|Time for Change in Chicago|
Written by Parth Desai (Contact & Archive) on July 06, 2007
Because of a weak offense, 2007 has been anything but good for fans in the south side of Chicago. The White Sox have combined to hit .237, which is the worst in the major leagues. Their 35-43 record through Sunday is the worst it has been in eight years.
After winning a World Championship in 2005, general manager Kenny Williams has made very few blockbuster moves, acquiring designated hitter Jim Thome and pitcher Javier Vazquez, but dealing away pitcher Freddy Garcia.
The starting rotation has been solid. Jon Garland, Mark Buehrle, and Javier Vazquez all have ERAs under four. Closer Bobby Jenks has a 2.76 ERA and is 22 for 24 in save opportunities.
The team’s record is still nine games under .500. To be competitive in the AL Central, the team is going to need acquire some offense and quickly. They are 12.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians with only 84 games left to play.
Last season, the offense produced well. As the team’s DH, Thome hit .288 with 42 home runs. Third baseman Joe Crede, first baseman Paul Konerko, and right fielder Jermaine Dye combined to hit 96 home runs and drive in 193 runs.
This year, Thome leads the team with a paltry .270 batting average, while Crede, Konerko, and Dye have only combined to hit 30 home runs, and Joe Crede had his season cut short, when he had to have back surgery in June.
So, what do the White Sox do now? An all-out fire sale is one possibility. Teams have inquired about starting pitcher Jose Contreras, Buerhle, and Dye. Both Buerhle and Dye are in the final seasons of their current contracts and talks concerning extensions have not gone well.
Players like Mark Teixeira and Todd Helton are on the market, but the White Sox already have those positions covered in Konerko and Thome. Also, Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn are both being shopped by Cincinnati, and they could be of interest to Williams.
With Luis Terrero currently starting at center field for the Sox, Griffey could be a man that Chicago is interested in. Although he is getting up there in age, there’s no doubt that he’s still able to produce, and he’ll surely help the White Sox in the next few seasons.
If the White Sox were to pursue Dunn, they could move outfielder Scott Podsednik to center and put Dunn in left. Although Dunn isn’t the best when it comes to hitting for average, he’s a solid power hitter that can provide the White Sox with a lot of pop.
The team could also continue its rebuilding plan. Williams acquired Gio Gonzalez from the Philadelphia Phillies and John Danks from the Texas Rangers in an effort to bolster his minor league system. The team currently has starting pitcher Lance Broadway, as well as outfielders Brian Anderson and Ryan Sweeney and third baseman Josh Fields.
If Williams maintains the current course, the White Sox will not have much of a future. They need to choose between retooling for their next contending season by dealing off Buerhle and Dye or trying to compete in the near future. Either way, Williams has to make a few changes, or they’ll be looking up to Minnesota, Detroit, Cleveland, and maybe even Kansas City for a long time.