Cleat Geeks

White Sox Swept in Oakland; Left On A High Note.

After a snowy road trip in Minnesota, the Chicago White Sox traveled to the west coast to play a 3-game series vs. the Oakland Athletics

Although the White Sox ended the Oakland series being swept, there were many positives outcomes to look at from the series. Alongside with the positives, there were negative outcomes as well that we should address

Here’s what went down in the White Sox-Athletics series

Monday: White Sox 1 – A’s 8

Tuesday: White Sox 2 – A’s 10

Wednesday: White Sox 11 – A’s 12

Image result for nicky delmonico white sox

Photo by; Chicago Sun Times

The positives: After the White Sox’s offense have been inconsistent for weeks, the offense finally exploded on Wednesday as the White Sox were able to score 11 runs on 17 hits. Jose Abreu and Nicky Delmonico led the way with 3 hits apiece. The Sox were able to perform better with RISP as the Sox went 8-20 during Wednesday slugfest. The Sox also continued to improve in the run game as well. Yoan Moncada stole 3 bases in total throughout the series alongside with Leury Garcia, who stole 2 bases during Wednesday’s game, and Nicky Delmonico, who stole his first base of the season on Wednesday. Tim Anderson also notched himself another 2 stolen bases, giving him a total of 8 stolen bases for the year. ( Tied for 1st in MLB)

Yoan Moncada had himself a great series as he went 5-14 with two home runs (including a grand slam), 3 stolen bases and two walks. Moncada was able to bring his batting average up from a .184 to .222. Moncada was also able to bring up his OPS from .604 to .758. It’s nice to see the Cuban star begin to heat up after a slow start to the season. Fans are hoping that this is the beginning of Moncada’s expected performance

Jose Abreu, also, had a great series. Abreu hit a solo home run on Monday and then went 3-6 on Wednesday during the 14- inning marathon. Abreu ended the series, 5-14 which helped him raise his batting average from .250 to .274.

Reynaldo Lopez had a great start on Monday. Lopez went six innings and gave up 2 earned runs on 4 hits, earning him a quality start. Sadly, the White Sox offense struggled to score and couldn’t give Lopez run support which resulted in Lopez earning another loss. It’s still nice to see how Lopez continues to dominate on the mound in each of his starts, despite the lack of run support.Image result for bruce rondon white sox

Speaking of dominating on the mound, Bruce Rondon continues his great start as a member of the White Sox. After a rough outing on Tuesday in which he gave up 2 earned runs in one inning, Bruce bounced back with a great 3 inning outing allowing no runs and one hit.

The negatives: Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer struggled in their starts again Oakland. Gonzalez gave up 8 earned runs on 8 hits. Gonzalez was only able to get through 3 innings before being pulled. Gonzalez’s ERA went from 8.68 to a 12.41 ERA. Carson Fulmer’s start wasn’t any better as he was pulled in the 2nd inning as he gave up 4 runs on 5 hits. Fulmer’s ERA went up from 4.6 to 7.59 ERA.

Staying on the topic of the pitching staff, the bullpen continued to struggle throughout the series. Taking away the runs that the starters gave up throughout the series (Fulmer, Gonzalez, and Lopez gave up 14 runs combined), the bullpen gave up a whopping 16 runs combined! Yes, the starters weren’t at their best, however, it would’ve been nice to see the bullpen pick up the starters and keep the team in the game as much as possible. It didn’t help that the bullpen was used so much throughout the series that James Shields had to come in on Wednesday for a relief appearance. (His second relief appearance in his 12-year career) Shields was scheduled to pitch on Friday but we might see his start be pushed back after his relief effort.

Lastly, the offense. Before Wednesday, the White Sox were 5-62 with RISP in the last 8 games. (Only scoring 15 runs). Aside from Abreu’s home run on Monday and Moncada’s two-run home run, the Sox weren’t able to produce as much as they would want to despite a quality start from Lopez on Monday. Rick Renteria addressed this issue by having a change in the lineup on Wednesday. Avisail Garcia was benched for Leury Garcia and we saw Yolmer Sanchez bat 2nd in the lineup. Nicky Delmonico batted 4th while Matt Davidson batted 5th. (The previous lineup had Avisail Garcia bat 2nd, Matt Davidson bat 4th and Nicky bat 5th.)

Avisail Garcia struggled in the series, only 1-8 in the first two games of the series. This resulted in Garcia being benched on Wednesday. The White Sox are hoping that giving him an extra day off will benefit Garcia’s performance in the long run.

