M Cabrera homered to left.
In the wake of the most frustrating loss in an incredibly frustrating season, it looks like it is time to start thinking about the offseason. In order to do this, we need to look at went wrong this season. The answer is obvious:
This has been talked about ad nauseam all year, but plug in an average Dunn and Rios year, the Sox are leading the division. Plug in two AAA schlubs, the Sox are in the thick of the race. And let's also not forget that the Average WAR for Adam Dunn assumes he's losing runs in the field, due to his previous presence in the National League, so that number should really be higher.
There have been a few other things that may have affected the win-loss record this year.
- Despite Juan Pierre's "resurgence," he is still god-awful and one of the worst players in baseball. What if the younger, cheaper, and better Viciedo had been starting in left all year?
- Despite AJ's better than average (for him) year with the bat, he is still a terrible defensive catcher, and he still sports a barely average OBP of .333. What if the younger, cheaper, and better Flowers had been starting all year?
- The lack of prospects and payroll flexibility to make a big acquisition at the trade deadline.
- The constant Ozzie "situations:" Not knowing how to run an AL offense, running and bunting into countless outs, demanding a contract extension in the heat of a playoff race, and the constant head-butting with the GM.
On the positive side, I don't think much needs to be done to this team, partly owing to the Dunn and Rios stats mentioned above. Due to his age and skillset, I think Dunn is a good bet to rebound after an offseason to clear his head and start over. I don't think Rios's hitting will improve much; he has had one good half-season since he got to Chicago. But hopefully his defense can return to normal and he can at least be a nice $12M defensive replacement. Ugh.
What should be done?
1. You're probably not going to find anyone who wants Alex Rios. Listen to offers and get rid of him if you can, perhaps for a pitcher on a bad contract.
2. Fire Ozzie Guillen. Trade him to the Marlins. Just get him out. While some disagreement between the manager and GM can be healthy, it has been costing the team wins this year.
3. Free agents/options:
Juan Pierre: Let him walk
Mark Buehrle: Resign him. While he will likely want/deserve a raise after the year he's had, let's not go too crazy.
Jason Frasor: Excercise the $3.75M option
Omar Vizquel: Let him walk
4. Trade Pierzynski for prospects if you can get him to waive his 10 and 5 rights. He is not expensive, and people need catching. Flowers's time is here.
5. Arb-eligible players:
Pena: Let him walk
Danks: Resign at pretty much any cost
Quentin: Resign if you can. Can also trade him for prospects if you don't mind seeing Rios starting all year again.
Next years roster:
1. De Aza (8)
2. Alexei (6)
3. Kong (3)
4. Dunn (DH)
5. Quentin (9)
6. Viciedo (7)
7. Flowers (2)
8. Beckham (4)
9. Morel (5)
BN- Backup catcher
BN- ??? Replacement level guy
RP7- Long reliever