With pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training in a mere 30 days, the White Sox still have some cosmetic surgery on tap before basking in sunny Arizona. Joe Crede, Juan Uribe and one or two of the out-of-options trio, David Aardsma, Nick Masset and Gavin Floyd, shouldn't feel assured of their spot in Chicago just because they've made it to January.
Don't get too comfortable, Kenny's still trying to deal you guys.
Some of those deals might have to wait until
spring training, but they're still coming. Then there's the
reoccurring Paul Konerko-to-the-Angels rumor. If the Sox are
looking to move Konerko, and that is a big if, they should broaden
their search to include the Mariners and Dodgers.
And it would be nice to somehow create a package that would tempt the Orioles, who are still holding on potential Sox panaceas Erik Bedard and Brian Roberts.
I've supported a potential Konerko trade from the start, but I don't value two of the Angels' names the Sox are likely to focus on-Ervin Santana and Chone Figgins-as much as other observers.
First, I do not buy into the fascination with Ervin Santana. He is a flyball pitcher (60% career flyball rate, 26 HRs allowed last year) with a terrible home/road disparity (career 3.14 ERA at home, 7.14 ERA on the road) and questionable mental make up who watched his already underwhelming numbers decline in 2007 ('07 line: 7-14, 5.76 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, .288 BAA).
At age 25 and with an impressive minor league track record, the kid is still young and a candidate to turn things around in 2008. But he's not a better bet at the homer-happy Cell than Floyd or John Danks, whom I'm already wary of in a contender's rotation.
Then there's Figgins. I like Figgins, but not as much as many others. He had a terrific season, but I see his '07 OBP of .393-41 points higher than his previous career high-as an aberration and likely to come down significantly in 2008.
Add in less-than-stellar defense in centerfield, where he would likely play with the Sox, and his unspectacular 75.6% career stolen base rate (his 12 caught starlings were the most in the AL) and his stock falls a notch in my book.
However, he is still a quality lead off hitter, and he would be a welcome addition to the team. But Konerko for Santana and Figgins? Yawn. Expanding the deal to include Crede might net the Sox a relief pitcher like Scot Shields or Justin Speier, which would be nice, but still not a drastic improvement. But ultimately it's Santana that keeps me on the fence about that kind of deal. (If Howie Kendrick was somehow involved, I'd be ecstatic.)
Another avenue might be to trade Konerko for a few top prospects that could be spun to Baltimore for Roberts and Bedard. It's a long shot, but a package including Floyd, Richar, Danks, some blue chippers obtained for Paulie, and some filler like Aardsma or Masset might get you in the door with the Orioles. At any rate, it's worth looking into.
Otherwise, how about Ian Snell of Pittsburgh?
Speaking of the Pirates, an OS&S fan favorite, centerfielder Chris Duffy, appears to have suffered something of a Brian Anderson-ing in Pittsburgh. Rotoworld has him all but out of town before Opening Day. The switch hitter has been stuck in neutral the last two seasons and has fallen behind Nate McLouth on the Pirates' depth chart. I know at least one Chicagoan-turned-Cincinnatian who'd like to see Ken Williams buy low here.
Another guy from the "buy low" bin, Bartolo Colon is in the Sox sights. At the very least he could accompany Juan Uribe on spring training McDonald's trips. Seriously, if the pitching-starved Mets backed away from Colon, his arm's gotta be in worse shape than pick one: (Fred Thompson's presidential hopes) / (The Purple Hotel) / (Sega Dreamcast).
On the other hand, the Sox do need a veteran to at least challenge for the rotation. Clearly this is not the same guy to whom the Sox offered a then-franchise record contract in 2003, but he is known to turn his game up a notch when the going gets tough.
If Colon, who is only three years removed from a Cy Young award, can bring his fastball up to the 92-93 mph range, as opposed to the 87-89 range, he could be worth a shot.