Although the Sox were swept out of Oakland, they left on a high note. The Sox are hoping to bring that momentum with them back to Chicago for a 6-game homestand as they are set to face off against the, defending World Series champions, Houston Astros, and the Seattle Mariners.

 

 

Dear White Sox Fans….Relax

Dear White Sox fans, relax. This is only the beginning:

With the White Sox’s 2nd consecutive postponed game in Minnesota, it’s time for White Sox fans to relax about the team’s recent struggles.

After three weeks into the season, the Chicago White Sox are sitting in 3rd place of the AL Central at 4-8. The Sox started the season 3-2 after their 6-game road trip against the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays before falling to 4-7 after their 6- game home stand against the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Rays. On Thursday, the Sox started their 7-game road trip in Minnesota and lost 4-0 before their Friday’s and Saturday’s game being postponed due to weather.

Many White Sox fans are becoming frustrated with the Sox’s overall performance from the offensive perspective to the pitching perspective.

Image result for yoan moncada white sox

Photo by; Baseball Prospectus

But it is time for the fans to relax and here is why:

First off, let’s relax about Yoan Moncada. Moncada is now batting .184 AVG with a .298 OBP and has struck out 24 times in 57 AB. Many fans are beginning to question the Cuban star if he’s going to be the superstar that he’s supposed to become. Let’s remember a couple of things.
He is 22 years old
He is playing in his first full season of MLB games.
He has played little to no games in the cold weather.
It’s understandable why Sox fans are concerned about Yoan Moncada but they need to slow down and take a deep breath. Many all-stars such as Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jose Altuve and Francisco Lindor struggled when they first came up to the “Big Leagues.” Tim Anderson also struggled when he first came up to the MLB in 2016. Jose Abreu has a history of struggling in the early part of the season.

Despite the struggles that Yoan has had, there are some positives in his performance. Yoan is second in the team in walks with 8. (Matt Davidson leads the team in walks with 9) Yoan is also tied for the team lead in doubles with Avisail Garcia and leads the team with the number of pitches he has seen in at-bats with 229. Yoan has become more patient with his at-bats but the problem that Yoan has been having is being able to commit to his swings. Throughout the season, he will be able to learn to become more committed to his swings and become a better hitter throughout the season. (Just like in the 2017 season)

Image result for tim anderson white sox

Photo by; Chat Sports

Second, the offense in general. The White Sox started the season with an exploding offense as they scored 14 runs against the Royals in the season opener. In the second game of the season, the Sox were able to pull a comeback against the Royals as they scored 3 runs in the 8th to come back from a 3-1 deficit and defeat the Royals. After their series in Kansas City, fans have seen a trend with our beloved Sox: Inconsistency.
After the first game in the series vs Detroit, the Sox only scored 1 run in the next 2 games vs the Tigers. (Losing 6-1 on Saturday and 1-0 on Sunday). The team has also been inconsistent with bringing in runs with runners in scoring position.

As a team, the Sox are batting .234 AVG (8th in the AL) with a .324 OBP (7th in the AL) but have left many opportunities to score when they have runners in scoring position. Although the Sox may seem to be struggling with the offense, there are many positives that are going on with the team. The Sox are in the top five in HRs and have 94 hits despite the fact that they’ve only played 12 games. (To compare, the Cleveland Indians have 92 hits while playing 14 games).

There are also many players who are playing great with the bat such as Matt Davidson (Tied for 1st in the AL in Home Runs and leads the Sox in RBIs with 10) and Yolmer Sanchez (batting .289 with 2 Triples and is 2nd in the team RBIs with 9). Tim Anderson has also been a great surprise as he leads the team in stolen bases with 6 and has a batting average of .267 with an OBP of .327.

