How can the White Sox fix this atrocious offense? While contemplating my next submission to SoxNet.net, I thought a great deal about that topic. First, I had to focus on two problems which reared their ugly heads in the spring and still continue to plague this offense. The problems are a lack of consistent hitting at the top of the order, and no production from center field. It is obvious the only way this can be resolved is to trade outside the organization. The Sox haven’t developed any top of the order guys that are ready to take on the task, and Joe Borchard is simply not ready to become an every day major leaguer.
Trade possibilities are always something fans love to talk about. Perhaps it’s due to the feeling of power that comes with these conversations (rather like being a general manager), so I enjoyed coming up with possibilities on how to fix the Sox problem. All of the possible trades resorted back to trading one player in particular - Bartolo Colon. What team in contention would not want this guy? After thinking for a while, I devised the following plan on how the Sox could try to save their season.
An obvious candidate for Bartolo Colon is the New York Yankees. With a bottomless wallet and a never ending search for the perfect team, the Yankees would use Colon to replace struggling Jeff Weaver. With age also a factor for the Yankees, Colon would supply them with an ace if Roger Clemens or David Wells were to be placed on the DL.
Since the Yankees also could use reassurance in the bullpen, the Sox would ship Gary Glover out in the same deal. In return for Glover and Colon, the Yankees would give the Sox Juan Rivera, Erick Almonte, and Jose Garcia.
Rivera, a solid hitting outfielder, was hitting .327 in AAA Columbus before being called up while Bernie Williams nurses a knee injury. Rivera is the Yankees’ top prospect but with Hideki Matsui, possibly Raul Mondesi, and possibly Vladimir Guerrero lined up for next season, Rivera is expendable. Almonte, a shortstop, also has a good bat. He replaced Derek Jeter earlier in the season and hit .270 over the stretch. Garcia would be the final piece of the trade, as he has compiled a 1.98 ERA over 6 starts in high-A ball.
The White Sox could ship Carlos Lee and Edwin Almonte to Baltimore for Sidney Ponson and Melvin Mora. Lee has consistently disappointed at the plate, and has had problems defensively in left field. With Juan Rivera taking his spot, Lee could be sent to Baltimore, a team desperately looking for power in the corners. Edwin Almonte is a closer in the Sox organization, but is already 26 and would be valued more by Baltimore. Ponson would replace Colon in the rotation, and Mora, who hit over 20 home runs in 2002 and is batting .321 this season, would be the new Sox center fielder. Luis Matos would be the Baltimore center fielder if Mora left.
This combination of trades would strengthen the Sox lineup, with either Almonte or Mora being inserted at the top, and Valentin being placed on the bench. It also gives the Sox another young talented pitcher in 26-year-old Ponson.
If the Sox do not win with these additions, they would at least have a long-term shortstop, a solid middle of the rotation pitcher, and (if Mora continues to play well) a solid centerfielder.
Although it is somewhere between unlikely and impossible that these trades would ever see the light of day, they illustrate how trading Colon could change the entire White Sox dynamic. It’s Kenny Williams’ turn to be creative.