Just yesterday, I was going to write that I felt Damaso Marte's spot on the '06 team was secure. And I was happy about that. You don't find left-handed arms like his that often. I felt like most of Marte's problems in '05 were between the ears, as his stuff looked the same. For some reason he lost the ability to locate the strike zone.
Today, the Sox traded Marte to the Pirates for local-boy Rob Mackowiak, who grew up on the south side as a White Sox fan.
My initial reaction was a lot like most of yours. I felt the Sox gave up a valuable commodity and got only a marginal one in return. Stewing on it a bit, I don't think that is the case.
I read through the comments of the other thread, and I kept reading the words "below average," I assume pointing to Mackowiak's career OPS+ of 92. But guess who has a career OPS+ of 91. That right, Joe Crede.
It's also hard to argue that Marte was as valuable as we think. Here's a guy who walked out on the team with the best record in the AL with just weeks to play in the season. He couldn't throw the ball over the plate, or do his primary job of getting left-handers out. He's two years removed from a poor season where he gave up a lot of HRs, and last year was just a poor season all around, including his attitude.
Relievers are fungible. Sure there is a chance that Marte returns to his '02-'03 form, but there's also an equal chance that he completely collapses.
Mack's presence may signal the end of the Willie Harris era on the south side. Reading between the lines of these quotes, and this move makes it look like Harris is on his way out.
"As we sit here today, Willie Harris is one of our utility guys," Williams said Wednesday from the Winter Meetings.
Timo Perez also figures to be non-tendered, making the 25 man roster look something like this.