Image result for reynaldo lopez white sox

Photo by; Last Word On Baseball

Lastly, pitching struggles. The team’s pitching has raised eyebrows as the team is last in the AL with a 4.92 team ERA, 3rd in the AL with walks,12th in opponent’s batting average with .252 and 3rd in blown saves with 3.
Although the pitching hasn’t been performing to its standards, there are some positives to it. First off, Reynaldo Lopez has pitched great. In 2 starts, Lopez has only given up 1 earned run while allowing only 4 hits. Despite the 0-1 record, Reynaldo leads the team in ERA with a 0.67 (3rd best in the AL) and in strikeouts with 11. Bruce Rondon was called up to the Sox on April 8 and has looked impressive. In his first performance, Rondon only faced 4 Detroit batters and struck them all out. Since then, Bruce has not looked back and has yet to have given up a hit, run or walk this season. Giolito’s stats may not the best on the team but don’t let those numbers fool you. Yes, Giolito has an ERA of 5.50 and leads the team in walks but here’s something to think about. This is Lucas’s first full season! Lucas has also little to none experience with pitching in the cold which has affected his control. Giolito is 23 years old and he is in his first full season, why should we put so much pressure on the kid? We should consider this season as a learning season for Lucas and rest of the young pitching staff. The pitching will come soon, just a matter of playing the waiting game.

The season hasn’t been pleasant for White Sox fans with the team struggles but they need to relax. It’s only April and this team is in a rebuilding phase. There will be moments where you’ll want to rip your hair out and scream from the top of your lungs with the team’s performance but that’s part of a rebuild. There will be ups and downs in this roller coaster of a season but we must learn how to enjoy the ride. It may not seem like it now but this is only the beginning of something special. R-E-L-A-X.

OTOGH: Lucroy Out, Darvish In

It is being reported by several sources that the Rangers are accepting offers to trade catcher Jonathan Lucroy. His current stats at the plate are .263/.310/.373. He is one of the best catchers in Major League Baseball, and yet the Rangers have played him as the DH a lot more this season. I reported a few weeks ago that Lucroy was going up on the trading block. One of the reasons he did not wanted to be traded last year from the Milwaukee Brewers to the Cleveland Indians was they were going to put him in a DH-first base role, and he felt like this was the wrong role for him. He is a catcher. The Rangers have been placing him in more DH roles and less catching, especially with Yu Darvish. In Darvish’s previous seven starts, Lucroy has only caught Darvish twice, and only the last two starts, perhaps to show off his catching abilities.

This is a mistake. Lucroy is going to command a lot of money, and the Rangers are not going to have the money to make an offer and they will lose Darvish. Lucroy is one of the best catchers and really a missing piece in the Rangers arsenal. The main focus should be bullpen help. I think no matter what happens, you will see the Rangers going after bullpen help. They have already picked up former Blue Jay Jason Grilli.

The other glaring mistake is that while Robinson Chirinos has a great bat right now and is a good catcher, he is also extremely injury prone, and he spent a good chunk of last year on the DL. And while many of his injuries were unfortunate and part of the game, the Rangers do not have a capable backup, and if Lucroy leaves, they are in an extremely worse position. Being a catcher is the hardest position in baseball. The Texas heat tires guys out. With Chirinos going from part time to full time, we will see the batting average drop.

The last road trip was a test to see whether the Rangers were going to be buyers or sellers during the trade season. During the Yankee series, we saw some very good baseball. Even in a loss, Darvish pitched one of his best games, with Lucroy behind the plate. During the Indians series, we saw the bullpen struggle, and while starting pitching was a problem with Cole Hamels and Andrew Cashner, I think it is unfair to evaluate a pitcher coming off the DL. While we are running out of time before serious decisions should be made, I think it is unwise to use the Cleveland series to judge a pitcher’s performance coming off the DL. The White Sox series proved that the real problem is the bullpen. And in an interview with Jeff Bannister after the game, the phrase “we’ve got to find a way to close out baseball games” was repeated numerous times. The Rangers brought in Jose Leclerc, who has done a wonderful job in the shaky bullpen, but he got his first blown save during the White Sox series.

Recently, Michael Young was asked about the team, and he said, “This is a playoff team.” Why would this be a significant opinion? Michael Young is a player adviser to General Manager Jon Daniels. I think the Rangers are not just going to sell Lucroy to get rid of him. I see them using him to get more bullpen help, possibly a closer. The Rangers are all in, and I think they have what it takes to make it to the playoffs.

They do have some of the pieces to make it to the playoffs, but they have them in the wrong order, and they are keeping things they need to get rid of.

Keep

 

Jonathan Lucroy: Great bat and great glove. Extremely knowledgeable about the competition.

Carlos Gomez: Owns center field and has a great bat. Great person to have in the dugout and tons of heart.

Andrew Cashner: Has been a good fit and once healthy will only add to the rotation.

Robinson Chirinos: Put him in the DH role, keeping his bat but not wearing out his body behind the plate full time.

Joey Gallo: Move him to first base and accept that he is going to strike out a lot. But the long balls he will hit will be beautiful.

