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Depillamug

Mike DePilla follows the White Sox on their quest for truth, justice and another championship


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Depilla

Battle For the Bench


It was the rallying cry for the Sox’ unheralded reserves. After forgotten man Geoff Blum dusted the cobwebs off his bat and, in his first ever World Series at bat, hit the biggest home run of his journeyman career, there in the dugout was fellow bench warmer Willie Harris holding up four fingers and screaming in joy:

"Group Four!!"

The next day, as Harris himself scored the run that clinched the World Series, there it was again. Four fingers held high in the air as, for the second day in a row, the game’s winning run was scored...more

Who said anything about leaving?


Kenny Williams really knows how to kill fantasy trade rumors. Just when every sports fan in town has his own version of a Jon Garland trade all planned out and ready for submission to the Sox front office, K-Dub pulls the rug out from underneath us and signs Garland to a three year contract extension.

Yeah, I didn’t see this coming.

As of last week, everyone in Chicago had Jon Garland a goner. He’s not loyal to the Sox, we said. He wants to test free agency, we said. He prefers to play...more

Odds, Sods and Sox


*I think Tribune columnist Phil Rogers had a few too many egg nogs when he wrote up this trade proposal in Sunday’s paper, in which the Cubs and Orioles make out like bandits and the Sox... not so much. Thanks for the suggestion Phil, but we’ll pass.

*Want to know more about your new starting centerfielder? Read this profile and this holiday Q&A with the jovial rookie, who was also featured in this month’s ESPN The Magazine, saying, “Sometimes people might think I’m an idiot, but my grandfather told me...more

Sacri-lidge-ious


You want another off season blockbuster? OK, I’m just putting this out there: Jon Garland for Brad Lidge.

Stay with me on this for a second.

Ken Williams seems to be leaning toward acquiring relief pitchers for Garland (despite the fact it might net the Sox less than full value), and Brad Lidge, despite his late playoffs meltdown, is a top-drawer reliever: young, affordable, nasty, dominating and apparently not untouchable.

The Astros want to make a big splash, and, after declining arbitration to Roger Clemens, have a need for a frontline starting pitcher to...more

Facin' Arbitration II


Today's topic: pitcher Jon Garland. The Sox hoped to sign Garland, who will become a free agent after 2006, to a multi-year deal this off-season to avoid both the arbitration process and his impending free agency. But factoring in his breakout season in ’05, the absurd price for mediocre pitching on today’s open market and Garland’s perceived preference to test free agency, it doesn’t appear likely the two sides will agree on a long term deal anytime soon.

Jon Garland finally came into his own in 2005, winning his first eight starts and cruising to an 18-10 record...more

Facin' Arbitration


Yes, yesterday was that magical baseball day: the non-tender arbitration deadline. Sure, it’s not as ballyhooed as the July 31 trade deadline, but a lot of evaluation and contractual maneuvers happen on December 20. It’s the day when mediocre players get their walking papers and budding stars start to think about cashing in. The Sox had six arbitration-eligible players: AJ Pierzynski, Jon Garland, Joe Crede, Willie Harris, Timo Perez and the newly-acquired Rob Mackowiak. The first player to receive a resolution was AJ Pierzynski.

The Sox avoided arbitration with their controversial catcher on Monday by signing...more

Odds, Sods and Sox


A couple of very good Sox articles popped up over the weekend. First John Kass, excellent Tribune columnist and lifelong Sox fan, boasts about the joyous day he spent with the 2005 World Series Championship trophy in the Tribune Tower. Waxing poetic about “purifying the newsroom” and “chanting in Byzantine fashion,” Kass and his triumphant victory lap can be read here. An excerpt:

Yet I boldly carried it deep into the heart of Cubs Nation, purifying the newsroom, holding it aloft, chanting in Byzantine fashion:

"It has come! It is here! But beware and approach...more

Vazquez headed for Chicago


Once again Ken Williams gets his man. After two years of on and off pursuit, the White Sox acquired starting pitcher Javier Vazquez from the Diamondbacks in exchange for Orlando Hernandez, Luis Vizcaino and top outfield prospect Chris Young. The deal, all but finalized and pending approval from the Commissioner, will also net the Sox some cash to help pay Vazquez’s salary. If that doesn’t make your heart race then maybe this will: the Sox next move may be bringing in All Star shortstop Miguel Tejada.

