Sox May Be Crossing a Fine Line
(AP Photo/Steve Matteo)
(AP Photo/Steve Matteo)

Posted Jul 7, 2003


The White Sox made two huge statement moves this week in obtaining Roberto Alomar and Carl Everett in trades with the Mets and Rangers. I call them statements in that they did more damage to the psyche of the Twins and Royals than in terms of how much these two players will produce on the field.

Not to say these players will make the Sox worse -- they are definately a better team for it -- but the thing is both players have a recent history of struggles, one is a huge question mark and easy downgrade defensively, and most importantly, the White Sox are still left leaving their biggest question unanswered - what about the pen?

Going into July 1, the White Sox were playing their best baseball of the season, beating their two biggest rivals in the Twins and Cubs in five of eight games. Despite this, you could not help but notice the three holes: second base, center field and relief help.

Personally, and I think I stand alone -- or with a small crowd at the very least -- when I say that D'Angelo Jimenez was eaten alive and took far too much of the blame for the team's struggles. People loved to blame the team's struggles on the questionable defense and inexperienced baserunning of a 25-year-old, who with time can be a solid major league player. Either way, Jimenez was on the bench and Willie Harris -- the all defensive speedster with little to back it up with a stick -- was starting. Aaron Rowand, who is not as fast but a better hitter, was in center.

It all worked for the time being, but it was clear it wasn't a leadoff tandem you can feel confident in during a stretch-run for the playoffs.

So Alomar and Everett were brought in - great. But with recent rumors flying around, started by the "it will blow your mind" or something of the sort comment made by Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, it is all starting to point to the Sox acquiring ... another bat.

"The Bat" mentioned has gone from free-agency-bound Oakland slugger Miguel Tejada, to the long-term contract of the Reds' Ken Griffey Jr.

Apparently, the White Sox believe the acquistion of Tejada will bring this team to the next level by way of offense as current shortstop Jose Valentin will be moved to either third base or designated hitter as a result of it.

Adding Griffey would also do the trick, just in a different manner as current centerfielder Carl Everett will be moved to the DH spot.

This last trade, according to rumors, will put the Sox into the playoffs and make them serious contenders for the World Series.

All I can say is, um, no.

Let us all hope these are the words of rumors and not of the White Sox, because if the Sox were to take what is now, or will be, their strength (offense) and add to it while completely disregarding the need for a reliever (you know, someone who can hold a ninth-inning 3-1 lead against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays), they are in for a huge dissapointment.

Just like there are only so many starters you can have in the rotation, there is only so much offense you can have.

Fact is, come playoff time it is no longer about who can out-hit who, but who can out-last who, which in this era is being found out more and more through deep bullpens, something the Sox don't have.

Right now, the White Sox are looking at a championship caliber team on offense. With Thomas, Ordonez, Everett, Lee, Valentin, Alomar, Daubach, Crede and Olivo, to go with a bench of Sandy Alomar, Tony Graffanino, Willie Harris, Aaron Rowand and Paul Konerko, the Sox would be ignorant to trade, release or demote any of them.

On the other hand, the pitching staff is in tact with the exception of Gary Glover and Dave Sanders, who combined have pitched in just eleven games since June 1. Add to that the numbers of Rick White and Billy Koch, who both have an ERA over 5.25.

In short, the White Sox have a two-man bullpen, a four-man rotation and a 14-man deep offense. Which do you think needs fixing?

The White Sox may soon cross a fine line, which is at the fault of their thoughts -- pleasing the fans and going for the big names -- going one way, while their words -- going for a World Series -- go another.

The White Sox need to realize soon that championships aren't won on statements alone, and trades aren't big based on name-recognition alone.

So, please, White Sox, don't just go for a headline trade that will only impact thoughts. But go for the trade that will have an impact on reality and this team's quest for it all.



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