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White Sox Can't Get Out of Own Way. Guillen, Team Face Tough Decisions

We've been here before. The White Sox aren't a whole lot of fun to watch, even when they play "well." 

Last year at this time, I took about a two week break from posting simply because I didn't have anything nice to say, or the Sox had, at the very least, sucked my will to write anything positive. That's exactly where I am again right now, but I feel like I've got a few points to cover...

  • The starting rotation appears like it will round into the group we expected to be getting out of spring training. Gavin Floyd had one of the weirdest starts on memory Sunday. At various times he had his best fastball (maybe ever in a White Sox uniform) and curveball of the season, but never in unison and their availability was tenuous at best. Still, the stuff appeared to be a step in the right direction. Jake Peavy, meanwhile, has figured things out, and John Danks should be a front of the rotation guy as long as his circulation issues don't resurface. Even Freddy Garcia has thrown surprisingly well.

  • One of Ozzie Guillen's best managerial skills used to be his bullpen management. Yet, arguably since the '07 season, he's never quite had the same feel. I'm not going to sit here and criticize him turning the ball over to Jenks in the 9th on Sunday, it's a move every manager in baseball makes. Jenks is his closer. He gets the ball in the 9th with a lead of 3 runs or less. I don't like it. But it ain't changing any time soon.

    Earlier this year I noted that Ozzie was treating Sergio Santos with kid gloves, and he continues to do so, seemingly unable to understand the weapon he currently possesses. Since April 15th Santos' has been given just one game with a leverage index of above 1.0 (average).  In a month, he's been given one big spot to pitch in. That's just a waste of a big arm.

    Meanwhile, he hasn't completely buried Randy Williams who has done nothing this season to hold onto his roster spot. Guillen's desire to keep that second lefty (and the lack of non-Daniel Hudson viable replacements) keeps Williams job safe, and maybe Bobby Jenks' too. Guillen has indicated he intends to have a discussion about closer duties with Don Cooper, but I'd guess that his desire to be able to use Thornton to matchup against lefties late in the game will result in status quo (albeit with a shorter leash). There's no denying Jenks hasn't even been one of the Sox top 3 or 4 relievers, so it's not like Guillen would have a hard time finding a superior replacement. Now the question comes, does he have the guts to trust his own?

  • We all know Kenny Williams isn't one to sit idly by and watch his team flounder. He figures to be aggressive on the trade market to bring in more major league talent (though one could argue he had the opportunity to do so this off-season and ended up with Mark Teahen and Juan Pierre). The elephant in the room, however, is money. The Sox left some cash on the table when they flirted with Johnny Damon and told Jim Thome to go shove it (we're going to bring in a different type of one dimensional player). Attendance is down, not just for the Sox, but for all of baseball. Fan interest is down.

    Jim has been calling some of these plays and losses "fan-murdering." As I stated at the start, they've challenged me to maintain any excitement about the season. If there was a team in baseball that really needed a hot start, who needed to run out to a first-place position (instead of 8 games back) it was the White Sox. We can talk all about trading for Adrian Gonzalez or Lance Berkman, but if the Sox aren't competing, the fans aren't gonna show up -- and who can blame them after what we've seen this season? And if the fans aren't going to show up, they aren't going to have the money to keep those big bats around. 

    At this point all you can do is hope the Sox keep the roster as it is, have Ozzie get a little more creative with the bullpen and hope the rotation kicks it into gear. Because the alternatives are either a future-mortgaging trade (both in terms of money and talent given up) or a fire sale of soon-to-depart veterans; and the latter doesn't seem all too likely given Williams' history at the helm.