Toss

Mike Napoli: .193 is his current batting average.

Tony Barnette: Lights out last year, but this year he is one of the most unreliable in the bullpen.

 

Yu Darvish: The amount of money is too high to keep him, and if the Rangers pay it, they run a huge risk of not being able to afford anymore help, i.e. a closer or other bullpen help.

 

 

Feelgood Friday; What is Tim Anderson Going To Buy His Mom?

The White Sox are in a re-build. I would not call it a full re-build because they do still Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera and others. But, they have done a very smart thing and signed a young cornerstone shortstop in Tim Anderson. He was signed this week to a contract for 6 years $25 million that covers the 2017-22 seasons. Team options for the 2023 and 24 seasons with a $1 million buyout if either option is declined.

The contract is the most lucrative deal ever signed for a player with less than one full year of service time. In 2016 he played in only 99 games with a .283 batting average, 9 home runs, 10 stolen bases and a .738 OPS. Anderson finished seventh in the American League Rookie of the Year voting his six triples were tied for fifth in the AL, and his 33 multihit games tied Jose Abreu (2014) for the seventh-highest total by a Sox player over his first 99 career games. Anderson ranked among the AL rookie leaders last season in triples (T1st), runs scored (2nd), doubles (T2nd), stolen bases (T2nd), hits (3rd), total bases (3rd, 177) and extra-base hits (T3rd, 37).

The actual terms of the contract are as follows; the 23-year-old Anderson will receive $850,000 in 2017, $1 million in 2018, $1.4 million in 2019, $4 million in 2020, $7.25 million in 2021 and $9.5 million in 2022. The White Sox hold club options for 2023 at $12.5 million and 2024 at $14 million. If either option is declined, Anderson will receive a $1 million buyout.

Now with all his new found money he was asked what he was going to buy for his mother. He then explained that he and his mother have a running joke that all she wants from her son is a drink. Anderson said he was going to honor his joke between he and his mother and buy her that drink. Except, the fact that it will be in the cup holder of a new car.

Saber-Metrics Sunday: How Good is Jose Quintana?

Underrated….a word used so often in sports about various athletes and/or teams. In baseball, there are a number of players who put up good numbers that deserve more recognition than they get. Reasons for them being underrated vary; they can be very good players on bad teams that don’t get a lot of attention or have really good advanced stats but not the flashy traditional stats. Both these things perfectly describe White Sox pitcher, Jose Quintana.

josequintanaoldsoxuni

Quintana (27) has pitched for the White Sox since 2012 and has always put up decent to really good numbers. However, he is known to many as the “Hard-Luck Pitcher,” meaning he pitches really well but does not get a win because the team around him has not been good and gives him no run support or the bullpen blows it for him. In fact since 2013, Quintana has 49 no decisions with three of the last four seasons having double-digit no decisions.

Of course, we know that W-L record is pretty irrelevant when it comes to evaluating a pitcher’s ability, but for Quintana it doesn’t make it less frustrating. When one looks at his actual stats it is pretty clear he is a very good pitcher with a lot of value. The White Sox rebuild plan talks about potentially making another blockbuster deal involving him since his value is so high and they want to get as many top-prospects as possible.

How much value does he have….let’s find out!


2016

3.56 FIP (7th best in AL) /  21.6% K / 6.0% BB / 0.95 HR-9 (8th best in AL) / 1.16 WHIP (8th best in AL) / 3.62 K-BB (11th best in AL) / 2.16 BB-9 (9th best in AL) / 4.8 WAR (5th best in AL)  in 208.0 IP 


Career Totals

3.47 FIP / 6.2 BB% / 19.9% K / 0.80 HR-9 / 1.24 WHIP / 3.20 K-BB / 2.31 BB-9 / 19.7 WAR in 951.0 IP 


Career Averages

190.1 IP / 3.52 FIP / 6.3% BB / 20% K / 0.81 HR-9 / 1.25 WHIP / 3.18 K-BB / 2.34 BB-9 / 4.0 WAR


 

josequintana2Looking at all three lines of statistics, it is easy to conclude he has had a very consistent over his five-year career in the major leagues. His career FIP, 2016 FIP and average FIP are all close together, as is his K%, BB% WHIP and HR-9. So those numbers can for the most part be clumped together in analysis because of his consistency.

