The White Sox were already going to keep us plenty busy on Thursday with the MLB draft. Then they decided to tax us even more, first designating Mat Latos for assignment, then signing a still-injured Justin Morneau for $1 million deal.
Big ups to Steve for stepping up with a three-post Thursday. And Josh and Lil Jimmy for running a live three-hour draft show, with Brian Bilek joining them.
At least the Sox did us the solid of capping it all off with a winner. This weekend series with the Royals could have featured two teams on long losing streaks, but the Sox are on a relative roll compared to Kansas City, which has lost seven straight. This being the case, I wonder if Rick Hahn avoided making a more strenuous defense of Robin Ventura in the event that they crap the bed against another divisional opponent:
"I don’t think you have ever seen me telegraph any move or comment on any individual," Hahn said when asked about the status of Ventura. "The best thing you do (is) rally around the guys you have here. My job is to put them in the best position to win, with the people you have in this clubhouse."
So let's take a breather to review the news the draft contended with...
I've been of the mind that the back of the rotation is penance for White Sox fans who underestimated the amount of ability required to throw 180 innings. Under these conditions, I'll take it as a sign that Mat Latos' ERA over his last seven starts was 7.25, which was the same as John Danks' for the season.
Even including his hot start, Latos was on pace to only throw 168 innings, and he wasn't going to get there. Rick Hahn said the Sox didn't see any sign of impending improvement:
"Over the last six, maybe seven starts we started to see a little bit more from him that was more similar to what we saw in March as opposed to the better results we saw in April," Hahn said. "The short outings the last two days sort of hastened our need to pull the trigger on that move, but it was something we’d been discussing for the last few weeks, leading up to the Shields acquisition."
Latos criticized himself for walking too many guys on Tuesday, but he also gave up a homer on a decent curveball. It was a good pitch call, it was a good location, but it just didn't have the power to dive below the bat. Basically, he walked guys at the highest rate of his career, and it might've been necessary for his survival, if that's what you want to call it.
The expediency of the move surprised me a little, especially since the cupboard is so bare in the minors that the Sox called up Tyler Danish as an auxiliary reliever. The writing was on the wall, though, and it was nice to see Miguel Gonzalez continue his stretch of useful pitching to mitigate any aftershocks.
The Sox have DFA'd Danks. They acquired James Shields in an extremely early significant midseason trade. They DFA'd Latos.
That's why I didn't understand that the White Sox' $1 million signing of Justin Morneau -- who won't be available until mid-July at the earliest, Hahn says -- triggered such an adversarial response.
OK, that's a lie. I know exactly why:
- He doesn't do anything to solve the present offensive issues.
- He fits the description of what I just wrote about a couple days before:
From Adam LaRoche to Jeff Samardzija to David Robertson to Melky Cabrera to Todd Frazier to Jimmy Rollins to Alex Avila to Dioner Navarro to Austin Jackson to You Get The Idea, it's as though the White Sox franchise is powered by an old-timey eco-unfriendly engine that consumes veteran presences. Once the confidence from the latest veteran is reduced to embers, the Sox have to find another one to throw into the fire before everything stalls.
Particular to this event, Morneau's history with the White Sox makes the sight of it rather jarring, too:
Life comes at you fast.
So being unimpressed with and jaded by the news is right and just. The complaints stretch into disingenuousness when one pretends that the White Sox are likely to stand pat until Morneau gets back, which is supposed to be after the All-Star break.
There's really no reason to think that, especially since the Sox have to account for the possibility of a setback during his rehabilitation from elbow surgery. That's one of a few reasons why he only required $1 million, which is the kind of salary the Sox have cut 15 times over this season.
For that price, it's worth acquiring Morneau to block another team from getting him, because they could still use a left-handed bat and first base reinforcement even should they acquire a Carlos Gonzalez type. Blocking at this point is a very presumptive action in and of itself, but these moves seldom are in and of themselves. Just like the Shields trade, if the Sox are trying to add this early, they're going to have to do so on the timeline that presents itself. It's not following the list of priorities, but the Sox have little say over the order. Otherwise, they probably would've picked a more stomachable way to be .500.
By the way, Tim Anderson didn't start for Charlotte on Thursday. Let's see if that means anything.