Tha Sports Junkies 101

Clock On the White Sox Is Not Out

White Sox Clockwise from top left: rchdj10, Minda Haas Kuhlmann, Peter Millier, Brule Laker / Via


White Sox Clock is Not Out

With two of best pitchers in the market, a silver slugging third baseman and a top-tier (Gold Glove snub) right fielder ready to help any team fill that last little piece needed to reach the promised land, it makes sense for the 78-84 Chicago White Sox to trade those pieces to be ready for contention in three or four years, right?

While teams are scrambling to trade with the White Sox for that final piece, that fact that Sox have those pieces is lost behind all the Hot Stove rumors. Why do they have to trade a hitter that can hit 35-40 home runs for a guy who can do that in three to four years? Or a guy who arguably has the best slider in baseball for someone who will do the same in a few years?

The question for the White Sox was never the pieces they had or didn’t have, but how they were being used.

Let’s take a look at the pieces the Sox are rumored to give up, but really shouldn’t.

Chris Sale/Jose Quintana

Ace Chris Sale is the man. Yeah his numbers were down a bit this year, but he took a different approach this season. He went from 273 K’s in 2015 (a White Sox franchise record) to 233 this past year. His reason for dialing back the strikeouts is because he wanted to last longer, go deeper into games, for his team. That’s what he said, but he really meant ‘I don’t want David Robertson or literally anyone else in the bullpen to blow my masterpiece of a game pitched.’

With an extremely team friendly contract, it would make sense to trade him, but it also doesn’t. Here you have a guy who’s smack-dab in the middle of his prime with an extremely team friendly contract. Why trade him? Use him to win a freaking World Series.

Same goes with Jose Quintana. Over the course of his five-year career, he’s put up about the same numbers as Sale. Q, in the last three years, has never had his ERA suppress 3.35. He has never walked more than 55 batters and has had a WAR of 4.0 and 5.2 these last two years.

Obviously not exactly the same numbers, but they are too close to Sales for Q to not be recognized as one of the top lefties, nay, pitchers in baseball. And he too has an extremely team friendly contract.

Why trade away two aces with up-and-comers like first round pick of the 2014 draft, Carlos Rodon and first round pick of the 2015 draft, Carson Fulmer ready to make a splash?

Rodon had a tremendous rookie year, putting up a 3.75 ERA in 139 innings. For a rookie, that’s outstanding. Unfortunately, he was a victim of the sophomore slump. He put up a 4.04 ERA in 165 innings. But that ERA was much worse at the middle of the season. Rodon’s first half ended with a disappointing 4.50 ERA. But his second half had a 3.75 ERA, resulting in the, significantly less than the first half, 4.04.

Rodon’s strong finish to 2016 will propel him into the stardom he and everyone else is expecting in 2017.

As for the other first round pick, the 2014 College National Champ, his rookie season did not go as expected. But in his first appearance in the pinstripes (the Sox were wearing their alternate black, but you get the idea) Fulmer struck out future Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols on three pitches. Though he was sent back down to the minors a few weeks after that, he topped off a nice season in both AA and AAA, and is expected to make the rotation (maybe the bullpen but you never know…) out of spring next year.

The fifth spot is a bit shaky will always disappointing James Shields. He did have a nice little burst of hope for four or five games when he didn’t give up more than 4 runs an outing, but has been miserable before and after. He gave up three home runs to Manny Machado in one game this year. He also gave up freaking Bartolo Colon‘s dinger. In Shield’s defense, Colon is a man among boys, but still…

With the right sign, the Sox can demote Shields to bullpen and use Miguel Gonzalez to their advantage. With a 3.73 ERA in 139 innings, Gonzalez is the perfect fifth man. In any other rotation, he’s the third, or even the second pitcher.

What does that tell you about this rotation the Sox have? It tells you that giving up Sale and Quintana is completely insane, no matter what they would get from the deal.

Todd Frazier

Any argument made that has the foundation of trading Todd Frazier is a valid argument. He struck out 163 times in 666 plate appearances, which is a career low, and hit a .225 batting average, which is also a career low. But he also hit 40 home runs, which is a career high, and walked 64 times, another career high. The power numbers he puts up and the protection he provides for Jose Abreu is irreplaceable, except from like Miguel Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton or Mike Trout, but Frazier is the best the Sox can do right now.

Trading away 35-40 home runs a year for someone who probably could, but most likely won’t, do the same in a few years is dumb because, well, the pieces are in the South Side and are ready to be used.

Adam Eaton

Another name that surprisingly is brought up in the Hot Stove rumors is should-be Gold Glove Adam Eaton.

This season, Eaton led the league in outfield assists with 18, while the player who won, Mookie Betts, had 14. Eaton trailed Betts in defensive runs saved by one run. In some weird Baseball Prospectus stat, Eaton had a significantly stronger arm than anyone in the league. He also led the league is some more weird and technical stats.

I say his name is surprisingly being brought up because he’s the guy they, if they do, need to build around.

Not only is he one of, if not the best, right fielder in the league, he’s also a pretty damn good leadoff man.

In his three years as leadoff man for the Sox, he’s had a .362 on-base percentage in two seasons, .361 in the third. He hit .300 his first year, .287 his second and .284 his third. He gets on base. And he advances.

In the last three years: 15, 18 and 14 stolen bases.

Eaton has four of the five covenant tools: defense, arm, speed and contact. Not power because, well, he’s 5’8” and a leadoff man. But if you want to talk about his numbers as a leadoff man, 14 home runs these last two years is pretty impressive.



Sunday, June 28 2015. The Sox were in Detroit with a 4-0 lead going into the bottom of the 8th. Jeff Samardzija was on fire, which was rare in the first half of the year. With no outs and bases loaded for Ian Kinsler, Shark pegs him, driving in James McCann and the lead down to 4-1, empty bullpen.

Next to bat is Miguel Cabrera with no outs and bases loaded. Miggy strikes out swinging, bullpen empty with Shark still 60 feet six inches away from home.

Next up: Victor Martinez, A.K.A. the Sox Killer (Shark is at 97 pitches before this at bat). V-Mart drives a bases clearing double on the first pitch into center field, 4-4, bullpen begins warming up. Too little too late. Zach Putnam comes in to relieve Shark. Though he gets out of the inning, in the bottom of the 9th, McCann takes him deep to left center to end the game on a walk off. Your final: 5-4.

Yeah, that game was two years ago, but that’s not the point of that story. The point is Robin Ventura didn’t look to take Samardzija out of the game until after the lead is blown. He should have gone to the bullpen after Shark loaded the bases, but he didn’t. He had the pieces, but blew it. And yeah it was one game, but that was not the first or last time Ventura did something like that.

Now with Ventura’s “resignation” and newly named manager Rick Renteria, who has real managerial experience to take over the South Siders, those pieces should be used the right way.

With a couple of upgrades in the bullpen, signing a ligament center fielder moving Eaton to Right (where he belongs) and signing a left-handed power bat (Carlos Beltran), the Sox can compete with the big boys of the AL Central. It is not too late for the White Sox.

With the team Jerry Reinsdorf and Rick Hahn put together, it doesn’t make sense to tear down all that hard work over a few consecutive losing seasons. It wouldn’t make sense to dismantle a team that is so close to being right where they need to be.

“Don’t stop now boys” -Hawk Harrelson