Tag:White Sox
Posted on: August 24, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 8:18 pm
 

A few names on waivers, and what it means

The Red Sox put Carl Crawford on trade waivers Wednesday, which means nothing.

The Reds put Ramon Hernandez on the wire, which could be more interesting.

The White Sox put John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Paul Konerko and Matt Thornton on, which may or may not mean anything.

The waiver process is theoretically secret and absolutely prone to misunderstanding and misinterpretation.

Dozens of players are placed on waivers every day during August. Quite a few are claimed. Very few are traded.

Does it mean anything that the Rockies were awarded a claim on Wandy Rodriguez, or that the Giants were reportedly awarded a claim on Heath Bell?

Possibly. Or it could turn out meaning absolutely nothing.

Here's an attempt to explain to make a strange and complicated process a little simpler:

1. After 4 p.m. ET on July 31, players can't be traded without waivers until after the end of the season.

2. During August, teams routinely place nearly every player on waivers. Some they'd love to trade. Some they wouldn't trade under any circumstances. Sometimes they want to gauge interest. Sometimes they put players they're obviously not going to trade (Crawford, for example) on the wire to disguise which players they don't want to see get claimed. Sometimes they want a player to clear, sometimes they'd rather he get claimed.

3. If no team claims a player, he is said to have cleared waivers and then can be traded without restriction.

4. If one team claims a player, the team that put the players on waivers has three options. It can work out a deal with the claiming team, or simply allow the claim to go through, or pull the player back off waivers. If he is pulled back, he is basically untradeable for the rest of the season. Teams sometimes allow claims to go through because they want to be rid of the contract, as happened when the White Sox got Alex Rios from the White Sox.

5. If multiple teams put in a claim, the claim is awarded to the team that was lowest in the standings on the day the player went on waivers. If the teams have the same record, then the tie-breaker is which team finished lower in the standings last year. Then the process is the same as above, with the team having three options.

6. Teams sometimes put in claims in an effort to "block" players from going to teams ahead of them in the standings. The risk is that the claim can go through and the team ends up with the player. But sometimes that even works out, as it did when the Giants "blocked" Cody Ross from going to the Padres last year.

7. The process is theoretically secret, with massive fines threatened for revealing any information. That's why no one is ever quoted on the record until a deal is done, and also why information leaks out in bits and pieces, if at all.

According to sources, the Rockies were awarded the claim on Rodriguez, and the teams have until 1 p.m. Thursday to work out a deal. But as of Wednesday night, it appeared those talks were basically dead, because the Astros put a considerably higher value on Rodriguez than the Rockies do (and weren't simply interested in dumping his large contract).

Also, according to sources, the Giants were awarded the claim on Bell. Those teams have until 1 p.m. Friday to work out a deal, and just as with Rodriguez, sources were suggesting that a deal is unlikely.

Jon Heyman of SI.com reported that the Yankees were awarded a claim on Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena. Those teams also have until 1 p.m. Friday to work out a deal.

Posted on: August 19, 2011 12:27 am
Edited on: August 19, 2011 9:37 am
 

3 to Watch: The Verlander and the East edition

What's it worth to win the American League East?

Not as much as it would be if the Twins were winning the American League Central again.

The East winner will almost certainly play the Central winner in the first round of the playoffs. The East runner-up will be the wild card, and will play the Rangers.

And the complicating factor is Justin Verlander.

If the Tigers win the Central, they get the East winner in a best-of-5 series, with the possibility that Verlander could start twice. If he wins twice, the Tigers would need just one win in any of the other three games to advance.

That's exactly what happened in the first round last year. The East winner, the Rays, lost twice to Cliff Lee. The Rays won two of the other three games against the Rangers, but it wasn't enough.

Meanwhile, the wild-card Yankees swept past the Twins.

The Yankees always beat the Twins. They did it again Thursday night, their 20th win in their last 23 games against Minnesota, including sweeps in the last two Division Series.

The Red Sox have been nearly as good, with 15 wins in their last 21 games against the Twins.

The Twins don't have a Verlander, or anyone close. In the playoffs, the Twins have had no chance.

Maybe the Tigers wouldn't have a chance, either, even with Verlander. Maybe the Indians or the White Sox will get past the Tigers and win the Central (the Tigers lead the Indians by 1 1/2 games and the White Sox by four, with the Indians coming to Detroit this weekend).

