White Sox news, Minor Leagues updates and more

January 24, 2010

No decision yet on Thome

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 24, 2010 12:24 pm
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Gonzales:

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said Sunday morning that no decision has been made on whether Jim Thome will return.

… Guillen emphasized the Sox’s decision would be made with their brains, rather than their heart. General manager Ken Williams made it clear Saturday that he was leaving it to Guillen to decide whether Thome would be a good fit for the 2010 Sox team.

… Guillen, who has said he wants to decide before he leaves town, added that his flight to Miami was moved from 4 p.m. Sunday to Monday.

however, Ozzie maintains his moronic ‘I don’t want a full-time DH’ attitude:

“Whoever wants to come to the White Sox as long as I’m here is not going to be a full-time DH,” Guillen said after a brisk question-and-answer session with fans. “Nobody. I don’t care who it is.”

and

“Maybe what I have is not convenient for him. But I’m leaving tomorrow. I want to get that out of my mind and go to Venezuela and enjoy my life and not leave you guys hanging here. I don’t want Thome to be waiting for my decision or my phone call.”

… “As long as I’m here, and I don’t care who it is, nobody will be a full-time DH,” Guillen said. “If I want one guy out there, I want [Thome]. I already talked to [GM Kenny Williams] about that.”

… “We’ll talk to Jimmy, and if he says yes, he accepts the role, then we will make our decision,” Guillen said. “I don’t want a DH just to be a DH. I want a guy to help me in different ways, and I want to hear all the opinions to make the right decision.”

January 23, 2010

part-time DH?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 23, 2010 3:07 pm
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Levine:

Before Sunday evening, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen will tell owner Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Kenny Williams if designated hitter Jim Thome fits into their 2010 plans.

Williams and Guillen had a two-hour meeting on the subject on Friday, discussing the pros and cons of bringing back the heavy-hitting but slow footed Thome.

According to sources close to the situation, the only way Guillen will accept Thome’s return is as a part-time solution to the DH. In other words, Guillen would only want to use Thome 2 to 3 times a week, allowing the rest of the games to have a flexible DH for multiple uses. Thome himself will have to decide whether this will be good enough for him.

Kenny:

“I’m resigned to the feeling that Ozzie is sold on wanting to do it this way,” Williams did say Friday night. “Is it a little different for me not to have that left-handed power guy in the middle of the lineup? Yeah.”

Ozzie:

“No, not really,” Guillen said, when asked if the pressure was now on him. “That’s the reason I manage the ballclub. We’ve talked about it, we’re still thinking about it, if Thome is the right fit for the ballclub or what we should do. When it’s time to make this decision … I said a couple days ago, sometimes when you think with your heart you make the wrong decision. In baseball, unfortunately, you have to think with your brains. I have to see what’s best for the ballclub. The next couple of days, I’m going to look around, and if Jim Thome fits in the ballclub then I will make the decision. It’s not any pressure at all. This is my job.”

Ozzie video.

January 22, 2010

Hope is kindled!

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 22, 2010 9:09 pm
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Cowley:

A source close to the Jim Thome camp told the Sun-Times on Friday that the Sox are now rethinking the idea of life without the veteran slugger, despite the wishes of manager Ozzie Guillen to try the designated-hitter by committee.

“It’s 50-50 now, which couldn’t be said [Thursday],” the source said, referring to the chances of Thome re-signing. “Jim is just waiting to hear.” …

Ozzie Guillen video.

UPDATE: Gonzales:

Williams told fans Saturday morning at SoxFest that he’d consider a return by Thome only if manager Ozzie Guillen was comfortable with bringing him back, but warning that Thome would have to be comfortable with a role that could result in less playing time than the full-time designated hitter role he held with the Sox for the past four years.

Gregor:

Out of respect to Jim Thome _ and he certainly deserves it _ manager Ozzie Guillen said he’s considering bringing the 39-year-old designated back for another season at SoxFest Saturday. Guillen heads back home to Miami tomorrow, and he said a decision will be made before he leaves.

