(Yorvit Torrealba sports some corporate sponsorship in winter ball. Wonder when that hits the states?)
This off-season has felt like waiting in a dentist's chair for a root canal for a fortnight. The dental assistant gave you some nice opiates for the pain (Peavy) but the doctor has been busy with a another emergency and the OxyContins are wearing off fast but the Novocaine has your mouth so numb you don't have the power of speech to tell the doctor, as he walks in the door in super slow-mo, a millimeter per minute. You pass out from awful anticipation and helpless fear, cursing your ancestry as your soul leaks out your toes and into an electrical socket. Following a few switches and circuits you find yourself inside the internet, behind the dentist's useless EMR. You are bored, you remember that winter baseball exists. You wonder which past, present and future White Sox players are participating. You swim in the 1's and 0's and recoil in disgust as some horrifying names arise. It is a veritable Who's Who of White Sox Suck.
(click on player names for links to their winter league stats and teams)
1. Brian Anderson: His hair reeks of sunshine and the Puerto Rican groupies are undoubtedly soaking up his suck. Our former golden boy Is pitching in Puerto Rico and his body and mind has decided to pitch very poorly. This comes as no surprise considering his hips, hands and legs denied him a career as a positional player. Hawk always said that this kid was gong to be a fine ballplayer one day but no one knew it would happen in the 2014 Australian League, Brian has a 6.43 ERA to go along with a 2+ WHIP. Of course he is striking out a good amount of hitters (8 K's in 7 IP) as it was also his specialty at the plate. He has no wins because he is a born loser. You ruined our dynasty.
2. Javy Vazquez: Imagine Javy's surprise when he found out he would be reunited with his soul mate, Brian Anderson, on the Leones de Ponce. All he wanted to do is get some work in and hopefully come out of retirement but nooooo, there is that goof Anderson to send memories of the 2008 White Sox flooding back in to his fragile psyche. All of last year he saw what he believed were inferior pitchers such as Andy Pettite come out of retirement and actually succeed after a year off. At the age of 36 there is no reason for him to have hung up the spikes as he has struck out 30 hitters in 23 IP. He won't have to pitch in the Puerto Rican playoffs since his team is only 1 game out of last place but he plans on pitching for Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Let's hope he chokes for them or better yet lets not hope and see it happen anyway.
3. Hector Santiago: Hector thought he was getting too fat in the post-season so he decided to team up with his brother Anthony Santiago on the Gigantes de Carolina in Puerto Rico. In five starts he is 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 24 K's. He is probably working on his screwball and stretching out to make a run at the 5th starter spot on the White Sox. On the other hand, his little brother, just two years younger than him, finished up the 2012 season with the Bristol Sox in the Appalachian League. Someone teach this kid the Epheus pitch or some other gimmick pitch, please. In just 4.1 IP in winter ball his ERA is 16.52.
4. Lorenzo Barcelo: The White Sox had lofty expectations for Barcelo in the year 2000. Instead he was horrible in 2001 and 2002 and was out of baseball until 2010 when he decided to play in the Mexican Summer League. He's now 35 ears old and mowing down hitters in the Dominican Winter League and leading that league in IP. As Mr. D used to say, "i am very disappointed in you, young man."
5. Andy Gonzalez: Andy is my All-time least favorite White Sox player but he is raking in the Puerto Rican winter league. .311/.429/.489. He leads the league in RBI's with 27 through 40 games, that sounds about right doesn't it? I hope we don't see him in the dugout next year since Hahn in his infinite wisdom signed him to presumably replace Rey/Ray "Omega" Olmedo in the White Sox organization. A small part of me wishes to see Andy fail at 3B again but only if its in the game after the All-Star break because Keppy needs rest following his chase of Dimaggio's record.
6. Ray Olmedo: 2nd least favorite White Sox player of all-time is OPSing .562 in the Venezuelan League. Although, I'am sure he is displaying yeoman -like capabilities at shortstop for the Tiburones de la Guaira. It should be interesting to see if he finds a place on a weak Minnesota Twain roster in 2013...of course he won't...I am assuming the Twain have better organizational depth to actually allow that to happen. Escobar and a white moustache should suffice. In the future we will all have sunglasses screwed over our eyes that present an alternate reality the way Omega does. A pile of refuse is a babbling brook.
7. Christian Marrero and Luis Terrero: These two players will be forever linked in their binary obscurity because of Margalus' link dumps; the Christian Marrero Reading Room and Terrerobytes. They are both horrible, even in the Dominican League. Not only are they bad but they are also alarmingly ugly.
8 D'Angelo Jimenez: His last year in the majors was in 2007. He is only 34 years old. He has been bouncing around the minors, the Independent League and the Mexican Summer League for 6 years. He continues to suck in this winter's Dominican League, I always thought he had a very bloated opinion of himself and it is hard to believe it has been since 2003 since he has donned a White Sox uniform. Its never too cloudy for sunglasses and its never too tacky for long braided, beaded shoulder length cornrows. Good riddance.
9. Andy Sisco: Prior to 2003 he was the #53 prospect in all of baseball. He last pitched in the major leagues in 2007 for the White Sox. He was sufficiently horrible to basically end his career. He made a half-assed comeback in 2010 and 2011 with San Francisco and Yankee affiliates but bounced around between the Independent League and the Mexican League last summer. Sisco was a part of KW's cocksure, big armed bullpen of 2007 that failed and sucked hard. He is the reason the White Sox overpay for players like Linebrink, Ohman and Crain. However, in the 2012 Mexican Winter League he has managed to be somewhat serviceable with a 6-4 3.86 line. Get used to Mexico, Sisco. Thong, tha thong, thong, thong.