Maybe it's worth it to win the East, anyway, because if the Yankees and Red Sox both advance to the American League Championship Series, the team that wins the division would have home-field advantage.

Maybe.

But it sure would be easier if the Twins were winning the Central.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. Someone asked me the other day who starts Game 2 for the Yankees. My answer? Whoever looks best the last two weeks of the season. Maybe that could even be Phil Hughes, who starts Game 2 of this weekend's series, Yankees at Twins, Friday night (8:10 ET) at Target Field. Hughes' 6.55 ERA is the third-worst in the American League (minimum 40 innings) behind the Royals duo of Sean O'Sullivan and Kyle Davies. But Hughes has gone six innings in three straight starts (and four of the last five), allowing two runs or less each time.

2. The first round of the 2008 draft produced Buster Posey, who helped the Giants win the World Series. It produced Lonnie Chisenhall, Gordon Beckham, Ryan Perry and Daniel Schlereth, who are all part of this year's American League Central race. It produced Brett Lawrie, who the first-place Brewers traded to the Blue Jays to get Shaun Marcum. And it produced Wade Miley, the 24-year-old left-hander the first-place Diamondbacks called up when Jason Marquis broke his leg last Sunday. Miley, who grew up in Louisiana as a Braves fan, makes his big-league debut in Diamondbacks at Braves, Saturday afternoon (7:10 ET) at Turner Field. Miley will face Brandon Beachy, who was also eligible for that 2008 draft. He didn't go in the first round -- or any round -- and the Braves signed him as an undrafted free agent.

3. Tiger manager Jim Leyland reworked his rotation to make sure Verlander pitched against the Indians last week, and Verlander's win kept the Indians from a three-game sweep. Leyland chose not to rework his rotation again this week, and that means Rick Porcello will face Ubaldo Jimenez in Indians at Tigers, Sunday afternoon (1:05 ET) at Comerica Park. The Tigers are 14-9 with Porcello starting, but in 12 starts since June 12, Porcello has a 6.35 ERA. Verlander, who last pitched Tuesday (beating the Twins) is scheduled to start Monday night at Tampa Bay.



Posted on: August 5, 2011 1:08 pm
 

Ozzie and 'the idiots out there'

Did you notice that Ozzie Guillen referred to his critics as "the idiots out there, the geniuses"?

Did you see that Ozzie said struggling center fielder Alex Rios is "brutal everywhere"?

Maybe you did, maybe you didn't. These Ozzie eruptions happen so often, it's easy to overlook them.

Oh, it's just Ozzie . . . again.

There's no indication that this one is any different, but some people who know the White Sox organization well are starting to believe that this year could be different. They're starting to believe that someone other than Ozzie Guillen will be managing the White Sox next year.

It's always dangerous to predict this. Jerry Reinsdorf is the most loyal owner in baseball. He has stuck with Ozzie through a lot worse crises than this.

And Ozzie has done as much as anyone to make the White Sox relevant in a town that still loves the Cubs.

When the Marlins came calling last winter, Reinsdorf asked a steep price (reportedly Logan Morrison or Mike Stanton) to let Ozzie out of his contract, and then he extended that contract for another year, through 2012.

So why would this year be any different?

Here's why it might be: First off, the White Sox are maybe the most disappointing team in baseball this year. Reinsdorf spent more money than ever ($128 million), passing the Tigers for the biggest payroll in the division.

Second, the front office nearly blew the team up with major trades before the July 31 deadline, and without a big turnaround between now and the end of the season, maybe that blow-up comes this winter, instead. If they're trying to change everything, maybe it's time to change managers, too.

Finally, there's Florida. The Marlins put 80-year-old Jack McKeon in charge as an interim manager when Edwin Rodriguez quit. They'll be looking for a new manager, to take the team into the new ballpark next spring. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria loves Guillen.

It could well turn into a disaster. Guillen's White Sox players know him well, and there are enough veterans in the clubhouse to let any newcomers know that "that's just Ozzie." Who would do that in Miami?

What happens when Ozzie calls Marlins critics "idiots out there," or something worse?

I can't see it working. I'm still not convinced it's going to happen.

