the Braves. Playing mostly left field, he's hitting .379 with a .438 OBP and 10 steals in 44 games.

I was always sort of a Willie Harris fan when he was with the White Sox, so it was kinda sad to see him ushered out the door following the World Series run in 2005. He had a rough go with the Red Sox last year, playing mostly in the minors and playing pretty poorly with the big club in sporadic action. Now that he's seeing regular playing time with his home-state team (he was born in Cairo, Georgia), he's playing better than either Juan Uribe or Tadahito Iguchi (Willie mostly played middle infield rather than outfield for the White Sox) and making me wish the ChiSox had held onto him.

Willie's resurgence--career year, really (or one-third of a year)--got me to thinking about more exciting days in White Sox history than the present day. Looking back to 2002, Willie's first year with the Sox, I was struck by the amount--and quality--of major league talent on that roster that's still around today. Hell, with some finessing, you'd be fielding a better, albeit much older, starting 9 (you wouldn't have a pitching staff, but whatever) than the crap Ozzie and Kenny are putting out there today.

So with the 2007 team on the brink of being blown up into unrecognizability (it's a word because I say it's a word), let's take a look at what the lineup would look like populated with 2002 cast-offs, with some key 2007 stats that put the White Sox's current offense to shame.

1. CF-Kenny Lofton (Rangers--.289 BA, 16 SBs)
2. SS-Willie Harris (Braves--aforementioned greatness)
3. RF-Magglio Ordonez (Tigers--MVP numbers: .381 BA, 1.110 OPS, 13 HR, 68 RBI)
4. LF-Carlos Lee (Astros--12 HR, 59 RBI)
5. 1B-Frank Thomas (Blue Jays--12 HR, 34 RBI)
6. DH-Aaron Rowand (Phillies--.395 OBP, 10 HR, 39 RBI)
7. 3B-Jose Valentin (Mets...ummm, injury shortened. And I hate him)
8. 2B-Ray Durham (Giants... well, Ray's not having a go
od year. But then again, that's status quo for the Giants)
9. C-Miguel Olivo (Marlins--also not impressive, but hey, he's starting for the Marlins)


Coming off the bench would be Joe Borchard, Tony Graffanino, and Royce Clayton with Jon Rauch and Bob Howry in the pen.

So, maybe not as impressive as I first thought it was, but whatever. How many teams could populate a viable lineup of guys with the team 5 years ago, since traded or let go... and actually be pretty faithful to their actual positions? Just for comparison's sake, doing the same thing for the Reds turns up guys like Jose Guillen, Wily Mo Pena, Austin Kearns, Juan Encarnacion, Brady Clark, Sean Casey, and Aaron Boone. Maybe the White Sox situation is not so unique... but I think it's safe to say they'd kick the reconstituted 2002 Reds cast-off team at least.

A couple more weeks and guys like Buehrle and maybe even Garland--two of only four players still remaining from the 2002 team (Konerko and Crede are the others)--may find themselves in different uniforms, making the White Sox cast-off team all the more better than the real thing.

5 comments:

Jason said...

I wish the Cubs could play the White Sox every game. They might be able to have a winning season that way. Winning the season series against the White Sox is like the Purdue/Indiana football game back in the early 90's.

The bad thing about thinking back to 2002 is that Mark Prior was hurt that year. We would have a resurgent Sammy Sosa though.

MBQ said...

I doubt the Red Sox will end up with Buehrle unless he's willing to agree to an extension before the deal is done. I can't see Buehrle doing that because he's about to sign the biggest contract of his life and it'd be good to get out in free agency and get teams competing with one another.

There's so many teams looking at Buehrle (Mets, Phillies, Red Sox among the most prominent) that there's bound to be someone in more desperate need of a starter than Boston that's willing to give up more.

Notorious B.O.B. said...

My concern with a white flag trade is that I get the feeling Kenny struggles with evaluating minor league talent as compared to other GMs. Look at the crap hes called up this year. Im not impressed with any of our young talent. And the same could be said for every guy we've called up in the past 3-4 years. All our "home grown" talent came from prior to Kenny being here pretty much.

The only exception I can think of is Jenks, and he was aquired by trade and was in the minors only briefly. I think pretty much everyone else we got is from the previous GM or free agency. Don't screw this up Kenny!

Gage said...

The other thing that has always stood out about Buehrle to me (as an outsider) is that he seems to let his emotions come into play a lot. See the whole "I want to pitch in Yankee Stadium" ordeal. That sort of emotion might lure him to Fenway over the big payday. Just a thought.

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