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Sox still stalking young pitching; Front office doing damage control

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Anything exciting happen today?

Depending on who you believe, Jon Garland was a Houston Astro today if not for a poor medical report. Officially, the Sox say they weren't close to a deal, but most sources seem to indicate otherwise.

As of this hour, there is no deal, but the Sox will revisit the trade if Houston is ready to part with Jason Hirsh. Keep a watchful eye on Andy Pettitte, as he may be the proverbial first domino in this deal. Reportedly, the Yankees are offering $15-17M for '07 with a guaranteed second year, while the Astros have only offered him a 1-year $12M deal. If Pettitte gets that NY kind of feeling, the first thing Tim Purpura will do is speed dial Kenny.

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One day after decrying that the White Sox were arrogant to think they could disassemble their WORLD SERIES ROTATION, Phil Rogers got back on his high horse and spouted this gem as a reason against dealing Garland.

The White Sox are playing with fire breaking up the starting rotation that went 9-1 with four complete games and a 2.71 ERA in the 12-game run to a ticker tape parade in 2005.
Wouldn't the Sox be playing with fire if they brought back an aging rotation that posted a combined 4.63ERA in '06 featuring three pitchers with declining strikeout rates, two with diminished velocity, and another who spent two stints on the DL? Why are we holding 12 games from '05, 75% of which were against BAD offenses, in higher regard than the more recent 159 games from '06 that resulted in a third place finish?

Add Rick Morrissey to the growing horde of Tribune writers ostensibly calling the Sox cheap. Would you expect anything different from the Trib, owners of the crosstown team that's doled out over $200M in contracts to mostly mediocre talent this off season?

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Because of columns like above, talk radio hosts using words like "white flag," and message board posters threatening to rip up their season tickets, Kenny and Jerry have gone on the offensive through MLB.com.

I don't really feel like the offensive is necessary. The fans that equate names with wins will always hold players from the 2005 World Series if far too high of regard. Kenny and Jerry shouldn't have to explain why they are making moves to make the Sox more competitive over the long haul.

Over the years, one of the things I often get accused of as I run this blog is that I sometimes act like I know how to run the club better than those in charge. I think the fact that I don't feel an explanation is necessary at present says all you need to know about the direction the Sox are headed.

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Garland was a popular commodity at the Winter Meetings, drawing interest from a number of clubs. Because he has two years left on his contract, the Sox are looking to get more in return in any proposed trade. According to the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles were interested in Garland, but balked when they asked for both the fireballing Daniel Cabrera and AA lefty Garrett Olson in return.

In the proposed Astros deal, I feel it's my duty to plead for Kenny to forget about Taveras. His skills, like Podsednik's, aren't worth giving up talent to obtain. Though Taveras is a better overall player than Pods thanks to his ability to play CF and throw the ball farther than 100 feet on the fly.

If the reports are true, and you're uneasy with Bucholtz' medical history, drop him from the trade along with Taveras. Ask for Corky instead. He's under control for 4 more years, hits left-handed pitching, can play multiple positions, and appears (to me, at least) to be primed for a breakout season at the plate. Hirsh and Corky would be quite a haul for Garland and the Sox.