His FIP, BB%, WHIP are all considered above average based on Fangraphs advanced metrics ratings. His stats tell us he does an above average job at preventing runs and not allowing walks while having the stamina to go 200 innings every year as a full-time starter. His K% rate is pretty much average, but again…strikeouts can be overrated when compared to ability to prevent runs.

If you put together Quintana’s 2016 numbers and look at the rankings, it concludes he is a top-10 pitcher in the AL. Considering the AL is more offensively based than the NL (considering the DH rule mainly), being a top-10 pitcher in the AL is a pretty impressive feat. He had a career best WHIP while pitching a career high in innings (only two more than the year before, but still). He FINALLY got the recognition he deserves as an AL all star after being snubbed many other years because he didn’t have the fancy W-L and K stats so many people look for. But who needs pitcher wins when he averages a 4.0 season WAR? And mind you he really doesn’t add offensive factors because he is an AL pitcher, its all with the arm. If you think about it, his 4.8 2016 WAR pretty much said he was 5th most valuable pitcher in the AL out of 75 plus starting pitcher in the league.

Will the Sox deal him? Pirates, Astros and Yankees have all expressed interest in him…plus they have farms to make a trade. The Sox could get another flock of youngsters if they deal the underrated/very valuable Jose Quintana.

Recap of the Winter Meetings; Biggest Winners & Losers

The MLB Winter Meetings this year was one of the most active and action packed in recent memory. Big names were part of trades and/or signings every day. As the Winter Meetings come to an end yet again, it is time to overreact and award the biggest winners and losers just hours after it has officially concluded.

One team that immediately leaps out as the huge winner is the other team in Chicago. You know, the one that nobody wants to talk about after the Cubs finally won their World Series. Just kidding. Well, sort of. The White Sox have been disappointing the past few years and finished more than 16 games behind the division winner every year since 2013.  That coupled with a farm system that ranked in the bottom third of the league going into the Winter Meetings, there was serious cause for concern for their fans. However, all of that changed with just two trades. Chris Sale was the centerpiece of the first trade. He was sent to the Red Sox in exchange for top prospects Yoan MoncadaMichael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe, and Victor Diaz. Moncada is the #1 overall prospect going into 2017 and Kopech is a starter that throws over 100 MPH consistently.

That trade alone would be enough to make most White Sox fans happy, but White Sox GM Rick Hahn decided to take the rebuild one step farther the following day. He traded away outfielder Adam Eaton for a trio of potential aces, robbing his counterpart in the process. The most notable prospect in the deal is Lucas Giolito, a former prep-star turned first round pick despite Tommy John surgery his senior year of high school. Giolito has been a top prospect for a couple of years and finished 2016 as the top pitching prospect in all of MLB. The other two are Reynaldo Lopez, who finished 2016 on the big league roster, and Dane Dunning, Nationals 2016 first round pick. Times are looking bright in the future for the White Sox fan, since Hahn still has guys like Jose Abreu (1B), Jose Quintana (LH starter), Todd Frazier (3B), and David Robertson (RH closer) available to trade away.

The other winners, albeit none even close to the White Sox, were the Red Sox, Yankees, Astros, Cubs, and Brewers. The Red Sox are on here ironically mostly because of the trade for Chris Sale I wrote about it at lengths above so I’ll be brief about that deal here. Chris Sale is easily one of the top 5-10 starters in all of MLB. He has a team friendly contract, and he’s only 27 years old. There is one thing to watch out for, Sale has a reputation of being a bit of a head case, as seen last year when he cut up all of the teams alternate jerseys the day they were scheduled to wear them.

Chris Sale

Chris Sale LHP career 3.00 ERA 1.06 WHIP

The Red Sox and Brewers also completed a trade that helped both teams out. Tyler Thornburg was sent to Boston in exchange for PTBNL, Josh Pennington (RHP), Mauricio Dubon (SS), and Travis Shaw (3B). This is a deal that works for both sides, since the Brewers have no need for the very talented Thornburg in their effort to rebuild. In return, the Sox received one of the best RH relievers in the game. Thornburg has a 2.87 career ERA and even has some experience closing games with 13 saves. Finally, the Sox took a flyer on first baseman Mitch Moreland by signing him to a one year deal worth $5.5M.

The Yankees decided to spend big on the top reliever on the market, Aroldis Chapman. Chapman agreed to a five year contract worth $86M, instantly shattering the record set a few days earlier by Melancon (discussed below). Chapman is a true relief ace and has posted the highest strike out rate (15.2/9 innings) of any pitcher in MLB history with a minimum of 300 innings.

Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman LHP 182 career SV 2.08 ERA

The Yankees also found their new DH by giving Matt Holliday a one year deal for $13M. As a lifelong Cardinals fan, I have seen Holliday decline over the years, but this deal is low risk and high reward. Holliday has potential to mash in that ballpark. Similar to the Yankees, the Astros brought in an aging vet on a one year deal. Carlos Beltran returns to Houston for $16M. See comments for Holliday, as they all apply to Beltran as well. Beltran also brings the veteran presence to a very young roster, so watch for the Astros to rise back to the playoffs in 2017. Finally, the Cubs traded Jorge Soler (OF) to the Royals for Wade Davis (RH closer). Wade Davis was one of the best, if not the best, pitcher in all of baseball in 2015. In 2016 Davis dealt with some injuries, but still pitched very well in limited action. After declining to offer a contract to now ex-Cub Aroldis Chapman, this deal looks great for the 2017 season ( NOTE: Cubs also signed Jon Jay to a one year $8M contract. I think that is a bad deal, but overall the team did well.)

Obviously when there are winners, there are inevitably losers.  Headlining that list this winter meeting is the Washington Nationals. I wrote at lengths about the trade for Adam Eaton above, but I have to ask myself, “Why do the Nats make THAT trade?” I still cannot wrap my brain around it. Eaton is an above average player by most metrics, but the prospects given up all look like front of the rotation talents.

adam-eaton

Adam Eaton career .284 Avg .357 OBP

It reminds me of the horrible trade last year when the Braves sent Shelby Miller to the DBacks for Dansby Swanson, Aaron Blair and Ender Inciarte. I view the Nationals trade as the obvious, major mistake of the winter meetings so it sends them to the top of my loser list. The Dodgers are another team on my loser list, because they signed Rich Hill. I want to be clear. I really, really like Rich Hill’s stuff. He is an amazing pitcher the past couple of years when he’s on the mound. That is the problem. It feels like he is always on the disabled list, and they gave him three years and $48M. At age 37 by the start of 2017 season, this contract seems highly likely to be a bad one. The San Francisco Giants desperately needed a closer all of 2016. When they signed Mark Melancon, it appeared to be a good deal at first, but Melancon received the largest contract for a reliever in MLB history, when he inked his four year $60M deal. Melancon has also been oft injured in the past, and will be 35 when this contract expires. That makes it too risky for me, even in a market of rising contracts. Rockies signed Ian Desmond to a five year $70M contract. This deal might be the worst signing of the winter meetings. Desmond is a short stop converted to outfield in 2016 after struggling with his defense for years. He was a great player for a 4 year stretch from 2012-15, but since then he has been terribly inconsistent offensively. The other problem with the Rockies signing Desmond is they signed him to play first base. Or so they claim. I have a theory they will trade Charlie Blackmon (OF) and then allow Desmond to go back to the outfield once again in 2017, but only time will tell. If they do trade Blackmon (or Carlos Gonzalez), then the deal makes much more sense.

There were some moves that did little to move the needle in any direction, but happened nonetheless. The honorable mention awards go to Blue Jays for signing Steve Pearce (UTL), Phillies for signing Joaquin Beniot (RH reliever) who could be a nice trade piece later in the year, and DBacks for signing Jeff Mathis (C).

Red Sox Pick Up Sale, Thornburg in Blockbuster Tuesday Deals

The Red Sox made a flurry of trades on Tuesday including the acquisition of starting pitcher Chris Sale. Prospects Michael Kopech, Yoan Moncada, Luis Basabe, and Victor Diaz will go to the Chicago White Sox.  Sale will be under Red Sox team control for 3 seasons. He will earn $12 million in 2017, $12.5 in 2018, and $13.5 in 2019.

chrissalecenter

In 2016, Sale earned a 3.34 ERA over 226.2 innings pitched. He came in fifth place in Cy Young award voting this year and has been considered for the prestigious award for the last five seasons. By the numbers, Sale appears to be a very consistent top performer despite having a rocky second half of the 2016 season. The acquisition of Sale puts the Red Sox starting rotation in place to be one of the stronger ones in the American League East. Manager John Farrell would be smart to place him at the top of the order, followed by David Price, Rick Porcello, and Clay Buchholz.