Big Jim to East Dakota?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 22, 2010 5:56 pm
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MLBTR:

The Twins have interest in free agent slugger Jim Thome, according to Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune.  Christensen writes that the Twins are bargain hunting and if Thome is willing to come at the right price, there could be a match.  A Twins official confirmed the club’s interest, which was first reported by a Chicago radio station.

Aaron Gleeman’s take.

I told you 2010 will suck. Damn you Kenny?

Big Jim video.

January 21, 2010

That’s the way it’s going to be?

Say it ain’t so Ozzie:

As for Thome, Guillen said there is no bigger fan of the veteran than him, but life in the American League is changing.

“No one except his wife is a bigger fan of Jim Thome than me,” Guillen said. “I will be grateful and pleased one day to say that I had an opportunity to manage this man, but this game is changing a little bit. It’s easy for manager when you don’t have a true DH. I can move things around, give guys more playing time. That’s the way it’s going to be.

“Fans out there will be looking at this team a little different. They might be saying, ‘Hey, we’re missing something.’ I think we’re going in a different direction, but the right direction. Our team is going to create different things. That’s why things will look weird. People shouldn’t be worried about that. Thome to me is one of the best guys ever to wear the uniform, but DH is changing. Few teams will have a legit DH. Those days are going away.”

Easy for manager? No. It’s easy for the other team’s manager. 2010 is gonna suck. Save us Kenny

BTW, Ozzie will be at ‘Chicago Tribune Live‘ today at 5:30 p.m. E-mail him at CTL@comcastsportsnet.com

UPDATE: More sadness/craziness from Ozzie:

” … (Thome’s departure) gives this ballclub an opportunity to give more people more at-bats and to be flexible in different ways.”

… “To me, it’s easier and we get more production with the team we have now that way,” Guillen said.

… ”Fans, they’re not going to be happy about something,” Guillen said. “Or a question mark as to why we don’t have a big left-handed hitter. We did for a couple years. The ballclub we had in the past didn’t create that many runs.

“We’re going to play different. We’re not going to wait for guys who can hit 30 home runs. I hope not. I hope they don’t come to the mentality that we need pop.” …

UPDATE: Merkin:

“But [the DH by committee] gives this ballclub an opportunity to give people more at-bats and to be flexible in different ways.”We are not a home-run team anymore.”

… “We have that big left-handed bat for a couple of years, and I think the ballclub we have in the past is a club that can’t create runs,” Guillen said. “We still have guys who can hit 30 home runs, but I don’t want them to come with the mentality that we need power.

“Sometime we will be down by one run in the ninth inning and wish we had [Frank] Thomas or Thome, but this is a different type of game. We have the ballclub to play baseball, make the catch and make the plays. We change everything around.

“It’s not to say we will win. But we are going in the right direction. I think this team is almost set.”

January 20, 2010

Jim Thome just wants to play baseball

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 20, 2010 8:45 pm
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Merkin:

Thome followed up his expressed desire to suit up for season No. 20 with an equally strong desire to avoid talking about contract particulars.

“I would rather not get into all that stuff,” Thome said. “I just want to play baseball.”

This question deflected by Thome centered on whether years or money would make a difference in his ultimate 2010 destination. But finding the right fit stands as the most important factor for the prolific slugger.

Once again, Thome mentioned how there was talk between his camp and a few teams. As for a return to the White Sox, Thome said with a smile that he hadn’t closed down this option from his side.

“My door is open,” Thome said. “All you have to do is call me.

“From my end, everyone knows I love Chicago. It’s a great city, and the organization has treated me great for the last four years. It has been a pleasure to play here and be part of it for the last four years.

“So, we’ll see what happens,” Thome said. “In baseball, you learn how business moves are made and decisions are made. You respect those decisions and move on.”

What are you waiting for Kenny?

UPDATE: Paulie on the rotating DH:

“I have no idea [how it would work]. I’ve never been on a team that did that,” Konerko said. “Since 2000, every year I’ve been here there has been a full-time DH, give or take a week when someone was hurt or whatever. We’ll see how that plays out. They seem to be confident it’s the right thing to do.”

UPDATE: Big Jim video.

