The White Sox are really bad now. They aren’t just crashing back down to earth. They’re streaking through the atmosphere, the heat shield isn’t holding up, and it looks like the ‘chutes aren’t going to work either. They’re going to make a giant-sized crater in the ground. But again, we’re not just going to say things and not provide evidence to support our claims. As usual, we’re going to use numbers.
The White Sox are in a 2-way tie for the fewest wins in Major League Baseball. They’re 29-42.
That about says it all. Teams with better winning percentages than the White Sox include the Pirates, Orioles, Nationals, and Devil Rays. Teams with lower winning percentages consist of the Rangers, Royals, and Reds. In 2005 they won the World Series. In 2007 they’re hanging out with the cellar-dwelling Royals. And GM Ken Williams is saying things like, "Something’s got to happen. I’m tired of watching this."
As a result, White Sox management has begun to make some rather peculiar choices regarding player personnel. Especially when it comes to Mark Buehrle. By all accounts, he’s a good guy, a clubhouse guy. Fan favorite. He did finish last year with an ERA circa 5. My opinion is that his arm is tired, as Buehrle has pitched more than 220 innings a year since 2001. He’s probably lost some life on his moving fastball. He’s a free agent after this year, but he was on record last year as saying he wanted to stay in Chicago. Sort of, we think. No one really knows what was being said. In any case, he is apparently trade bait. Why would you trade away a guy who you can really build something around? You know they’re not going to get anything in return. But they’re betting that they’ll get more prospects that, five years down the line, will be worth more than Buehrle to them. I think they’re underestimating Buehrle’s staying power in this league, and that he will remain a great pitcher for another 10 years. The trick is signing the guy, and that’s where they might be better off trading him away. Otherwise, they get nothing for him.
This string of loses was kind of predictable. Last year, Carl Everett accused GM Ken Williams of breaking up the team chemistry after he was traded away post-championship. Now, I’m certain that Carl didn’t factor into the teams’ chemistry as positively as he thinks. In fact, he thought the White Sox lacked leadership with him gone. Which is an interesting observation, as Carl Everett is currently a DH for the Free Agent squad, so he is now leading nobody. Everett also believes that we should implode Wrigley Field, and that even if we put every American child on ‘roids, we would still lose more kids in war then to steroids. I’m not sure whether to call that Malthusian wisdom or just idiocy.
But Everett does have a point. A lot of important guys were shipped off, and nothing was really gained in return. Aaron Rowand was shipped off for Thome, who, as predicted, has been like a walking test ground for physical therapist students. And the Sox get Luis Terrero patrolling Center. McCarthy is gone, as is Cotts, as is Garcia, as is Frank Thomas. And not one single decent player has been acquired in any of these deals outside Thome. So you took a championship team, and in order to improve it, you traded away two starters, a reliever, a stand up centerfielder, a loud-mouthed DH, and an aging and oft-injured slugger for an aging and oft-injured slugger*. Probably not the best example of "if its not broke, don’t fix it."
* – Jim Thome and Frank Thomas are also considered ‘similar batters’ according to baseball-reference.com, not just me.