Amid offense hibernations, bullpen implosions and a forth place free fall, this has been the most pleasant Sox sight of the season: Steve Stone in the TV booth with Hawk Harrelson. After only three games of Hawk and Stoney, Iâ€™m convinced the pairing should be made permanent. Hearing Stoneâ€™s insight, well-researched observations and intelligent banter with Hawk only further highlights how boring, and stale telecasts are with Darrin Jackson
And thatâ€™s not to say that I donâ€™t like DJâ€”I think he has a higher baseball IQ and sense of humor than he displays with Hawk. But his constant deference and passive butt-kissing to the almighty Harrelson has made conversation between the two essentially unlistenable. If you really listen, everything DJ says with Hawk is one of two things: a.) a general observation or re-telling of a play that even a casual fan could give or b.) a kow-tow to Hawk, often involving an invitation for one of his Carl Yastrzemski stories.
Steve Stone has brought out the best in Hawkâ€”solid play by play, tolerable use of his catch phrases and on-topic conversation. I know Iâ€™m not the only one to notice this, as fan reaction on internet message boards like Soxtalk and White Sox Interactive has been overwhelmingly positive. Even the media is taking notice. Today Tribune media reporter Teddy Greenstein suggested an idea I brought up a year and a half ago: a Hawk/Stoney TV team and an Ed Farmer/DJ radio team.
The Sox can opt out of Chris Singletonâ€™s radio contract this off-season, and I have long thought DJ would mesh a lot better with the eccentric Farmer on radio broadcasts. One thingâ€™s for sure: the Sox broadcasts need a shot in the arm every bit as much as the Sox players. Steve Stone could be just the thing.
So Juan Uribe started to hit a few homeruns. In his last 10 games, Uribe is 9 for 36 (.250) with 4 HRs and 12 RBIs. A few homeruns in August donâ€™t make up for the sub par (even by Juan Uribe standards) season heâ€™s having as a whole, nor should they convince anyone Uribe should be the Sox starting shortstop on Opening Day 2008. He has had two full months in which heâ€™s batted less than .200 this season (May and July), shown no improvement in plate discipline and made more fielding miscues than usual. Itâ€™s not going to be easy, but Ken Williams has to find a new shortstop for the White Sox.
About a week ago rumors circulated about the Sox attempting to make a waiver deal for Miguel Tejada. At 31 years old, Tejada has suffered through a disappointing 2007 season for the Orioles. His power numbers are down (10 HRs, 53 RBIs), and a freak hit-by-pitch injury forced him to miss his first games in more than six seasons. That, combined with a slight eroding of his defensive prowess, has led some to the mistaken conclusion that Tejada is washed up. I donâ€™t believe that.
Heâ€™s still batting .301 this year (his OBP is 78 points higher than Uribeâ€™s!) and despite his decrease in range, is nonetheless a capable defender. He is an Iron man, the least likely candidate to miss time due to injury (the anti-Podsednik and Erstad), and at only 31 has many years at shortstop ahead of him. If Omar Vizquel can play short into his 40s, thereâ€™s no reason to think Tejada is over the hill. Considering the price of free agents theses days, his $12 million salary is far from an albatross. I wouldnâ€™t trade the farm to get him, but considering the dearth of available everyday shortstops, Iâ€™d make a solid offer to
Otherwise, there are a few other options. The Pirates will be looking to dump Jack Wilson, but heâ€™s only faintly better than Uribe and more expensive. The best options out there are minor league prospects that are blocked: the Dodgersâ€™ Chin-Lung Hu, the Bravesâ€™ Yunel Escobar, the Angelsâ€™ Erick Aybar and the Red Soxâ€™ Jed Lowrie. All four of those players project to be everyday shortstops better than Uribe, and should be Williamsâ€™ targets. However, itâ€™s just as likely the Dodgers, Braves, Angels and Red Sox will make room for their prospects at the major league level, so a trade offer from the Sox would have to be a great one.
Oh, and thereâ€™s that Alex Rodriguez guy. Heâ€™d be good too.
Are the Dodgers kicking themselves for not making a trade with the Sox at the deadline? A brutal lack of offense and a 6-game losing streakâ€”including three straight shutoutsâ€”dropped them to fourth place in the hyper-competitive NL West. I donâ€™t know if the Dodgers GM Ned Colletti was being too stingy or the Soxâ€™ Williams was too greedy, but there seemed to be a natural match for theses two teams that wasnâ€™t realized. Jermaine Dye, perhaps? All Dye has done is bat .357 with 4 HRs in the first week of August. Bet the Dodgers could have used that.
They had their chance. I still hope the Dodgers and Sox get together on an off-season deal. Besides the aforementioned Hu, who is tearing up Triple-A Las Vegas, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Andre Ethier and Delwyn Young are all names that could be plugged in to the Sox outfield immediately. Pitchers
With that many great prospects coming through, you have to ask why the Sox canâ€™t draft and develop talent as well as the Dodgers.