January 18, 2010

January 18 links

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 18, 2010 8:48 pm
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- Happy MLK day. And donate if you can to the Haiti earthquake relief.

- Jim’s ‘White Sox Outsider 2010‘ will be illustrated by Carl Skankberg.

- Scot Gregor looks at the ‘Jim Thome returns’ scenarios.

- John Danks will have the index finger in his left hand examined by Sox doctors Wednesday to see if there are any circulation problems left.

- Jeff Lubbers and Matt Claassen look at Baseball’s Three True Outcome Leaders.

- Decision-making charts.

- Maximum Likelihood Teams of the 2000s.

January 17, 2010

4 teams interested in Jim Thome

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 17, 2010 2:41 pm
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I hope the Sox are one of the teams interested in Big Jim:

Present job opportunities for Thome clearly will be limited to the American League. A handful of teams have contacted Thome’s representative, Pat Rooney from SFX Baseball, and while Thome would not list any of those with interest, MLB.com has learned Tampa Bay stands as one of them.

The Rays would make sense in that Thome could split DH time with Pat Burrell, who previously played with Thome in Philadelphia. Thome’s power stroke would serve as a great benefit for any team with playoff aspirations, such as Tampa Bay.

Paulie wonders what Kenny is waiting for:

“If you are a team that wants to win, it’s hard for me to see, with the way Jim swung the bat last year and the person he is, that somehow, some way he can’t fit on a team in the Major Leagues,” said White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko of his friend and former teammate. “Things are a little different now. Signings happened quickly before, where everything took place before Christmas. Now, it seems like everything is being drawn out more to the start of Spring Training. There are still a lot of good players out there, guys who had very good seasons and haven’t signed yet.”

Get on it Kenny! You aren’t seriously thinking letting Ozzie play Kotsay, Vizquel, and Jones at DH, right?

January 15, 2010

What are the chances Jim Thome comes back to the Sox?

Scott Merkin answers:

There’s some sort of chance, even if it’s small, especially with the strong bond between the prodigious slugger and the White Sox. The South Siders also could benefit from a big left-handed bat in the middle of the order.

As mentioned above, though, Guillen seems set on using the rotating DH for now. And it’s Guillen who runs the team on a day-to-day basis, so there’s no reason to force anyone who isn’t part of his present plan. Thome still has some good years ahead of him, and whatever team eventually adds Thome will get 25-to-30 home run potential, great on-base potential and a tremendous clubhouse presence.

Merkin also predicts the Opening Day lineup and batting order:

Let’s go with the Opening Day lineup since it’s hard to predict who will be around in May with general manager Ken Williams at the helm, let alone at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Cleveland stands as the White Sox opponent, meaning right-handers Jake Westbrook, Fausto Carmona or Justin Masterson will get the start.

So, it would be Juan Pierre in left field, Alex Rios in center field and Quentin in right field. The infield, from third to first, would be Mark Teahen, Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham and Konerko, and I’m guessing the left-handed-hitting Kotsay at DH. Mark Buehrle and A.J. Pierzynski will make up the battery. As for a batting order, let’s try Pierre, Rios, Quentin, Konerko, Teahen, Beckham, Pierzynski, Ramirez and Kotsay. Of course, write that lineup in pencil for now.

BTW, Matt Thornton will be answering next week’s mailbag so submit your questions for next week’s mailbag at the form in the middle of the page.

UPDATE: More Thome from Merkin’s ‘Sox continue support of Thome charity’ article:

A strong possibility presently exists that Jim Thome has taken his last swings as part of the White Sox organization.

That possible departure for the popular and prolific designated hitter doesn’t mean a permanent separation will take place between Thome and the South Side of Chicago. In fact, the White Sox once again will serve as presenting sponsors for Saturday’s Joyce Thome Benefit for Children’s Hospital of Illinois in the Peoria Civic Center Ballroom. …

January 12, 2010

In which Jerry Reinsdorf gives an interview

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 12, 2010 9:09 pm
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Reinsdorf on Jim Thome:

“I would love to have Jim Thome back on this club, but I don’t make the roster. Kenny and Ozzie do.  Ozzie has made it very clear that he likes the team the way it is. He doesn’t want to have a full-time DH. If you’re going to hold a man accountable for him to do his job, you got to get him the team that he wants.” … “If we have the opportunity to get really better, the money will be there,” Reinsdorf said.  “I wouldn’t hesitate to take the chance if something really good comes along.”

