A passing comment in the last thread got me thinking... How bad could it get this off-season? We've been asking for sweeping changes since May, and all we've seen are re-signings and a new vacancy at third base coach. Hardly what one would call inspired management.
The feeling I get from the actions of White Sox front office is one of arrogance, a soon-to-be-tragic hubris. It's as if Jerry, Kenny & and company have heard all of their detractors and stubbornly decided to prove them wrong with status quo plus an extension to anyone involved with the '05-'06 clubs.
here we sit 4 plus months after I declared the Grinder Era dead, and we're still getting speculation of The Stubbly One's return from the White Sox own website. With the exception of trading his #6 ranked prospect for the D'Backs #20 ranked prospect, we've seen nothing in the way of a youth movement from Kenny, and nothing but status quo plus extra job security from Reinsdorf, who's becoming downright Steinbrennian as the driving force behind all these extensions.
This can't be a recipe for success. Williams has to know this. His largest triumph, obviously, is the building of the '05 World Series Champions. Pitching was the cornerstone of that team, with Garland and Buehrle being Williams inherited pieces. He went out and added Garcia and Contreras at the trade deadline '04. He then picked up Bobby Jenks and El Duque as reclamation projects in the off-season. Offensively, he installed new corner outfielders, a new middle infield, and a new catcher. He did all of this in the span of 6 or 7 months.
At the time, Williams' biggest asset was his bravado. He had balls, big brass ones. He wasn't afraid to strikeout. He swung for the fences with every move he made, and it showed. A roster light on long-term commitments made it possible to swing away. There was always another trade deadling, another off-season, waiting just around the bend.
But the World Series changed the Sox. They went from a team drawing 2 million fans which had to keep a keen eye on the bottom line (and make Carlos Lee for Scott Podsednik deals to make the budget work) to one that could suddenly afford to meet the exorbitant demands of their soon-to-be free agents. The result is that the White Sox haven't had a draft with more than two picks in the top 100 (little in the way of departing free agents) and a roster that has 9 players [Thome (option) included] on the wrong side of 30 locked into contracts through the '09 season.
Unlike June of '04 when the roster was flush with in-demand players under 30, the currently constructed roster leaves little room for error, little in the way of flexibility. The one thing Williams has now that he didn't back then is money. But as Notorious B.I.G. so succinctly put it, "mo money, mo problems" -- an axiom that has appears soon to be fulfilled on the south side.
Swing away, Kenny. Just know that if you miss this time, it could be game over.
- Baseball America published the Southern League (AA) Top 20 Prospects List. Gio is at #9. BTW, here are the Independent Leagues Top 10 Prospects, and the 2007 Minor League All-Stars.
- Jim takes a look at the man that's likely to be Razor Shines replacement.
- The Tigers picked up Pudge's option.
- The Phillies may have money for Rowand.