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, December 02, 2004

White Sox Trades I'd Make

The easy thing to do today would to be to talk about Jason Giambi, his steroid admissions, and to start speculating on Barry Bonds and how he must be as juiced up as anyone on Earth. That’s pointless though, because it doesn’t matter – even if Bonds, Giambi, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and every other major league slugger over the past ten years were on steroids, nothing is going to change. The terms of the collective bargaining agreement didn’t make steroids (or their cousins – like McGwire’s androstendione) illegal until the 2004 season. Sure, they were illegal in the United States, but they weren’t illegal in baseball and couldn’t be tested for. Plus, an admission by Giambi (or anyone else) is not going to cause anyone to change the history books.

There’s a chance that Bud Selig could break out asterisks, but I highly doubt it. Bud has done some inexplicable things before (creating the wild card, ending an All-Star game in a tie, allowing a World Series to be cancelled – just to name a few), but to take awards away from players (Giambi’s MVP or Bonds’s case full of them, for example) or to rework the record book, would be completely subjective and unsupported by facts. Giambi may have admitted to using steroids, but at the time they weren’t illegal, they weren’t tested for, and none of us knows definitively what impact – if any – that had on his ability to play the game.

Since I think it’s pointless continuing the discussion at this point, I’ll continue on to what I wanted to talk about today, which is potential trades the White Sox could make...

Randy Johnson
Rumors abound regarding the imminent or not so imminent departure of Diamondbacks’ ace Randy Johnson to the Yankees. The most recent report is that Johnson isn’t going anywhere, as ESPN is reporting that the Yankees have told the Devil Rays as much. This may mean that acquiring Johnson is actually a possibility for some teams. I hope the White Sox get in the mix here, if only to make it look like they’re making an effort. As I talked about yesterday, Joe Borchard needs to be moved. Sending him to Arizona is probably a good opportunity. Borchard would likely be coveted by the Dbacks because of his nearly limitless power potential, his young age, and his all-around athletic ability. The Sox could also thrown in (and I’d hate to see him go) Paul Konerko in this trade. Konerko is an Arizona native, who went to high school just a few miles from Bank One Ballpark (although the stadium and the team didn’t exist at the time). I’m sure Paul would be a fan favorite for many years in the desert.

Sammy Sosa
The Chicago Tribune also reported in Wednesday’s paper that a Cubs – Sox trade could benefit both clubs. This trade would, of course, involve Sammy Sosa going back to the Sox. The only benefit I can see to this for “both sides” is that it would garner publicity for the White Sox, as the Tribune and other papers could regularly work references to the Sox continued demise into their columns about the Cubs success. Something to the effect of “and player so-and-so, who the Cubs obtained in their blockbuster deal with the White Sox, which sent aging, declining, and expensive Sammy Sosa to the Cubs, is having a breakout year. He will surely receive MVP consideration if the Cubs reach the post-season…” The mere thought of trading with the Cubs to reacquire Sammy Sosa makes me feel ill.

A's Ace
Another trade opportunity that might exist, which doesn’t make me feel ill (other than that Kenny Williams probably isn’t working the phones hard on this one, what with Billy Beane knocking him in Moneyball), is a potential trade with the Athletics. Allegedly the A’s are open to moving either Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, or Tim Hudson for a bat.

Already the A’s have arguably made the steal of the offseason, in acquiring former Pirates catcher Jason Kendall for pitchers Mark Redman and Arthur Rhodes. When you consider that Redman was acquired from the Marlins last offseason for more often minor leaguer than major leaguer Mike Neu (a UM alum), this is even more of a steal. The A’s picked up an All-Star caliber catcher for a minor leaguer and an incendiary reliever.

Or you could look at it from another perspective. Prior to the trade, the A’s were looking at entering 2005 with Mark Redman, a relatively expensive starter, who they didn’t need and doesn’t really fit into their rotation, and Arthur Rhodes in their bullpen. Rhodes, one of last year’s marquee offseason pickups, was also not someone who fit into the A’s staff – well, at least not as a quality innings type of guy. He too was pretty expensive. For the A’s catching situation, they could have picked up free agent catcher Damian Miller. I’m sure that doesn’t excite you very much, but he signed a contract this week with the Brewers for three years and nearly nine million dollars. That’s a lot of money for not a lot of production. But, for essentially the same money as the expendable parts Beane had in Redman and Rhodes and what it would cost to pick up a catcher like Miller, the Athletics picked up an All-Star in Jason Kendall. A very shrewd move.

But back to the topic at hand, the A’s are looking to move one of their big three. Zito is likely the easiest to get, and of course everyone would rather have Hudson or Mulder. For the White Sox, I’d be happy with any of the three. Carlos Lee and a prospect or two (this could be another spot to include Joe Borchard, although his hacking approach doesn’t necessarily fit in with the A’s philosophy) could cinch the deal.

Andruw Jones
Rumors are also floating that Kenny Williams is fascinated with Braves CF Andruw Jones. Who isn’t? Jones is still looking up at 30, he plays all-time great defense, hits for power and has decent wheels. But of course that makes him an expensive commodity. As such, Atlanta is willing to move him. I’m not sure what the Sox have to offer, but he might be worth picking up, especially since the Sox have a hole in their outfield with Magglio Ordonez having vacated right field. The Sox could acquire Jones and use Rowand or Carl Everett in right. By the time opening day rolls around I’m assuming that either Paul Konerko, Carlos Lee, or Carl Everett won’t be with the Sox anymore, so there will be room for Jones and the recently emerged Rowand in the lineup.

We’ll see what happens. Next week I should have some comments on the Marlins and what to look for – or at least what I’d like to see. Have a great weekend and Go Canes!


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