A week after the Jim Thome drama concluded, the White Sox have decided to table their search for a left-handed-hitting RBI bat until it’s determined if the rotating designated hitter that manager Ozzie Guillen envisions will be a functioning tool for the 2010 season.
The White Sox looked at the viability of former New York Met and Toronto Blue Jay Carlos Delgado, who missed the majority of the 2009 season because of injuries. The White Sox had a scout watch Delgado during his stint playing winter ball in Puerto Rico. The consenus opinion is that Delgado did not have the legs and athleticism to play first base even in a part-time role.
That opinion moved the White Sox away from making a bid. …
January 29, 2010
Projecting Rios could be a case study in the “statistical sample size” vs. “what have you done for me lately” aspects of performance expectations. On the “lately” side, only the last 10 games of 2009 gave any inkling of hope (he hit .333/.400/.556 in 40 PA). But while we know that 10 games is a “throwaway” sample size, could it be that the entire 2009 is also? BABIP is shown to track with career BABIP, and Rios still sports an excellent .323 career BABIP, due to his line-drive hitting ways (before 2009), good speed, and decent power. So, do we assume that his BABIP will rebound to the .320 range? His BB% and ISO were down a little in 2009 (5.8% vs 6.6% career BB% and .148 ISO vs .163 career ISO), but nothing that seems out of place from a random fluctuation. And his contact rate remained virtually unchanged (though he struck out more after coming to Chicago). …
What is the latest on Cuban defector Yuniesky Maya? The last I’d heard about him was around Christmas time, and the White Sox and Mets were said to be the front-runners to land him. After watching a little bit of footage of him pitching, I think he’d be a good fit as a long reliever out of the bullpen.
— Dan, Aurora, Ill.
I was told at SoxFest that the White Sox scouted Maya and watched him throw, but they dropped out of the Maya picture after signing J.J. Putz. The money wanted wasn’t commensurate with where the White Sox thought Maya would be pegged as a fourth- or fifth-starter type.
BTW, here’s my Yuniesky Maya scouting report.
White Sox Top 1o prospects of the decade:
1. Mark Buehrle, lhp
2. Bobby Jenks, rhp
3. Jon Garland, rhp
4. Aaron Rowand, of
5. Joe Crede, 3b
6. Jon Rauch, rhp
7. Gordon Beckham, ss
8. Miguel Olivo, c
9. Kip Wells, rhp
10. Brandon McCarthy, rhp
After futzing around as a starter unsuccessfully in 2008, Santeliz moved back to the bullpen in ’09 and was very impressive at times for Double-A Birmingham. He’s got a terrific fastball at 95-98 MPH, with movement, and he continued to make strides with his slider and splitter, though both pitchers remain erratic. He posted good K/IP and H/IP marks, but his walk rate was still high and that will hurt him at higher levels. There was a lot of good luck involved with the 0.96 ERA: his FIP was 4.00, much better than the 5.98 mark he posted in ’08, but showing that the ERA overstates how much he improved. I remain intrigued with his arm strength, but the control still worries me. Don’t overrate him based on the pretty ERA. Grade C.
They’d like to know when or if Thomas will return to have his day, get his number retired and visit his statue.
And it’s really all up to Thomas now.
“The door is open,” said White Sox GM Ken Williams. “It’s pretty much in his court as far as what he wants to do.”
Despite his conflicts with Thomas in the past, Williams said it’s all forgotten, and he was in favor of Thomas returning last year so that he could retire in a Sox uniform.
“If he felt like the time was right to come back for a day and retire with this uniform, I think everyone here wants that to happen,” Williams said of Thomas, who hasn’t played since August 2008. “I don’t know that we’d want it to be an official appearance, because then you’d have to restart the clock on his Hall of Fame status.” …
January 28, 2010
– PECOTA projects the Sox with a 79-83 record in 2010.
– Jim looks on Ozzie’s and Gardenhire’s approaches on Jim Thome.
