The White Sox never wanted to be in this spot. Manger Ozzie Guillen has said since September began that if the White Sox were out of the playoff race, the team’s Minor League prospects would take the big league field to gain experience for next season while playing in a low-pressure environment. Now, it appears he will make good on his word. With September reaching its conclusion and six games remaining in the regular season, Guillen finds his team eliminated from playoff contention. And no matter how well or poorly the South Siders play to close the year, they will end the season right there. …
September 27, 2009
“Listen, I have [Alexei] Ramirez, Carlos Quentin, Gordon Beckham, and I got [Chris] Getz. I have [Tyler] Flowers. I have seven or eight kids, and the problem we have in baseball is that the people who run this thing, they let players do whatever they want to do, and that’s why they do whatever they want to do. My job is to teach those kids that it is not the way to do it. I never tell my players what to do or how to prepare yourself, but when you lose a game and all of a sudden you look around and they are watching another thing, that means you are teaching the kids, ‘Don’t worry about it, this is the big leagues. If we lose a game, who cares? We are out of the pennant race. I have to teach these kids it’s not the way we should handle this stuff. If I let that thing go away, then I don’t have the power and the right to tell the kids in the future what to do because it was like, ‘Well, two years ago, you let them do it. … Watching a football game? I never said anything about watching a football game. When you’re stupid, pick who’s going to win this week, who’s not. I don’t get involved with that because I respect that. But when you lose a game and you were embarrassed by the other ballclub, to me, I don’t care who’s there. That’s the way it’s going to be. If nobody wants to play for me, so be it. Whoever plays for me, he’s going to respect this game. He’s going to go about the business the right way, and I don’t think last night was the right way to show me about the way we go about our business. As soon as the game’s over they’re worried about who’s winning in college, who’s the best quarterback. Who [cares]? Respect the game, respect your teammates, respect people paying. It’s not only this clubhouse, every clubhouse in baseball. That’s my problem. I don’t have a problem with the players, I’ve got a problem with baseball and baseball doesn’t handle it the right way. My plan is to see those kids grow up and manage the White Sox for a little while. Believe me, anyone who is going to play for this organization, they are going to learn how to be a professional and how to handle things the right way. I see it around the game, players do whatever they want to do. Maybe I made mistakes I didn’t even know about as a player. But all the problems we have in the game are because we don’t have people to step up and say it and do it, and that’s not the way. Believe me. I grew up a different way. I grew up. When you lose, it hurts. You are embarrassed. That taught me the respect for the game.”
But it wasn’t Guillen who drew the ire of the preseason predictors who tabbed the Sox as a below average operation. It was Williams. ESPN’s Rob Neyer called for the team to win 75 games before the season and believes the White Sox are what should have been expected and that Williams’ assertion the team is underachieving is off-base. FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron ripped Williams for his direct role in the club’s performance due to their lack of talent, not their underachievement. (Guess that’s the last time Williams listens to Cammy when it comes to player advice, eh?) Like always, hindsight is 20/20 but there’s a good chance if the predictors were offered a mulligan on their outlook on the White Sox, they would have taken it. Do you think given the opportunity, on August 22nd with Jake Peavy on his way back and the club at 63-60, would anyone stick to their 75-win prediction? Maybe the most stubborn but not many. …
September 26, 2009
Ozzie Guillen thought the Sox players tuned to the football after losing tonight:
“It’s a bunch of (bleeps) out there watching football games like a piece of (bleep) with no pride, the way they (bleep-bleep) play, and that’s embarrassing. If you don’t have pride to play this game and you don’t care about it, get another job. Because I know I’m going to be all over the stinking place when I talk about this. I’m not in a pennant race, but at least I have some pride and at least I have something to fight for and at least I have something to show up to this ballpark and play for. And when you go out there and you turn your TV on and watch stupid (bleep) football when those (bleep-bleep) football players don’t give a (bleep) about you, that’s embarrassing. We’ve got how many games, seven games, they’ve got to put their (bleep) together. Because I don’t mind losing games. That’s part of the game. But when you lose games and you don’t even care about it, we’re going to have problems. I run this ballclub and I’m going to run this ballclub the way I want to. If they don’t want me here, I’ll get another job, or get me other players. But getting your (bleep) kicked like that, then all of a sudden you’re watching football games, that’s a bunch of (bleep).”
Paul Konerko chimes in:
Team captain Paul Konerko said he believes Guillen misunderstood the players’ reaction after the game. “The televisions were on already when we came in the locker room,” Konerko said. “No player turned them on. I’m all for no TV, no music, no kids across the board when we lose, so I really understand.”
Guillen said Hudson should “just do what he has done in the past. It’s a good chance for the kid to open people’s eyes. We’re going to move people quicker than in the past [though the minors].”
Another case of Ozzie being Ozzie probably …
Baseball America’s John Manuel:
On the current roster, Smoak has emerged as the team’s star, with nine home runs to set a USA Baseball record. The switch-hitter out of South Carolina was a high school teammate of Orioles rookie catcher Matt Wieters and is on track to fulfill the athlete development model that USA Baseball dreams of. He played for the college national team in 2007, is on the team now as a minor leaguer and seems destined to suit up in a WBC down the line.