But more than ever before, it at least seems possible that Ozzie's eight-year run with the White Sox could be nearing the end.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 4, 2011 3:33 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 3:34 pm
 

Can the White Sox get a July 31 do-over?

Imagine if the trade deadline were this Sunday, instead of last Sunday.

Imagine if the White Sox were deciding this week, instead of last week, whether to blow up their team and turn into outright sellers.

You think the decision might have been different?

I sure do.

Remember where general manager Kenny Williams was headed, before the Sox won two of three games from the Tigers last week. According to sources, White Sox players believed that if they lost two of three or got swept by the Tigers, Williams would begin an all-out sale that could have included John Danks, Gavin Floyd and even Paul Konerko (who could have blocked a deal with his 10-5 rights).

Imagine how valuable Danks and Floyd would have been in a market short on impact starting pitchers. You'd better believe that the Yankees, among other teams, would have been asking.

Instead, the White Sox won two of three from the Tigers, and Williams held onto his players. He traded Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen, and explored deals for Carlos Quentin, but perhaps against his better instincts, he held onto the core of his team.

And look what has happened.

The White Sox have lost five straight. They've looked absolutely overmatched in the first three games of a four-game series with the Yankees.

And heading into play Thursday, they were 6 1/2 games out. The computers at Cool Standings gave them less than a 10 percent chance at winning the division.

Worse than that, your own eyes tell you they would have just as slim a chance of winning in the playoffs, if they could even get there. The five-game losing streak has come at home, against the Red Sox and Yankees.

That's exactly what some White Sox officials were thinking last week. The more White Sox people you talked to, the more you realized that they didn't like their team, and didn't see this group winning a World Series.

But they were just three games out of first place.

Now they're not, but now the non-waiver deadline has passed. It's very unlikely that Quentin, Danks or Floyd could get through waivers that would be needed for a trade between now and the end of the season.

So what happens now?

Maybe the White Sox make another run at the Tigers, helped by a schedule that gets easier for the rest of the month (the Sox play the Orioles and Royals next week). Maybe Williams looks to deal some players who could get through waivers.

And maybe now he blows up the team this winter.

Imagine if he could do it this week.

Posted on: July 31, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 5:26 pm
 

3 to Watch: The rich don't get richer edition

The Yankees always get what they want, right?

The Yankees and Red Sox get everything. The rich get richer.

Except when they don't.

In a week where the Nationals briefly acted as buyers (sending minor leaguers to the Reds for bench player Jonny Gomes), and where the Indians and the Pirates were both buyers, the Yankees were . . . silent?

And the Red Sox were . . . not silent, but they didn't really get what they wanted.

That's not to say that the Yankees are in trouble, or that the Red Sox are. That's not to say that the Yankees have suddenly become cheap, or that the Red Sox have, either.

Just don't say they always get what they want, or even what they need.

The Red Sox came closer, with their deadline-beating three-team deal for Erik Bedard. Bedard was awful in his Friday night showcase, but he was very good earlier in the season.

But with Monday's news about Clay Buchholz -- CSN New England reported that he has a stress fracture in his back, and could be out for the year -- the Sox were more determined to add a starter than the Yankees were. In fact, CSNNE's Sean McAdam wrote, the Sox actually wanted to add two starters, and settled for one possibly healthy one (Bedard).

The Yankees were much more content to stick with what they have. But should they have been.

The Red Sox are at least solid atop their rotation, with Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. The Yankees can rely on CC Sabathia.

And . . .

That's it, really. The Yankees can rely on CC Sabathia.

They don't have a true No. 2. They have Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon as amazing surprises. They have A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes as amazing enigmas. They have Ivan Nova and perhaps Manuel Banuelos as talented but really untested kids.

But who starts Game 2?

Now you understand why Cliff Lee's decision to sign with the Phillies last December was so potentially devastating to the Yankees.

They were left taking a chance that a top starter would be available on the July market. They were left trying to decide if Ubaldo Jimenez or Hiroki Kuroda (who, in the end, refused to consider any trade) would fit.

"If those are the two guys, I would live with what I have," one rival scout said in the middle of last week. "And then hope that A.J. pitches better, which he probably won't."

Did the Yankees go wrong at the deadline? Only if they don't win.

