So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, good night. Rest in Peace 2010 Chicago White Sox. You provided me with a lot of fun, a lot of frustration and a lot of what if for a season that was better than 2009, but somehow felt far worse in 2010. Perhaps the feeling that 2010 was worse than 2009 was because of the acute awareness that we were going on 5 years of the last time you got to the promise land. Maybe it was because I was listening to sports talk radio more and the various hosts and pundits were speaking with such urgency and hunger for a championship, that I was starting to crave it more. Or, perhaps it was the bravado of the general manager who put this together with the pitching that made it all seem like it should happen. In any event, a toast to the season past and looking forward to another long grind in hopes of a championship in 2011.
It is fitting that I write this today on the 5th anniversary of the Chicago White Sox winning the World Series in 2005. I know in the coming weeks, there will be lots of changes coming to the team. I’m pretty sure Mark Kotsay (who felt he was underappreciated) and Andruw Jones (who did his thing for a couple of months then went back to bad) will not be back with the team. I don’t think Omar Vizquel will be back, but he still is in great shape and may want to play and mentor young players. Questions remain with whether Paul Konerko will be back and I don’t think he will be. There is also a question at catcher. My guess is the White Sox will low ball A.J. Pierzynski and it will be up to the market to see if a team wants A.J. for more years and money than the White Sox will offer. Of course, there are issues at 3rd base. After the 2010 season, I don’t see Mark Teahen getting that job unless he goes to Camp Cora (assuming Joey doesn’t get a managerial job) and becomes a better 3rd baseman than Brooks Robinson or Mike Schmidt defensively.
The middle infield looks good. I expect that for 2011, Alexi Ramirez will continue to develop into an elite shortstop and I have no doubt that Gordon “Bacon” Beckham will also continue his development as a 2nd baseman. The outfield for 2011 also appears up in the air to me as it seems to me that only Center Field is set. Alex Rios was quite the pleasant surprise for 2010 given how he was a disappointment when he came to the Sox in 2009 after a waiver wire deal. Carlos Quentin still frustrates to no end. After watching what he can do and then seeing how he gets in his own way when it comes to hitting, he is clearly his own worst enemy. From what I see, he looks like a guy who over thinks everything and could benefit from some days of just going out, playing the game as just that – A GAME and having fun. I know that is easier said than done, but if he could do that, he might actually be the player that everyone thinks is there. The other annoying thing with him is that in 2010, he was playing Right Field as though he had never fielded there in his life. Some of the routes he takes to catch fly balls made zero sense and he at times would make the worst left fielder look like an all-star if that guy played in right. Given how much of an enigma Quentin is, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him traded this off season.
Juan Pierre was much better than I thought. Although, at the beginning of the season, I was not one of those fans who was pining to bring back Scott Podsednik as I think he is beyond baseball stupid and while Pierre and Podsednik are basically the same type of player and would put up similar numbers, I’d much prefer to have a guy who had baseball intelligence to one who was just as dumb playing the game as you could find. Granted, Pierre didn’t make as much contact or get on base as much as sabermatricians would like, he was serviceable enough in the job that I was ok with things for the most part. Whether he will be back next season, not sure, but if KW can find a better lead-off option then I am all for that.
The pitching staff. Those were the guys who were touted at the start of the 2010 season as being the savior of the team and would-be leaders to the Promised Land. With a starting 4 of Buehrle, Peavey, Floyd and Danks, how could this team not go far? Not to mention having Freddy Garcia as a number 5 could be fine. And if he wasn’t, you had a few guys in the minors who would work as a serviceable 5th starter. Sadly, the pitching staff got off to a bad start. That, going along with lack of offense made of a recipe for a bad start to the season. It seemed if the hitting was there, the pitching wasn’t. If the pitching was, there were not enough runs scored to support it. Eventually, it all did come together, but then the bullpen faltered down the stretch and alas, the season came to an end for the White Sox.
I can only hope that the ensuing off-season will bring together a group of guys to fit with the existing starters (and all those guys come back healthy – I’m looking at you Jake Peavy) and few position players that will not only compete, but actually win in 2011. Some advice for KW: for the love of god, please get off the obsession with Adam Dunn. And while you are at it, stop obsessing with other players you’ve been looking at / after for quite some time and trying to make them members of the White Sox. Go get the best players out there, hell even dream and get in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes. And please stop going after washed-up has-beens who you think you can catch lightening in the bottle. News-flash – you won’t because there is really nothing to be caught (see how that Jones experiment worked? Good while it lasted and not there when it was needed most). Stop trying to bring the Kansas City Royals to the south side, unless you are talking about bringing Zack Greinke or Joakim Soria here. Lastly, please don’t disappoint me and other fans with bringing in bad players or giving out bad contracts that make it impossible to move those players later when you realize those players are bad.
And now back to my regularly scheduled watching of post season baseball, hockey and the occasional football game.