Cuba’s five-tool center fielder, 23-year-old Alfredo Despaigne, has matched Smoak home run-wise. He’s part of the surprising reality: Contrary to its reputation, Cuba has plenty of hitting talent but not enough pitching.
Peter Bjarkman’s blog has much more.
Carlos Torres will take the mound Tuesday night in Cleveland in place of Mark Buehrle, with the White Sox left-hander possibly having made his last start of the 2009 campaign. … Buehrle will continue to do his regular work in between starts. Guillen hinted that if the last game of the 2009 regular season at Comerica Park means something for the Tigers or the Twins, then maybe Buehrle would make the start. … Otherwise, Buehrle closes out another workmanlike year. He has a 12-10 record, 3.95 ERA and his requisite 32 starts and 207 1/3 innings pitched. The only disappointment for Buehrle would be his 1-7 record and 5.18 ERA over 12 starts since his July 23 perfect game, a stretch in which he has yielded 97 hits in 73 innings.
He currently throws in the high 80s, but projects to fill out and add velocity. His secondary stuff is currently ahead of his fastball. He throws an above-average 12-to-6 curveball and a changeup that looks like a plus pitch at times. He also throws a slider. …
September 25, 2009
The Mets claimed right-hander Jack Egbert off waivers from the White Sox, according to Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post. The 26-year-old only appeared in two games with the White Sox this year and the results weren’t pretty. He allowed one run for every out he recorded, so he has a 27.00 ERA to show for his 2.2 innings pitched.
Egbert pitched better at Triple A Charlotte, where he allowed 132 hits and 33 walks in 108 innings. He struck out 78 and finishes his minor league season with a 5.05 ERA.
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Matt, I saw a report the other day identifying some similarities at the plate between Thompson and Mike Stanton. While that is intriguing to say the least, Thompson is obviously much more raw. That being said, how much of a project is he going to be in terms of learning to hit advanced pitching – what is a realistic expectation for his career path?
Matthew Eddy: Trayce Thompson is that rare player who won over league managers despite not really hitting a lick. You can see the potential in his frame and with his bat speed and his grace in the outfield. But in reality, he could be facing another assignment with Bristol next year to iron out his pitch recognition.
Trayce Thompson (Bristol): Remember, Mike Stanton hit .161/.226/.268 in his first pro season.
Matthew Eddy: This isn’t a question, but it is an appropriate place to wrap things up. It’s important at this level not to get to swept up in a player’s performance, great or poor. For the young first-year players, especially, they have so much development left in front of them that what they do over the course of their first 60-70 pro games is insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
The White Sox have traded away many prospects over the last couple of years but to date none of them have come back to bite the Sox. Here I will review all of the prospects traded away by Kenny Williams in 2009 and will try to determine whether this latest crop of former prospects will come back to haunt the White Sox in the future. …
Dubee is putting up some nice numbers after he got traded to Pittsburgh for Andy Phillips.
Six-foot-4 and a bit soft-bodied, Holmberg has room to grow stronger and improve upon his present high-80s velocity. He sits at 86-88 mph and touches 90 from a straight overhand delivery, which aids him in getting good plane to the plate. Quick hand speed enables Holmberg to spin quality 12-to-6 curveballs with above-average break and depth. He mixes in a plus changeup and throws an occasional slider. His secondary stuff and precocious feel for locating his pitches and for changing speeds marks him as a future mid-rotation candidate, particularly if he adds a few ticks to his fastball.
Rodriguez features a plus-plus fastball during most outings, topping out at 97 mph and sitting at 95 with late movement. The pitch features incredible plane by virtue of his 6-foot-5 height, and Appy Leaguers struggled to lift the pitch, going homerless during his 27 innings. He throws a changeup with above-average arm speed that neutralizes righthanders. Despite his arm strength, Rodriguez still walks too many batters to rank as a surefire relief prospect, though his control improved as the season progressed. He also doesn’t have a usable breaking ball at this point, as his slider doesn’t consistently show enough tilt to be graded even as fringe-average.
For the full reports on all 20 prospects go to the link.
I wrote down the five Sox players I would most trust in a foxhole with me. The five who have heart and guts and would battle to the end. Then I asked the same question of a few Sox personnel — players included — just to see if there was a match. Surprisingly, there were very few differences, and three players were unanimous picks. So here’s the All-Foxhole Team, as unscientifically thrown together as possible.1. A.J. Pierzynski, C, 2. John Danks, SP, 3. Gordon Beckham, 3B, 4. Bobby Jenks, RP, 5. Mark Buehrle, SP
He isn’t very good. Ignore the numbers and his ability to play a few positions, and what you have is a player that likes to swing for the fences and look for walks. The result is a lot of ugly swings at bad pitches and a lot of looks at good ones.
Well, give me a .251/.368/.495/.863 batting line with a 89/120 BB/K ratio at $5.3M and you can swing from your ass and I couldn’t care less.