Check back at the end of September, or sometime in October.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. Sabathia pitched like a true ace in July (with a 0.92 ERA in five starts). Now that they passed up on trading for help, they sure as heck need him to pitch like an ace the rest of the way, starting in Yankees at White Sox, Monday night (8:10 ET) at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox have every bit as big a need for Jake Peavy to pitch well, and more than that for him to stay healthy. The White Sox traded away Edwin Jackson, which gave them bullpen help (in Jason Frasor) and some payroll relief, but it left them with little rotation protection, in case the fragile Peavy gets hurt again.

2. The Tigers' acquisition of Doug Fister understandably got far less attention than the Indians' trade for Jimenez. But Fister serves almost as important a role for the Tigers as Jimenez does for the Indians. The Tigers are 4-16 when they've used a fifth starter, which means that even if Fister is decent, starting in Rangers at Tigers, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Comerica Park, he'll be a huge improvement. The Rangers explored adding a starter, too, but settled for making significant bullpen upgrades with Mike Adams and Koji Uehara.

3. The Indians announced Monday that Jimenez won't make his Cleveland debut until Friday in Texas. But Bedard will make his Boston debut a night earlier, in Indians at Red Sox, Thursday night (7:10 ET) at Fenway Park. That series, between one of the American League's true powers and a team that wants to be thought of the same way, sure became a lot more interesting with what the Indians did Saturday night. By Thursday, the Red Sox should know for sure about Buchholz, and maybe Thursday's game will give them some idea whether Bedard will really help.




Posted on: July 28, 2011 6:39 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 7:01 pm
 

Braves, Phils like Carlos Quentin

With the Tigers' loss to the Angels Thursday, the White Sox head into the weekend just three games out of first place in the American League Central.

Could they really trade Carlos Quentin, who is second on the team in both home runs and RBI?

Perhaps so, if the return is high enough. And with the Braves and Phillies both seriously interested, according to sources, the return may well be high enough.

The Braves are desperate to add an outfield bat, and the word Thursday was that they were making a big push for Quentin. The Phillies' wish list, according to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philadelphia, is topped by Hunter Pence, Quentin and Mike Adams. Many people still doubt that Pence will be traded, and people are starting to doubt that the Padres will move Adams, as well.

But what's in it for the White Sox?

That's more complicated. The Sox could call up Dayan Viciedo to replace Quentin. Viciedo has been dealing with what's described as a minor thumb issue, but he's hitting .307 with 16 home runs and 65 RBI in Triple-A. That's nice, but if the Sox believed Viciedo was their best option, he'd be in the big leagues already.

And that's why the return in a potential Quentin deal is so important. If the Braves were willing to include a few of their top pitching prospects -- the same guys they refused to trade for Carlos Beltran -- the White Sox could become convinced that a deal would give them a much better chance to compete next year, while not totally giving up on this season.

If the Phillies were willing to deal Domonic Brown and one or two of their top pitching prospects, the Sox could do the same thing.

Quentin can't be a free agent until after the 2012 season, so it's not out of the question that the Braves or Phillies would pay a higher price for him than they would have agreed to give up for Beltran, a true rental player.

The White Sox could decide that while they may have enough to win a weak AL Central this year, but not enough to compete in October.

"They just don't like their team," said one baseball man who speaks regularly with White Sox officials.

The Braves and Phillies aren't the only teams that like Quentin. The Reds and Red Sox have both shown interest in the past, although it's not clear whether they are working to get him this week.

Quentin is making $5.5 million this year and would be due a raise next year (when he'll again be arbitration-eligible), so by trading him the White Sox would also free up payroll that could allow them to make other moves.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 1:44 pm
 

White Sox: All-in or white flag?

As of this very moment, the White Sox are going for it.

By the end of the week, who knows?

The Wednesday trade that sent Edwin Jackson to Toronto (and then on to St. Louis) fit the White Sox either way, as buyers or sellers. They unloaded Jackson, a free-agent-to-be who wasn't going to be re-signed, but added Jason Frasor, providing needed help for the overworked Jesse Crain on the right side of their bullpen, and got a top pitching prospect in Zach Stewart, as well.

The bigger question is what happens next, and the answer, according to multiple sources familiar with the White Sox plans, is that we'll have to wait and see.