The video of the interview is 6:16.

December 29, 2009

Jim Thome to Detroit?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 29, 2009 6:16 pm
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Craig Calcaterra has a thin rumor:

How thin? I’m going to base it on a single tweet from MSG Network’s Tina Cervasio, who said that she saw Jim Thome in a suburban Detroit hotel a few minutes ago. …

December 28, 2009

Sox looking for a bat

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 28, 2009 5:46 pm
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Levine:

The Sox’s only hole going into 2010 is a right-handed RBI bat. Although sox officials have talked about using DH as a rotation spot for veterans, left-handed RBI men like Aubrey Huff, Hank Blalock, Carlos Delgado and former Sox DH remain on the market.

I assume the former Sox DH is Jim Thome. Speaking of Big Jim.

December 7, 2009

Spring Jim?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 7, 2009 7:45 pm
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Merkin:

“We never go into an offseason with an offseason shopping list because that is ongoing, just as it was in June and July and August,” said Williams, during his media briefing Monday evening. “It’s difficult to place too much importance on one meeting when we are always trying to acquire the best talent with the best fit.

“There’s always one more move to make,” Williams said.

That one move figures to be a left-handed hitter, and it probably will come in the form of an outfielder but also could be a designated-hitter candidate. Manager Ozzie Guillen stressed during his Monday interview session that he wasn’t interested in a player who solely would serve as a DH, seemingly ruling out a return for favorite son Jim Thome.

Nothing seems set in stone, though, with the tender date of Dec. 12 certainly opening up more, somewhat cost-efficient options and not pushing the White Sox to rush to any sort of solution. Pat Rooney, Thome’s longtime representative, planned to meet with the White Sox this week, just to get an overall feel of the team’s thought process, but any return for Thome would come near the end of the offseason.

“At the end of all of this, we’ll sit down and take a look at where we are at, for that given time,” Williams said. “Everyone knows I have the utmost respect for Jim Thome, the man and the player. But he’s got to see what’s available, and we have to see who we are and what type of team we want to field.”

Tyler Flowers the current favorite for the backup catcher position

Gonzales:

Williams said the possibility of rookie Tyler Flowers becoming the primary backup catcher to A.J. Pierzynski becomes a strong consideration each day.

“As we sit right now, he’s probably the leading candidate to be the backup,” Williams said. “… Tyler Flowers is going to hit. And that’s one thing we have to consider.”

Another consideration is that teams are starting to sign catchers, even at eye-opening prices. The New York Mets doubled free agent Henry Blanco’s salary by agreeing to a one-year, $1.5 million contract as a backup catcher.

The Mets have yet to land a starting catcher but are considering free agent Bengie Molina. The Sox had interest in Blanco but could shift their sights on Mike Redmond, a dependable contact hitter who was a member of Florida’s 2003 World Series champion team, in which Guillen served as a coach.

More at the link: Jake Peavy, Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones, Brent Lillibridge, Jayson Nix, Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, Brandon Hynick.

December 1, 2009

December 1 links

Filed under: Chicago White Sox,MiLB — The Wizard @ December 1, 2009 8:53 pm
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– MLBTR’s Arbitration tracker. 23 got arbitration offers.

SoxNet looks at the moves the Sox have already made in the offseason, and tries to project next-year’s roster.

FutureSox looks on the highlights of the Sox minor league system in 2009 (Beckham, Flowers, Hudson). The article was posted on September 30.

– Another old link: BDD at the Mark Teahen to the Sox,  Chris Getz and Josh Fields to Kansas City trade. November 20.

– Scott Podsednik was the 5th best baserunner in baseball in 2009. Jim Thome was the 6th worst.

How much of a pay cut do those in arbitration or under team control make compared to those eligible for free agency? Tango’s take here.

– The Flying Squirrels show off their logo.

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