Next up in the Needs and Luxuries series, the White Sox.
C – A.J. Pierzynski
1B – Paul Konerko
2B – Danny Richar/Juan Uribe
SS – Orlando Cabrera
3B – Joe Crede/Josh Fields
LF – Carlos Quentin
RF – Jermaine Dye
DH – Jim Thome
SP – Javier Vazquez
SP – Mark Buehrle
SP – Jose Contreras
SP – John Danks
SP – Gavin Floyd
Setup: Scott Linebrink
Closer: Bobby Jenks
The Sox had the worst OBP in the AL at .318. Everyone knows they need a good strong dose of on-base percentage. Their .404 team SLG ranked 12th of 14, so some added pop is needed as well. The pop may come from more Fields and less Erstad/Podsednik.
Center field is pretty much the only position at which the Sox aren’t committed. I suppose they could upgrade second base too. So let’s see…center fielder who can get on base…that rules out Juan Pierre and Coco Crisp straight off. Honestly the Sox have backed themselves into a corner by not having OBP at catcher, second base, shortstop, third base, or right field. I will say that I loved the acquisition of Carlos Quentin. And Thome is an OBP monster. Anyway I recommend signing Kenny Lofton or trading for David DeJesus.
I know Kenny Williams and Dayton Moore get along well, though the price for DeJesus will probably be the shred of starting pitching left in Chicago’s farm system. So how ’bout Lofton, who played for the Sox back in ’02? But here’s the kicker of my plan: pair him with Ryan Freel. Freel couldn’t touch lefties last year but the two previous years he had OBPs over .400 against them.
Stay with me here…taking Lofton’s ’07 vs. righties and Freel’s ’06 vs. lefties and creating one hybrid Frofton Monster, you get a .311/.394/.444 hitter. Even better, Freel can help out at second base when righties are on the hill. And Sox fans will love his style! He can’t be that hard to pry away/buy low from the Reds, can he? I admit this idea didn’t give much consideration to CF defense, but hey, I’m just spitballing here.
Every team needs starting pitching, but I feel the White Sox are right to just go with what they’ve got here and hope for the best. Gio Gonzalez is a decent prospect who might be able to help by summertime if Danks, Floyd, or Contreras really craps out. If two of them crap out, Kenny Williams has to make a deal. As for the bullpen, I wouldn’t throw more money at that even if it’s not perfect.
Joe Crede, who should cost $5MM or so in the last year of team control, is the team’s main luxury. Strong defense, good pop, weak OBP, weak third base market. Still, his trade value isn’t huge right now coming off back surgery. One nice fit could be the Halos, who have extra outfielders. Crede isn’t a match for Reggie Willits; the White Sox would have to kick in something really nice to pull that off. The Giants could send Rajai Davis over, who could be a decent platoon partner for Lofton in center. The Brewers could maybe flip a starting pitcher over. The Phils don’t seem to match up with Chicago’s needs.
Relievers David Aardsma and Nick Masset are out options, so they might be thrown in to spice up a deal. The Sox also have Brian Anderson and Ryan Sweeney, a couple of center fielders they may be ready to give up on. Hopefully for Kenny Williams quantity means quality and he can throw together a bunch of these guys to get one player who can really help the ’08 team.