Winter Meetings Ahead, Sox Ship Seems To Have No Rudder

Alright, here goes. It's my first one, so just don't be too rough. I consider myself to be part of the category of posters that wants to contribute the right sort of White Sox material. Also, larry challenged me yesterday, and I'm nothing if not competitive, so here goes.

Since we have arrived at the arbitration acception deadline (11:59 pm, November 30th 2010) and the Winter Meetings, it makes sense to take a stab at what we have, what we need and possible options. Since this is my first shot at a post, I'll try and make it short. I am going to stick to the lineup, and only firstbase and catcher. If I don't fail the test miserably, I'll go for the other holes on the team.

Line-up/position players:

For the 2011 White Sox, only 5 of the 9 positions are set. Pierre in left, Rios in center, Lex at short, Beckham at second and presumably Morel at third. Everything else is sort of up in the air, given no real idea at first, the ability to flip your RF and DH (in Q and Teahen) and great sadness at catcher.

Hole: First base. Options: Kong, Adam Dunn, Prince Fielder, Adam LaRoche, Carlos Pena, Dayan Viciedo.

Kong (2): I think most would like to have Konerko back, just not necessarily at first and not for more than the $12 million he made last year. The White Sox have publicly said they want Konerko back, but he gave the Sox the home-town discount last time and is unlikely to do so again. Reportedly he wants to be closer to home in Arizona and no one expects him to duplicate the ridiculous 2010 going forward, but in ranking him among the 6 options listed above (1 to 6 with 1 being the best, 6 the worst), I'd say Konerko's the second best option (2).

Dunn (1): He's my ideal solution. I expect him to end up with around the same contract (in years and money, say 3-4 years at $12-14 mill per) as Konerko, given age, production and previous contracts. He's not the complete boob fielding at first as he was in the outfield, walks a ton, k's a ton and homers a ton. Left handed to boot. Only going to cost money (and a draft pick, he's a Type A free agent).

Fielder (3): The subject of much debate here when traded for one BHB. Fielder is a younger Dunn, but is going to cost more because you have to trade for him, and you're only getting one year of him for sure. As a Boras client (with a hell of a baseball resume by the age of 26), Fielder is going to want to eclipse the Ryan Howard deal. Really hard to see the White Sox doing that under the best of fiscal circumnstances, let alone with their books as they are now.

Adam LaRoche (5): I was surprised he wasn't mentioned more around the trade deadline last year for the White Sox, given his left-handedness, decent amount of pop and second-half surges. Certainly cheaper than the above 3 options, I am not really sure what to make of him defensively. Fangraphs says he was good in 2010 (by UZR and UZR/150), but i know those stats prefer 3 year sample sizes. I don't think it's a stretch to say he's better than any of the above three, and overall he's probably the safest bet to meet expectations. Should get a modest raise from the $6 mill last year.

Carlos Pena (4): I am the only one, but I like Carlos Pena. The best defender of the group, left-handed pop and one of the "proven guy with talent who underperformed" types Kenny loves (BHB, Danks, Q, Rios, etc). Probably not going to get a replica of the 3 year/$24 mill deal, I'd say he's more likely to get 2 years/$18 mill with incentives or options.

Dayan Viciedo (6): The least known quantity (in terms of on-field production) on the list, but is a fixed cost for 2011, which has some benefits. The youngest, the most raw, the least likely to take a walk, probably the worst defensively, but has a high ceiling. I know he can pound the ball and perhaps others can convince me, but I'm not a Dayan guy.


Hole: Catcher. Options: Pierzynski, Tyler Flowers/Castro, Rod Barajas, Miguel Olivo, some trade fantasy (Mike Napoli/Russell Martin(?)

AJ (?): Oh, dear. I look at some positions on the '11 team and get upset (right field/DH for Q), roll my eyes (left) or get sick (DH/right field/utility for Teahen). Catcher just makes me sad. I have no idea how to rank any of these options. AJ is what we have known for the longest, but I don't think anyone here (with one large exception) would miss him too much. 2010 was okay or bad, but the overall numbers weren't as terrible as you'd think (but .270/.300/.333 is still pretty awful, I admit). Apparently willing to take a paycut, (WARNING: It is Jon Heyman), it wouldn't be the worst thing ever if he came back for around his '09/'10 salary. 2...I think...

Tyler Flowers/Castro: I'd really rather not see this. Castro is a good backup catcher, nothing more, nothing less. Give him more plate appearences and he becomes less effective behind the dish and his holes at the plate become more exposed. Flowers doesn't seem particularly good, but that could be a result of a slight set-back, me being judgemental, youth or some combination of all three. Again, the cheapest of the available options.

Rod Barajas: Probably just a part-time catcher at this point. If you sign him, it would probably be to split with Flowers and then have Castro as your third back up. I doubt the Sox would carry three catchers on their Major League roster, and have no idea what Barajas would agree to. 2010 was not a kind year, worse in fact than AJ's (other than home runs and accompanying slugging percentage). 3, maybe?

Miguel Olivo: Have no clue what the SSS feelings are for Olivo. KenWo probably loves him, since he got us Freddy in the first place. Doesn't walk, some decent pop, yappy mouth, had a good 2010. 3.2 WAR, but his batting numbers were no doubt helped by a .346 BABIP. 4.

Some Fantasy Trade: (1). Because it's fantasy, this is what I'd like. The further away from it i get, the more I like u-god's idea of trading for Napoli. Russell Martin has been the subject of some trade rumors, but the Dodgers would be cutting their nose to spite their face if they just cut him loose. I think this is the best option (trading for a catcher), but it's also the least likely. Hell, what do I know?


Please do comment. I enjoy this blog very much, don't take anything non-baseball too seriously and want to understand baseball more. Comments about what you think of my rankings, who you'd like to see fill the spots, call me an idiot, whatever. Thanks everyone.

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