One scenario: The Sox decide that they're too far behind the Tigers (4 1/2 games entering play Wednesday), or that this team is not going to win in October, anyway. In that case, the Sox try to turn over their roster, making players such as John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Carlos Quentin available in advance of Sunday's non-waiver deadline.

The other scenario: The Sox decide that this division is too winnable for them to give up now, and that this is still basically the same team that they thought could win when the season began. In that case, the Sox keep their team together, and go for it.

Jackson was expendable, because the development of Phil Humber gave the White Sox a six-man rotation. Mark Teahen, the other player traded to Toronto, was even more expendable.

This wasn't a white flag trade. The others would be, and the question the White Sox must ask in the next few days is whether it's time to raise it.

There's no doubt that the White Sox are frustrated with what has been the most disappointing team in the game in the first half of the season. There's no doubt that they're starting to question whether this group has what it takes to win.

There's also no doubt that they realize they're in a weak division, and that their starting pitching could still make them an October threat.

The White Sox are playing the first-place Tigers again on Wednesday afternoon. They play the Red Sox at home this weekend while the Tigers host the Angels (remember, the White Sox swept the Red Sox at Fenway at the end of May).

By Sunday, the White Sox could be a virtual tie with the Tigers for first place. Or they could be as many as nine games out.

That's why by Sunday, Danks, Floyd and Quentin could join Jackson on the way out the door. Or they could be going for it in Chicago.


Posted on: July 24, 2011 9:01 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 11:16 pm
 

3 to Watch: The White Sox (or white flag) edition

The White Sox are having the most disappointing season in baseball. The White Sox could still win the American League Central.

The White Sox could be 1 1/2 games out of first place by Wednesday. Or the White Sox could be sellers by Wednesday.

It's a time of year where things change quickly, with teams assessing their needs and chances daily.

Even by that standard, the White Sox are a team to watch this week.

They begin the week two games under .500, and 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Tigers. The Tigers are in Chicago for three games starting Monday night.

By the time the series ends Wednesday, the White Sox could be a true contender. Or they could be so far out of it that they go into full sell mode, looking to deal a pitcher like Edwin Jackson and perhaps outfielder Carlos Quentin.

Or maybe they're still left guessing whether they're in it or not. Maybe all they can do is to contemplate possible deals like the one the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Sunday, where they would trade a major leaguer for another major leaguer (in this case, a pitcher like Jackson for Cardinals center fielder Colby Rasmus).

There are other teams to watch this week, notably the Rays, who have fallen 6 1/2 games out in the wild-card race after losing two of three in Kansas City. But the Rays were already telling teams that they don't plan to move pitcher James Shields.

But no team has been as disappointing this year as the White Sox, and no team will be as interesting to follow over the next few days.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. Partly because of the trade deadline, and partly because Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee won't start in the series, the Giants' visit to Philadelphia doesn't feel as big as it probably should. It's still worth watching, and it's worth noting that the Phillies allowed fewer runs over the first 100 games of the season (332) than any team since the 1989 Dodgers. Vance Worley is one of the surprising reasons for that, and Worley faces Tim Lincecum in Giants at Phillies, Tuesday night (7:05 ET) at Citizens Bank Park.

2. The White Sox began the second half by beating Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer on back-to-back days in Detroit, then missed a chance to sweep the series when they lost to Brad Penny. They get Verlander and Scherzer again in this series, with Verlander facing Mark Buehrle in Tigers at White Sox, Tuesday night (8:10 ET) at U.S. Cellular Field. Also worth watching: Jake Peavy's velocity when he faces the Tigers on Wednesday. In Peavy's last start, in Kansas City, his average fastball was below 90 mph.

3. The Mariners are also a team to watch this week, and not just because they've lost a club-record 15 straight. On a market short of starting pitcher, the M's have made Jason Vargas and Doug Fister available, and those two start Monday and Tuesday against the Yankees. They have not made Felix Hernandez available, and they're hoping that Felix won't be trying to break a 17-game losing streak when he faces Phil Hughes in Mariners at Yankees, Wednesday afternoon (1:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will be hoping that Hughes looks a lot better than he did in his last start, last Friday against the A's. The M's have won each of Hernandez's last five starts against the Yankees.



 
 
 
 
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