– John Sickels reviews his 2005 ‘Top 50 pitching prospects’ list.
– Timo goes west!
But there’s one major misconception among fans frustrated or even angry with Guillen’s decision to bypass Thome or a primary designated hitter, and that misconception would be viewing this move with any sort of finality. If the White Sox, as an organization, believe this DH-by-committee to be a liability, then Williams won’t hesitate to upgrade.
“There might be a time in June or July where we look around and say, ‘We have to address that need,'” said Williams, speaking in generalities about any missing element on the team. “And we’ll go to work.”
When Williams was asked if that search could come as early as May, Williams paused, smiled and added, “Perhaps.”
Ozzie said it can be as soon as March.
January 26, 2010
Charley Walters and Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press are reporting that the Twins and Jim Thome have agreed to a one-year contract. LaVelle Neal of the Star Tribune (via Twitter) says the deal is worth $1.5MM, with an additional $700K available to be earned in incentives. It’s a big step back salary-wise for Thome, who earned $13MM in 2009, but a bigger salary didn’t appear to be available elsewhere. …
Big Jim’s message:
“Throughout my career, I have been blessed to have amazing fans supporting me the whole way. This past week, it’s been no different. Thanks to the people of Chicago for making my playing time here so special.
“And to those who continue to follow my career, … I hope to be able to give you a lot more to cheer about in the future.”
You’re a fuckin’ moron Ozzie …
Grant Desme’s retirement opened up a spot on John Sickels 2010 Top 50 hitters list. Someone had to take his place:
I decided that Flowers is the guy to go with. I love Flowers’ bat, and he’s closer to the majors than the other power guys, and it sounds like he can stay at catcher.
January 25, 2010
3. Win your division
(South Park’s Underpants Gnomes video)
Bullpen coach Juan Nieves says Bobby Jenks can e as good as ever but he has to make some adjustments:
“The league has adjusted to him, so now he has to adjust,” Nieves said. “They’re swinging early in the count on him because they don’t want to get behind.
“He’s gonna have to throw some fastballs up there early, bust guys inside, and use the two-seamer. If he’s going to throw breaking balls early, they’re going to have to be really good breaking balls off the plate or in the dirt.”
While Guillen mentioned Sunday how Thome was the only left-handed hitter he really wanted, he admitted Monday night that this bat in the middle of the order could be explored again in the future. That future date could come as soon as March, if the White Sox realize something is missing during Spring Training.
“It’s weird because for as long as I’ve been here, we always played in the past with the big boys in the middle,” Guillen said. “We changed our philosophy and what we want to do is have more speed and other stuff.
“Maybe it will take us a little while to see what we have, but I’m very optimistic. I’m very excited. I don’t want to say I’ll put my job on the line, but I love what I have. Everything should be set right now, but believe me, I talk to [GM Kenny Williams] every day about the ballclub.”
Although Guillen did say that if Thome were to be out there still come spring training and the current plan of DH-by-committee wasn’t working, well, bringing him back would be revisited.
“We might see in spring training that we’re missing a piece and go get him,” Guillen said. “But hopefully Jim is not waiting that long. Hopefully Jim has found a job.”
Ken Williams, on making another move before spring training: “Unless it translates into a championship, it’s a wasted effort. I’m a bottom-line guy and for me the bottom line is winning championships.”
Ozzie Guillen told reporters tonight that free agent DH Jim Thome would not be returning to the #WhiteSox. The two spoke yesterday.
Oz makes it official – see ya big guy. Thome will not be brought back this year.
… Guillen said the Sox haven’t ruled out bringing back Thome if they have a need for a left-hander power hitter later this season if he’s available.
In a conference call with beat writers Monday night, manager Ozzie Guillen confirmed the decision. He talked to the 39-year-old Thome on Sunday. “I don’t think Jimmy could play once a week, twice a week, and produce,” Ozzie said.
Ozzie is a giant moron.