July 28, 2011
With the Tigers’ loss to the Angels Thursday, the White Sox head into the weekend just three games out of first place in the American League Central.
Could they really trade Carlos Quentin, who is second on the team in both home runs and RBI? Perhaps so, if the return is high enough. And with the Braves and Phillies both seriously interested, according to sources, the return may well be high enough.
The Braves are desperate to add an outfield bat, and the word Thursday was that they were making a big push for Quentin. The Phillies’ wish list, according to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philadelphia, is topped by Hunter Pence, Quentin and Mike Adams. Many people still doubt that Pence will be traded, and people are starting to doubt that the Padres will move Adams, as well. …
As for Quentin, reports on Thursday have the Atlanta Braves seriously interested, with the White Sox having thoroughly scouted the young talent available in return. Dayan Viciedo would be the logical replacement for Quentin, but a sore thumb has kept Viciedo out of action for Triple-A Charlotte since he was pulled in the sixth inning of last Saturday’s game. …
And some Carlos Quentin tweets:
Q: Do most teams have only one bonafide lead-off hitter? Seems like whenever Pierre slumps we have no one else to step in to give him a couple days off.
A: You are correct Chuck. Pierre is the only one. Ozzie said he put together some mock lineups in the event Viciedo came up and on the days Pierre sat, he went with Alexei in the leadoff spot. Not idea but the next best option.
ESPN’s Keith Law seems to have the same viewpoint of Zach Stewart that the White Sox expressed after acquiring him in the Jackson trade. Here’s what he wrote about him after scouting an appearance by Jackson late last season: “Stewart showed four pitches, pitching at 90-96 with sink and some tail with a tight, out-pitch slider at 83-87 that he threw for strikes, even back-dooring it to left-handed hitters for called strikes. His changeup was the biggest surprise, as another scout at the game told me he hadn’t seen it this good before; it’s mostly straight but has good separation from the fastball at 81-85 and his arm speed is excellent. He also used a fringy curveball with good depth but he didn’t command the pitch as well as he did the slider. Stewart worked aggressively with everything and had good tempo. He stays over the rubber before driving forward with a long stride, although his arm action is a little long in the back and he pronates relatively late in the delivery. I know several scouts see Stewart as a sinker/slider pen guy, but I see four pitches, a good frame, and a pitcher who likes to attack hitters. I see a potential No. 2 starter, maybe a No. 3 if the changeup isn’t always where it was tonight.”
Stewart has failed to take another step forward in 2011 but Law still believes they got a guy who Don Cooper could help turn into a solid big-league starter. Here’s what he wrote on Wednesday after the Jackson trade: “Stewart is a classic sinker-slider starter with great movement on a low-90s sinker that will touch the mid-90s; his control took a step forward this year but he wasn’t getting as many ground balls, which is more a question of his pitching plan than a lack of life on the fastball. His slider is his best offspeed pitch, tight at 83-87 with good tilt, and he commands the pitch well, throwing it to both sides of the plate. He’s got a solid, average-or-better changeup and showed no platoon split this year. With a show-me curveball and good control, he should be given every opportunity to start for Chicago, and I like pitching coach Don Cooper’s chances to turn Stewart into at least a mid-rotation starter if not more.”
Kevin Goldstein won’t agree with Mr. Law:
Despite reports Wednesday that the Phillies are turning their attention to Carlos Quentin in the wake of their lack of progress on the Hunter Pence front, an NL executive who had spoken with both teams said: “I can’t see that working.” Nevertheless, there has been increasing evidence the White Sox are talking to several teams about Quentin, one of which is believed to be Atlanta. “They would move him,” said an executive of one team that has been in touch with the White Sox. “I wouldn’t say they’re bound and determined to move him. But would they? Absolutely.” Another name we were told the White Sox have dangled, just to see what happened: Adam Dunn.
On more trade opportunities:
… The other part of doing what we ended up doing today allowed us to get (Alejandro) De Aza in the lineup and in centerfield to afford Ozzie more than Rios has been giving us. Rios is going to have to take a backseat now and we’re going to see if De Aza can give us a little bit of a spark and provide us with a way to manufacture some runs.”
On who to play, who to sit:
“Here’s what I told Ozzie: don’t worry about the size of the contracts, just worry about putting the players out there on a given day that can help you win. The size of the contracts is not Ozzie’s problem, it’s not Jerry’s problem, it’s not the coaches’ problem, it’s my problem. So, put the players on the field that can win and I don’t give a darn if one guy is making $400,000 and the other guy is making $12 million. I’m sending a message to everyone.”
“Throw the contracts and salaries aside. If we’ve got $20 [million] or $30 million sitting on the bench, then that’s a Kenny Williams problem. That’s not Ozzie’s problem. We’ll have pretty good pinch-hitters.”
Video of Kenny (2:16).
“We’ve talked about it maybe three times about how we feel about [Rios]. I don’t think you bring people [up] to push people to get better,” Guillen said. “I think you bring people [up] to make the ballclub better, and hopefully that move does that.”
The Rangers, who are looking for relief help and could settle for a left-hander such as Matt Thornton, had a scout follow the Sox in Detroit and Kansas City recently. One of the Sox’s top scouts was watching the Rangers on Tuesday.
Manager Ozzie Guillen doesn’t believe the Sox would add to their payroll.
“I think (Chairman) Jerry Reinsdorf’s broke now,” Guillen said.
UPDATE: Stark @ ESPN:
An executive of one club predicted Tuesday that the Braves would wind up dealing for Josh Willingham. But for what it’s worth, the White Sox continue to scout Atlanta’s system, in case they decide to move Carlos Quentin.