To round out the Dombrowski’s big moves at the Winter Meetings, the Red Sox acquired reliever Tyler Thornburg of the Milwaukee Brewers. Prospects Mauricio Dubon, ranked by soxprospects.com as the 9th most valuable asset in Boston’s farm systen, and Josh Pennington, who occupied the 27th place in the rankings. Third baseman, Travis Shaw, will also go to Milwaukee, leaving the door open for Pablo Sandoval to reclaim his place on the field and in the lineup in 2017.  

Free agent, Mitch Moreland, a 31 year old first baseman and right fielder signed with Boston on Tuesday as well. He could potentially add some depth to the defense off the bench. Offensively, he slashed a modest .233/.298/.422 with the Texas Rangers. I don’t know how much he will add to the roster, but it is always good to have a major league veteran on the field and in the clubhouse.

Players were just as excited about the acquisitions as the fans. Recently retired, David Ortiz teased the media about a possible return. With Sale on board, Papi’s competitive itch rose to the surface once again knowing that the 2017 season could be another World Series caliber team.

Saber-Metrics Sunday: Chris for Sale

With the hoopla and craziness in Chicago over the World Champion Cubs happening, the Windy City’s south side have their own points of interest this off-season. The Chicago White Sox are exploring trade partners to sell off team ace Chris Sale in attempts to gain prospects and young talent to rebuild their team.

The Sox have struggled the past few years; no winning seasons since 2012 and have not played in October since 2008. They have attempted to retool and upgrade via trades and free agency to create a contending team and it just has not worked. Much criticism has gone in the direction of Sox VP Kenny Williams and owner Jerry Reinsdorf for their continuous strategy, particularly, their trades and signings that include bringing in once big-name players who are 35 or older and past their prime. It is time for a new approach, and Sox General Manager Rick Hahn appears to know this strategy clearly has not worked and is willing to change it.

This is where Chris Sale comes in. Sale (27) is by far the best player on the White Sox and honestly has been their best player since he became a starter in 2013. Sale is arguably the best left-handed pitcher in baseball behind Clayton Kershaw and one of the best pitchers overall in the MLB.chrissaleright

To look at some of his numbers:

2016:

226.2 IP

3.46 FIP — 1.04 WHIP — 9.25 K/9 — 25.7%K — 5.0% BB — 1.07 HR/9

5.2 WAR

Career: 

1110.0 IP

3.06 FIP — 1.06 WHIP — 10.09 K/9 — 27.9%K — 5.8% BB — 0.92 HR/9

27.9 WAR

 

Pretty good numbers. This year his FIP was a little higher than his career numbers but still overall very effective. Still strikes out guys without a lot of walks and has the ability to mow down and dominate lineups. He received Cy Young votes the past few years and has been an All Star the last five years.

What makes him even more valuable? He has an incredibly friendly contract. He signed a five-year, $32.5 million deal in 2013 with team options in 2018 and 2019 (both 18 and 19 have a one million dollar buyout). So for being one of the best pitchers in baseball he made $9.2 million in 2016, and will make $12 million in 2017. That is a fantastic contract for a team to take on if they trade for him.

So…who wants in?

A number of teams who both have prospects and project themselves as contenders in 2017 wouldn’t mind making a sale (pun intended). Most talked about teams expressing interest or have expressed interest include:

Red Sox, Dodgers, Astros, Nationals and Braves.

All these teams have young prospect/MLB ready talent that could possibly be given up to the White Sox for Sale. The Red Sox and Astros already have great lineups, but can use another great arm to solidify a rotation. The Nationals and Dodgers have seen injuries plague their rotation in years past. (Just imagine a Kershaw/Sale or healthy Strausburg/Sale 1-2 punch). Braves seem to be trying the sign and trade rebuild approach to debut their new stadium in 2017 and say they are still interested in Sale as of right now.

These teams have to pony up the young talent though. The Sox seem to fear (understandably so) that they risk selling their best player and not getting full value in return. They are going to want a a top prospect and some young major-league ready talent and probably another prospect sprinkled in. It will be tough for them to part ways with a dominant arm, but in the end it’s best to think about contending in the future than continuing to be mediocre now.

