Back in January, while everyone (including myself) was excited about the prospects of the 2011 season, I wondered what would happen if the White Sox were floundering come mid-late July? Would Jerry Reinsdorf pull the plug on the season like he did back in 1997, when he spent big money on Albert Belle, Jamie Navarro and Doug Drabek? That year, we finished 8th in the A.L. in attendance. This year, we currently sit at 7th- averaging a tad over 24,000 per home date. With the White Sox needing to average somewhere around 33,000 fans a game to pay for their payroll, one has to think that Reinsdorf might get the itchy trigger finger.
Kenny Williams has never been one to trade major pieces at the deadline. In fact he's done the exact opposite. Many times he has grasped at straws in hopes of putting together a run to make the playoffs. We only have to go back to last August when he dropped 4 million dollars on Manny Ramirez, for 88 at bats and 2 RBI's, as the Sox bowed out of the race quietly. I find it very hard to believe that the Chairman would OK another move to add more payroll to a team that many view as a sinking ship, especially given Williams success at the deadlines in recent seasons.
Today we sit at 45-48, 5 games behind the Indians and 4 behind the Tigers.
On this date in 1997 we were 47-45, 4 1/2 behind the Indians. Within 15 days Harold Baines, Wilson Alvarez, Roberto Hernandez and Danny Darwin were traded for prospects and the fans were told if they thought the Sox could catch Cleveland they were crazy.
There are some big names that might be moved within 15 days, just like 14 years ago.
*Mark Buehrle- The fan favorite is in the final year of his deal. If he is traded, he gets 15 million next season. At the beginning of the year, I figured no team would pick that up. While I still don't think they will, it may not be as unheard of as we first thought. Buehrle is having a renaissance type year with a 3.42 ERA. A team may be willing to take on that extra money to get a steady, consistent innings eater.
*Edwin Jackson- He has been pretty inconsistent this year, but he is set to be a free agent after the season and still has very good stuff. A team might think they could strike lightning in a bottle with him.
*Carlos Quentin- The All Star started out the season on fire and reportedly three teams have already inquired about adding him to their outfield. He is going to enter his final year of arbitration and could bring home in excess of 8 million dollars.
*Juan Pierre- He is in his final year of his contract and has started to play well lately. A team may be willing to take him on as a veteran presence that could hit at the top of the lineup.
*Gavin Floyd- He will earn 7 million next year and has a 9.5 million option in 2013. He hasn't been as sharp this season as in prior years, but he might bring home a nice package from a team looking for pitching since he is under control for longer than the others.
*John Danks- Like Quentin, Danks also enters his final season of arbitration this off season. He has showed very little interest in an extension thus far. He will be coming back from his injury next week, so that won't scare a team from asking about him.
This current road trip (2 more in Detroit, 3 in Kansas, 3 in Cleveland) will take us through July 24th. We come home vs. Detroit the 25th-27th. If we don't gain ground by then, there is going to be some tough decisions to make. Do they dump salary? If yes, who? Do they look to add a piece? Do they finally give Dayan Viciedo the keys to the offense and try to improve from within? Do they stand pat with the guys they have?
Last nights game was a step in the right direction. This team, like Paula Abdul, seems to take 2 steps forward and 2 steps back. If that continues, what will Kenny do? Or possibly more important, what will Jerry tell him to do?