10. Josh Kroeger: I think it was 2009 or 2010 when Kroeger absolutely mashed in Spring Training for the White Sox. I distinctly remember SSS commenters of the caliber of SoxfanCT calling for him to make the major league roster. There is a reason he hasn't played in the majors since 2004 with the Diamondbacks. Although, he does have a consistent 156 HR's over 12 seasons in the minors. That power hasn't translated into HR's in his 147 AB's in the Venezuelan League but he has not been horrible: .286/.404/.361...I guess that is, at most, halfway to horrible.
11. Eduardo Escobar: The key piece in the Francisco Liriano deal last summer. My guess is he beats out Olmedo for a utility role on the 2013 Twain. He has some work to do though. In Venezuela he has the same amount of AB's as Kroeger but is .205/.277/.322. It appears he might have been traded since he has stat lines for two teams, I didn't know they did that kind of thing in Venezuela. It must have been heartbreaking for the little guy.
12. Hector Gimenez: The White Sox feel he will make an adequate backup for Tyler Flowers. A large majority of the fan base does not agree. Either way, he is getting in some work in Venezuela and has been largely successful, hitting .307/.385/.521. Stay hot, Gimenez, see you on Opening Day.
13. Manny Ramirez: Taking steroids doesn't pay! Well...taking steroids and getting caught doing so doesn't pay! Well...no one should do steroids! Well...do what ever you want. This poor guy made 206 million dollars over 19 years in the Major Leagues. Now he is trying to get his groove back in the Dominican League at age 40 and has a .795 OPS. I say he dies before he is 50 by trying to play hero in a kidnapping or robbery attempt.
14. Santos Rodriguez: Following the Arizona Fall League, Santos went down to the Dominican but he might have wished he took the winter off. In 10 appearances he has 6 IP and an ERA of 13.50.
15. Leyson Septimo: You either love him or hate him. I hate him. In 7 appearances in the Dominican he has an ERA of 7.36. I'd be willing to bet my bottom dollar that the next time we will hear about Septimo (after 2013) is in a Fanpost like this one...in 8 years Septimo will be trying to revive his career in Mexico.
16. Bartolo Colon: PED hamburgers are legal in Licey. Word on the street is he is experimenting with hair implants that return him to his 24 year old form. If he stopped taking steroids I wonder if anyone would recognize him. I am absolutely shocked that e is playing winter ball. There are two possibilities as to why: first, perhaps he thinks he owes it to Billy Beane to come into spring training in the best shape of his life...second, perhaps he is angling to make the Dominican Republic pitching staff in the World Baseball Classic. Whatever the reason is, I am sure it is self serving.
18. Felix Diaz: As KenWu told us this summer Felix Diaz proves that Zach Stewart can win a ball game. I like to think he is the sole reason why the White Sox will not trade Gavin Floyd this year and will always have a strong five-man rotation at the very least. He hasn't played in the majors since his line of 2-5, 6.78 ERA 1.58 WHIP with the 2004 White Sox. In the dictionary, his picture is next to the word disheartening. He plunked three batters in 49 IP. He has pitched in 4 games in the Dominican and has done reasonably well. I wonder what they pay this guy and I'm sure he has dreams of once again pitching in the big leagues after toiling in the Mexican Summer League since 2007. Rumor has it they call him El Incompetente.
19. Luis Vizcaino: Vizcaino and Podsednik succeeded where Carlos Lee failed again and again. They single-handedly won us a championship in 2005. Suck it El Cabello or how ever its spelled. I think it translates as "entitled prick". Either way Vizcaino is doing some decent work down in the Dominican and has a 1.86 ERA and 4 SV.
20. Erick Threets: Only White Sox fans would lament in non-tendering Threets. He has not been scored upon in 9 appearances in the Dominican League but he has not scored with a female since 2009 when having full sleeves of tattoos was considered cool.
21. Gregory Infante: Word on the street said he cried like a baby when he had to sign with the Dodgers as a minor league free agent this winter. I think some people liked him for a bullpen spot last year. Nahhhh...
22. Andre Rienzo: When you get caught taking steroids as a minor-leaguer you have to go to winter ball to make up for lost time/pitches. He is already pretty raw and having to miss half a season set him back a bit. Following a meh, Arizona Fall League, He has managed to allow 19 baserunners in 7 iP in Venezuela this fall. Brazil qualified for the World Baseball Classic after beating Panama on November 19th, so you have to imagine Rienzo would be on that team and probably be one of their better pitchers, so yeah, Brazil sucks at baseball so far!
23. John Link: He was selected in the 26th Rd. by the San Diego Padres in 2005 and we acquired him for Rob Mackowiak in July of 2007. Best trade EVER. He's appeared in 3 winter league games and has sucked as he has always sucked. Keep living the dream missing Link.
24. Danny Richar: Thanks for Ken Griffey, Jr. Another guy that White Sox fans thought was actually good for a little while there.
25. Jose Lopez: I would trade Bill James for Dave Cameron any day. Take off those sunglasses, son! He is of course raking in Venezuela, .885 OPS.
I will not besmirch Pablo Ozuna but he is playing winter ball for Licey in D.R. He has a sub .500 OPS despite being named to the Carribean Series All-Star team last February. He is 38 years old, I'm guessing his body is paying for all the hustle and grind of his youth. Now he has to learn how to bunt to stay relevant south of the border, I suppose.