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White Sox are the Same Sox... For Now

by Mike DePilla
Friday, December 11, 2009

Well I'll be a son of a gun.

I would have staked my reputation as an unreliable, on-again-off-again baseball analyst blogger that the White Sox would have made some kind of acquisition at the just-concluded Winter Meetings.

There was a flurry of discussion, other teams pulled off big deals and the Sox roster was ripe for the tinkering. And yet Sox GM Ken Williams made the several-hour drive from Indianapolis back to Chicago with the exact same team he had on Monday.

It seems the tweets greatly outnumbered the trades.

Or, in a way Ken Williams might suggest, the tweets outright killed the trades.

Yes, he did manage to sign Mark Teahen to a three-year contract to avoid arbitration, but weren't there bigger things on the Sox agenda? It's clear Williams worked on a number of different creative deals- some to free agents and some interesting trades. But, when it comes to wheeling and dealing, Williams craves outside attention about as much as Ozzie Guillen craves an afternoon of college football.

The buzz around the Winter Meetings has become so incessant that it is nauseating. I'm addicted to the rumor mill as much as the next guy, but for Pete's sake let's give the GMs a little room to breathe! The constant tweeting and updating by writers, reporters, bloggers, whatever you want to call the hangers-on, does not facilitate transactions, especially for the always-mysterious Sox GM.

Besides, don't these self-hype sensationalists of the media and pseudo-media rumor mongering outlets know that once a potential Ken Williams deal becomes public, it disappears into thin air? His only transactions are the ones the nobody sees coming.

I still believe Williams has an aggressive mindset and elaborate gameplan to shake up this Sox roster before spring begins in Glendale in two months. In other words, re-signing Scott Podsednik to play LF/lead off and Jim Thome to DH is the low-hanging fruit for which Trader Kenny is not willing to settle.

Back in the privacy of home, maybe he can fall back "below the radar", to use his terms, to get some tasks accomplished. There are three clear areas of need Williams is sure to address in the next few weeks to prevent the trail of tears that would result from such atrocities as Omar Vizquez as a DH.

  • Outfield/Lead off
It's completely arbitrary that the new outfield acquisition, whoever it ends up being, has to be a leadoff hitter. But that is the impression that I get.

Potential names: Podsednik, Coco Crisp, Juan Pierre (trade), Brett Gardner (trade), Marlon Byrd, Melky Cabrera (trade), Reggie Willits (trade).

  • DH/Power Bat
Again, completely arbitrary that the DH has to be some lumbering slugger, but despite Ozzie Guillen's inane chatter about his DH needing to play defense, it should ultimately come down to who is the best hitter. Not who is the most-decent hitter than can play slightly below-average defense in left field.

Potential names: Thome, Hideki Matsui, Vladimir Guerrero, Nick Johnson, Carlos Delgado.

  • Bullpen Help
Bullpens are incredibly volatile from year to year, and, as we've seen with the ridiculous Scott Linebrink contract, they aren't best built on random free agent signings. I wouldn't have minded if the Sox, even after declining arbitration, decided to re-sign Octavio Dotel. But for some reason they'd rather sign a "new" free agent.

Potential names: JJ Putz, Ron Mahay, Justin Duchscherer, Santiago Casilla, tons of non-tenders

Speaking of non-tenders, the Braves released outfielder Ryan Church. Williams might not make another move until he sees just who else of value is let loose come the beginning of next week.

I was sure the Sox would make a move this week and it didn't happen. But the agenda hasn't changed: one big splash, one DH and one reliever.

Kenny's cooking up something.

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