From an May 31st entry titled Let the Grinder Era end today!:
I know the Sox brass will be unable to stomach the inevitable box office drop off that would surely follow wholesale changes such as this. The key to avoiding such a drop off may lie in offering Buehrle the contract that he desires, while trading only Dye and some role players at the deadline. Joe Crede and one of the other 4 starters (in addition to the return for Dye) could then be used in the off-season to help fill the '08 roster with more versatile players.
Whatever the route the Sox take, the next 6th months will determine the long-term health of the franchise.
Days after that passage was written, Joe Crede was out for the season, removing any remaining chance the Sox had of extracting value in an off-season trade. The Sox best option in regards to Crede probably lies in offering him an arbitration avoiding 1-year deal and shifting Josh Fields to the outfield, which currently projects to have ZERO major league players penciled into the '08 lineup.
Jose Contreras, who is the pitcher we were referring to when we said "one of the other 4 starters," looks very much like a 45-year old pitcher, allowing 97 hits in his last 65 innings pitched since May 28 while posting a 1-9 record and a 8.27 ERA. He's removed all remaining trade value he had on Memorial Day, and now looms as $20+M in suck cost over the next 2+ seasons.
Jermaine Dye, who should have been a lock to be traded on a team with no hope of contending, stunk it up in the first half to the tune of a .214/.271/.402 line while pouting about not being offered a contract extension. Even his post-break numbers (.318/.392/.727) weren't enough to draw significant interest from multiple teams, with the best offer coming from the Red Sox in the young, but free-agent-next-year Wily Mo Pena and the falling stock of Craig Hansen. While I understand that the two draft picks the White Sox will receive for Dye should they offer him arbitration may seem more appealing than Hansen and Pena
- The White Sox would have to offer Jermaine Dye arbitration, something they haven't done since the end of the '03 season.
- The referenced draft picks would, in fact, be White Sox draft picks, which have produced nothing in the top two rounds since Aaron Rowand in 1998.
Two "role players" were traded in Tadahito Iguchi and Rob Mackowiak, but neither brought anything useful in return. Ironically, Iguchi and Mackowiak, the two departed role players, were the Sox most multi-faceted talents on the baseball field, which really underlies why the Sox are such a poor offensive team. Iguchi and Mack didn't do anything spectacularly, but did many things well; something you can't say about any current member of the 40-man roster save Danny Richar.
To put it mildly, nothing has gone right in retooling process. With 4 months left to "determine the long-term health of the franchise," it may be time to reset the timetable. How's 2115 sound?