With the general managers meetings wrapped up, the White Sox have a few weeks to gird their loins for early December. The deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players is Dec. 2, followed by the winter meetings a week later.
Alejandro De Aza stands to make the most, but the decision really isn't a question. He'll be worth MLB Trade Rumors' $4.4 million estimation, but coming to a more conclusive, specific valuation about his talent is a little harder, given how much he took off the table last year.
In weighing the pros and cons to Colleen Kane, Rick Hahn gently offered the same criticisms everybody's made:
"It's tough with De Aza," Hahn said. "When he makes a mistake on the basepaths, which were far too numerous last year, those tend to stand out more in your mind. That's almost an unfairly subjective way to evaluate the player.
"We're talking about a left-handed hitter who can run, who has some pop, who can get on base at a decent clip, who has in the past played solid defense in center field. That player is valuable. It can be frustrating at times — and frustrating in a very public and loud way — but you need to look at the entire player when evaluating how he fits and what role."
Hahn also opined about his changed plate approach ...
"At times he perhaps got a little too power-focused as opposed to what made him successful the year before in terms of working the count, getting on base," Hahn said. "But that's still a guy who can play a role on a championship team. It's just finding that right role for him."
... but I'm not certain that was for the worse. The White Sox received the league's worst production from the No. 2 spot (.246/.283/.327), and they weren't particularly close to 14th place either (the Astros' OPS from their No. 2 hitters was 40 points higher). Two spots down, White Sox cleanup hitters were second-to-last in OPS. Given De Aza's misadventures in baserunning, I was unusually comfortable with him selling out for power, instead of counting on his decision-making and the guys behind him to get him home.
Mark Parent wants the team to have some ass-kickers, or he's going to have to do it himself. Besides talking about the more mental aspects of the club, the bench coach shared an item on his offseason wish list:
"Well, you remind them," said Parent when asked about changing the free-swinging culture. "It's the definition of insanity: continue to do the same thing and come up with the same results. It's not good.
"There are certain guys who had pretty good numbers for the year, but they could have had better numbers. Some guys had bad numbers and this is why: your approach to hitting and your approach to the game. Hopefully next year our bench will be even better that if a guy is not getting it done, we can sit him for a day or three or a week. Nowadays you have to sit them. That's the only way you can get to a guy."
The chairman avoided serious injury after a three-car wreck, which is good. He also said something I'm getting at:
Reinsdorf didn’t want to walk about Sox baseball business as he bantered with reporters Wednesday – particularly the worst Sox season in his three decades of ownership.
"Every day when I get up I keep hoping that I’m waking up from a dream and that never happened," he said.
This is the kind of talk that would no longer garner sympathy if the Sox decided to make re-signing Paul Konerko a high priority.
Dan Hayes says the only players not on the block are Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia. It's still hard to see how either Cuban is moved until Abreu has his feet under him, because their return doesn't figure to be earth-shaking.
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Miguel Cabrera won his second straight Best Player With Good Teammates Award, and Jeff Passan is tired of the gleeful ignorance voters show in constructing inconsistent arguments for playoff-bound players, and against the guys who don't have the fortune of being on good teams (Trout is four years away from even having a choice of organizations). Bill Ballou of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette scraped the bottom of the barrel by voting Trout seventh, which annoyed Brandon McCarthy greatly.
@JeffFletcherOCR incremental decreases in stupidity isn't something I go weak in the knees for.— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) November 15, 2013
Second to Paul Konerko in the "Why Do Reporters Want The Sox To Sign This Guy So Badly?" is Curtis Granderson. Chuck Garfien was angling for a way for the Sox to sign him, and now Scott Merkin is giving him a platform.
Adding Granderson would be a boon for any team, when factoring in the 84 homers he launched combined during the 2011 and '12 seasons, not to mention the fact that he feels healthy and ready to play any spot in the outfield. His desire to give back to the community and his high character and outgoing nature make him a clubhouse-plus for rebuilding teams such as the Cubs or the White Sox.
But the fact that these teams are rebuilding, coupled with Granderson being offered a qualifying offer by the Yankees and then turning it down, might eventually eliminate the chance of making his first home also his second baseball home. The White Sox have placed the First-Year Player Draft as one of their top line items on the '14 budget and don't currently seem inclined to lose a second-round pick for three or even four years of Granderson. The same apparently holds true for the Cubs.
When writing about Granderson, the qualifying offer/draft pick should really be mentioned higher.