clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

You can't always get what you want

New, comments

But if you try sometimes, you just might find

You get what you need
During this past offseason, the Chicago White Sox were strongly pursuing free agent center fielders Torii Hunter and Aaron Rowand. They started with Hunter, and couldn't sign him. They then tried for Rowand and that didn't work either. They had to "settle" for Nick Swisher by dealing for him from Oakland. However, when you look at the numbers here, nearly every number, and certainly all the key ones, favor Swisher:
2008 Projections
Age Avg OBP SLG HR Walks OPS
Swisher 27 .265 .384 .524 36 102 .908
Hunter 32 .282 .339 .494 27  45 .833
Rowand 30 .287 .348 .452 17  38 .800

2007 Statistics
Baserunning CF Fielding Plus/Minus
Swisher +22 +4
Hunter -10  0
Rowand  -1 -4
Sometimes what you want may not be what's best for you. In this case, that's exactly what happened to the White Sox. Swisher may not wind up in center field for the Sox, but he is a very valuable acquisition for them, especially because he can play center field well if needed.
I don't buy that Swisher's true talent is an above average defensive center fielder, but I was impressed by what I saw today. He got a good jump and caught a shallow bloop single, but dropped the ball when turned his wrist awkwardly after laying out to make the catch. It was just one play, but he showed good instincts even if he was unable to complete the play.

Toby Hall still hurting

Get ready for another season in which the Sox are forced to rely heavily on A.J. Pierzynski. Dave Van Dyck reports Toby Hall is hopeful that he will be able to play in the final two weeks of spring training. He hopes. I'm not going to hold my breath.

In the mean time, the Sox are going to continue to give a serious look to two guys who belong nowhere near a major league roster in Donny Lucy and Cole Armstrong. The sad truth is even if Hall gets healthy enough to make the roster, I'm not confident he can outplay the two minor leaguers.

It's a shame that the one universally heralded move Kenny Williams made last off-season seems to have been completely nullified by freak accident late in spring training. Were it not for Andy Gonzalez' presence on the roster last season, Toby Hall's 2007 season might have been more recognized as one of the most futile campaigns in White Sox history. Going by OPS+, Hall had the 6th worst season (min 115 PAs) for any non-pitcher in White Sox history.

If there's a silver lining, it's that Hall was able to post a .321 OBP against LHP in '07, which seemed to be the reason he was brought to the Sox until Pierzynski started complaining about platoons and losing playing time. Hall had a ridiculously futile .297 OPS -- yes, you read that right -- against right handers last year, reinforcing the need for him to avoid right-handed pitching.

If Hall is going to make the roster, which is far from a guarantee at this point, Ozzie needs to sit down with AJ and tell him that his off-days are going to coincide almost exclusively with the opposing pitchers handedness. And he needs to explain to AJ that it's not simply about his (in)ability to hit LHP, but about Hall's complete uselessness against RHP.

Trivial Pursuit

The White Sox have led the American League each of the last three seasons (2005-2007), and all of baseball the last two, in this category.

Hint: Think slightly outside the box. It's not something you're going to find by simply sorting through ESPN's stats. (Answer)