The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Sox Turn Triple Play, Nothing Else Good To Say

Ugh. The White Sox lost 12 – 0 to the Anaheim Angels yesterday, a team that I suppose the Sox will be fighting it out with for the rest of the year for the American League Wild Card title (but that would only be if the Sox start winning again). Yesterday’s game was highlighted by very little for the Sox, well other than a 5 – 4 – 3 triple play. The Sox are now 2.5 games behind the Twins (farther behind now than they were ahead last week after sweeping the Twinkies) and have lost five in a row (including three painful defeats at the hand of the Cubs).

All of this makes last week’s trade that much more painful. Since I haven’t commented on it yet, to recap, in last week’s trade with the Mariners, the Sox shipped starting catcher Miguel Olivo, top prospect Jeremy Reed, and prospect Michael Morse and received pitcher Freddy Garcia, catcher Ben Davis, and an undisclosed amount of cash in return.

Sox General Manager Ken Williams said that the trade was done to try to push the Sox over the top in their push for the playoffs this season. While this may be true, and that point could be argued extensively, the trade most certainly mortgages the Sox ability to win in the future.

Miguel Olivo is a 25-year old catcher. If he was still in the minors, he would likely still be regarded as an uber-prospect, even at the relatively advanced baseball age of 25. But he’s not in the minors, he’s in the majors, and he’s playing more than capably (somewhere between well and at an All-Star level would be a fair way to put it). In exchange for Olivo, the Sox acquired Ben Davis. Like Olivo, Davis was highly regarded as a minor leaguer. However, Davis hasn’t gotten the job done in the majors. Davis is a lifetime .237 hitter, and is probably not Olivo’s equal defensively. So, at catcher, the Sox got two years older, more expensive, and less productive. Doesn’t sound great so far.

The big upside to this trade is that the White Sox acquired Freddy Garcia. To Sox fans, this seems great, because all of us remember Garcia and his Mariners shutting down and sweeping the White Sox in the 2000 playoffs. Sadly, that version of Freddy Garcia has not been seen since 2001. Garcia regressed in 2002 and 2003, but has been better so far in 2004 (for the most part). However, he’s not the youngest guy in the world (28) and he’s scheduled to be a free agent after the season. Well, he was going to be a free agent until the Sox decided to ink him to a 3-year, $27 million extension that will keep him with the Sox through the 2007 season earlier this week. I suppose this is also good news, because at least Garcia and Davis won’t just be summer rentals for the Sox.

There’s much more bad news though. In order to receive this downgrade at catcher and upgrade in the starting rotation, the Sox also had to part with outfielder Jeremy Reed. Reed has been off to a somewhat slow start to date this year, but he is still widely regarded as one of, if not the, best position prospects in baseball. Since Reed was drafted out of Long Beach State in 2002, Sox fans had hoped to see an outfield consisting of Carlos Lee, Jeremy Reed, and Magglio Ordonez. Now Sox fans will certainly never see Reed in the outfield in a Sox uniform, and with Garcia’s extension, it may be even less likely that Ordonez will be back with the Sox after this year (which, if that’s the case, hopefully the Sox will get something for him – other than a compensatory draft pick which they will most likely misuse).


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