 

South Side Salutations; The Sox Downward Spiral Continues

As of Sat June 18th the White Sox are 35-33 even worse, they are 10-25 in the last 35 games. This has been the worst stretch they have had since 2013 where they lost 99 games.  This has gone from a really good team to a terrible no heart playing team. We see some signs like when they came back from 7-0 down against the tigers to beat them 10-9 that this team may come out of it. Then we Go to Cleveland and for the last two games have just plain sucked.  Last night Quintana only giving up two runs but didn’t get a decision because the Sox tied it up in the top of the 9th only to lose the game in the bottom of the 9th 3-2.JoseQuintanaCenter

Today James Shields went 1.2 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR  after allowing 14 runs in 7 innings he now has a ballooning 21.00 ERA. So why did we even bother trading for this guy?  We had Latos and Danks doing this bad and now we are stuck with this person for 2 years unless we do something quick. The two former pitchers mentioned have been released with the White Sox stuck paying their salaries as they watch this team fall further and further out of contention from the comfort of their couches in their lush homes.

Photo by: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Photo by: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Lately, I have gotten the feeling that maybe Jerry should wake up and fire everybody Hahn, Kenny, and Robin. The Padres obviously got one over on us by trading Shields away and now we are stuck with him.  In April we were in 1st place by 3 games now we are 4.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians and only a few games separate us from the Royals and Tigers.  Thank God for the abysmal Twins or we would probably be in last place right now.

Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

If we get swept tomorrow and lose to Boston this week Robin needs to go this can’t keep up, we have been in this downward spiral since May, how can you keep a manager who has had 3 losing seasons in a row and now we have a major collapse and he doesn’t seem to understand what he is doing? Robin can’t make out lineups right. But, it seems since he put Tim Anderson, whom they called up last week, and Eaton in the two hole the top of the lineup has gotten better. Yet we still have days where our offense is just not there. We need another left-handed bat in this line-up and the bullpen needs help with all these bad James Shields starts. Hahn needs to wake up and see that it is time for Robin to go we can’t go on like this no more.

In a perfect world Jerry would sell the team fire everybody and maybe do a whole overhaul to make this team better like I hate to say it, the north side did.  As much as I can’t stand the Cubs and nor would I root for them, they have a good team. We need to get back to how it was in 2005 and 2008.  The fans are tired of losing, tired of Robin messing up every game. The Fans are sick and tired of losing we want a winner on the south side, we want to be in the playoffs. So, we once again need to fire Robin to get it started.

South Side Salutations; Whose to Blame for Downward Spiral of the Sox?

HahnONshieldsThe Chicago White Sox have been in a downward spiral for the last month and half.  They where Five games up in the Division, and now they are three games behind the Royals. It seems everything went wrong at once, the offense hasn’t been hitting, the bullpen has blown leads, and not just small leads they blew a 5-2 and a 7-1 leads in Kansas city last weekend.  They just came off a 2-7 road trip where they got swept by 2 divisional opponents in the Tigers and Royals.  In my opinion a change is needed and yes I do believe it is time to fire Robin, and hopefully make a change or two to get a left-handed bat, and some bullpen help.  Hahn made a move over the weekend to get James Shields, where he gave up Erik Johnson and Fernando Tatis JR.  I am hoping this will help out the rotation a bit as we needed another starter or 2 to make it solid.

Photo by: Leon Halip/Getty Images

Photo by: Leon Halip/Getty Images

Robin Ventura has made some really bad moves in the last few weeks, he keeps throwing Rollins out there which isn’t working.  Jerry Sands does not belong on this team but yet he still is on this team, Eaton and Abreu haven’t been producing which is one of the Main reasons why this offense isn’t producing.  Hahn needs to make a move with the manager soon, fans are irate at this team as bad as they have been. Robin has had some bad years, the last 3 years have been mediocre, but why is he still here he just seems lost at times as what to do.  It is time for a change to be made. If they keep losing I really hope they do not wait until the end of the season when his contract runs out to fire him, light a fire under this team and fire him now!!! Maybe it is a spark they need to light them up and start winning again.

The offense and pitching hasn’t been doing well as of late, We all know Robin can’t hit or pitch but he makes the moves and nine times out of ten it is the wrong moves. White Sox fans are tired of the mediocre bullcrap they are sending out on the field the last years.  We want a team that will contend, we want a team that played in April like they where going somewhere.  Now it seems they have regressed back to the 2015 season. Fans just want a playoff contender, we haven’t been to the playoffs since 2008 that has been 8 years that is way to long.  If firing Robin will help this team be a contender then I say do it, find a manager who can actually manage this team to wins. At least we know that management cares about the fans and want a winning team.  We are sick and tired of losing, we want to see a world series again in our lifetime, if we can get back to that it would be awesome.  So i Say if you can do it now Fire Robin and get someone who can manage this team to a playoff contender!

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