On the surface, trading a top prospect for a...more

Sox after Vazquez?


There are rumblings that despite plugging his two biggest holes with Jim Thome and Rob Mackowiak, Ken Williams isn’t done dealing this off season. The New York Post claims the Sox are front-runners to land disgruntled Diamondbacks starting pitcher Javier Vazquez, confirming earlier speculation by Peter Gammons, Jerry Crasnick and the Chicago Tribune. Though most of this is purely hearsay at this point, given the number of rumors out there you have to believe there’s some kind of fire behind that smoke.

Williams has long had a man-crush on Vazquez, dating back to 2003 when...more

Damn, It Feels Good to Be the White Sox


One look at some of the petulant players, incompetent management and general chaos plaguing organizations around the league really makes you even prouder to have the White Sox in Chicago. Manny “Today’s As Good As Any For a Day Off” Ramirez is tired of Boston, where his profile is evidently too high to enjoy the low key life style he’d prefer. Miguel Tejada, frustrated with his team’s lack of direction, wants out of Baltimore after only two years with the Orioles. Javier Vazquez is unhappy in Arizona and has demanded a...more

Sox swap Marte for Mackowiak


You knew Ken Williams couldn’t make it through the week without making a trade. He saw all the wheelin’ and dealin’ by his fellow GMs and had to get in on some of that action. So mere days after proclaiming his chances of trading a reliever as “very, very, very slim,” K-Dub shipped beleaguered relief pitcher Damaso Marte to the Pirates for super utility man and Oak Lawn native Rob Mackowiak. Ken Williams, you sly dog.

In addition to giving the Sox another hometown boy—-he was a Sox fan as a kid-—Mackowiak fortifies the Sox infield...more

Buehrle, Garcia to forgo crucial rest, risk needless injury in meaningless, contrived, phony tournament


That’s pretty much the way Ken Williams looks at the World Baseball Classic, a two-week international tournament debuting this coming March featuring Major League players. And I wholeheartedly agree.

Back when the plans for the World Baseball Classic were introduced last year I thought the whole idea was bogus- nothing more than a way for Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig to make a few extra bucks and cut into teams’ valuable spring training time. A time teams need to develop team chemistry and evaluate players. This tournament is as much of a scam...more

What's on tap for the Winter Meetings


Well, today is Day One of the Famous Baseball Winter Meetings, the time baseball’s general managers gather to talk about fantasy trades and take their stupid pills and offer ridiculous contracts to mediocre players. Getting rush delivery on their pills instead of waiting 5-10 business days, the Blue Jays kicked things off in fine fashion last week by signing BJ Ryan to an absurd 5-year, $47 million contract-- the most money ever awarded to a relief pitcher. Not to be outdone, the Mets, who have always thought the concepts of “value” and “fiscal responsibility” were overrated anyway, guaranteed 34-year-old closer...more

Infield reinforcements


Various published reports have the Sox pursuing former Red Sox infielder and current free agent Bill Mueller. On the surface that seems curious, considering the Sox already have all their starting infield spots filled. Paul Konerko just signed on for five years at first base, and Tadahito Iguchi, Juan Uribe and Joe Crede round out one of the best defensive infields in the majors. So why would the Sox look into Mueller, who will be 35 years old by Opening Day 2006?

Apparently, Joe Crede’s chronic lower back problems have the Sox somewhat concerned about his ability to play...more

Shafting the Big Hurt


Can someone tell me why the Chicago Tribune feels the need to bash Frank Thomas, possibly the greatest hitter this town has ever seen, at every turn? The day after his ankle injury prematurely ended his 2005 season, and possibly his Hall of Fame career, the Trib ran a retrospective article detailing Frank’s career lowlights, miscommunications and perceived petulance. How inappropriate; isn’t that the definition of “adding insult to injury”? Now, desperate for some negative Sox spin after a World Series and triumphant start to the off-season, the paper decided to play that same card again in an ...more

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