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Chemistry Set

The 2005 White Sox were a team who won on the strength of their pitching and defense, but they were also extremely conscience of the chemistry in the clubhouse. The Cuban Connection, The Three Stooges, Group 4; each group seemed to come together as much by design as by chance.

So how will the 2006 White Sox be affected by the subtraction of a blue collar center fielder and key member of that '05 clubhouse? How will the '06 Sox be affected by the addition of a blue collar first baseman super star? The early indications are, not much. -- I thought the two articles by Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune and Kevin Roberts of the Courier Post said it all. Rogers ended his column with the quote,

The biggest compliment of all for Rowand should be that he will be missed.
Roberts ended his column, titled "Phillies and fans will miss Thome the man," in eerily similar fashion.
When Thome arrived three years ago, he said something very telling:

"My dad always said, "It's not what you do when you walk in the door, it's the impressions you've made when you leave.'"

David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune wrote what I would ordinarily call a fluff piece, highlighting Thome's family, his downstate roots, and his overall character. I would normally just skim an article like this, but I thought it was important that as Kenny traded away a "high-character, high-effort, big-chemistry guy," he also brought back the same in return.

Thome is already doing his best to contribute to the '06 Sox. Scott Gregor of the Daily Herald notes that Thome has expressed a desire to personally campaign for Konerko's return.

Equally important, Thome just might help the White Sox retain Konerko, the most attractive free agent on the market.

Konerko often has talked about his admiration for Thome, who used to play for the rival Cleveland Indians before moving to Philadelphia in 2003.

Thome feels the same way about Konerko, and he already has offered to fly to Arizona to personally push for Konerko to return to the Sox.

It's for reasons like that, that Williams chose Thome over Carlos Delgado. Dave Van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune points to the 2004 trade deadline as a reason that Williams didn't even consider Delgado
Williams didn't want Delgado. At any price.

Does Williams have a long memory and hold grudges? You better believe it. Just ask Ordonez.

So here's the history: At the trading deadline of 2004, Williams worked out a trade with Toronto, but Delgado refused to come to Chicago, even though he could have walked away after the season. Williams was left fuming. So Delgado's chances of coming to Chicago this winter were nil.

So while the consensus around the internet is that Williams lost this trade, he may very well know exactly what his team needs, and how to acquire that talent. Paul Hagen, of the Philadelphia Daily News, writes that Williams, himself, may have revealed his modus operandi.
White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said it best during the season when he pointed out to a reporter that he couldn't have gotten Scott Podsednik or [Juan] Uribe if they had been coming off their best seasons. "Their teams would have been a lot more desperate to keep them," he explained.
You can add Freddy Garcia, Jose Contreras, and now Jim Thome to that list. -- There's a little bit of a "Moneyball" philosophy in there somewhere.