Yes! Yes! Yes!
This is the best off-season as a Chicago White Sox fan I can ever remember. The Sox have made yet another BIG move as they have signed free-agent switch-hitter Melky Cabrera!!! The deal is a reported 3-year deal worth about 45 Million. The source was listed as the Chicago Tribune’s Bruce Levine. It is also confirmed on MLBtraderumors.com and MLB.com now.
(Jeffrey Phelps/Getty Images)
Rick Hahn said at the end of the Winter Meetings that the team was far from done. He wasn’t lying. This move also will clear the way for a trade of Dayan Viciedo, possibly to Seattle, who have been eyeing him if they could not get Cabrera. So another bullpen arm for the Sox should arrive soon!
The fact that the Sox were able to get the 30-year old Cabrera to sign a 3-year deal is awesome. He was reportedly asking for something in the range of 5-years/65-million. So the Sox got him on the short term as they are clearly going for it all this season. They feel that the Tigers are vulnerable and the Royals have lost some players. So NOW IS THE TIME TO STRIKE.
Cabrera hit .301 with a .351 on-base percentage and a .458 slugging percentage for Toronto in 2014, to go along with 16 homers and 73 RBIs, so he is an obvious upgrade from Dayan Viciedo and will fit nicely into the two spot in the order. While Cabrera is weak defensively, the offensive upgrade is big.
His PED use seems to be behind him just like Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta, so as long as he doesn’t do anything stupid, this is a nice deal. So as of right now, here is the projected lineup:
CF Eaton, LF Cabrera, 1B/DH Abreau, 1B/DH LaRoche, RF Garcia, SS Ramirez, 3B Gillaspie, C Flowers, 2B Johnson/Sanchez. That is nice…
Oh my God! This is the most excited I have been during the winter meetings: EVER.
As a White Sox fan, I am still geeking over what my favorite baseball team did over the past few days. I can’t wait for April. Seriously. I don’t even know where to start on what Rick Hahn and the White Sox have done. So let’s just go in order…
(Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
On December 8th, the White Sox added catcher Rob Brantly off waivers from the Miami Marlins. Brantly, just 25, will have a chance to compete for a backup job with the club behind probable starter, Tyler Flowers. Brantly did well in his rookie year in 2013, but struggled hitting just .211 last season. Hopefully though, Todd Steverson can turn him around like he did Tyler Flowers and his magic glasses.
The same day, the rumors started to swirl around the Sox acquiring starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija from the Oakland A’s and free agent closer David Robertson, the former closer from the New York Yankees.
Late that night, at about 10:39pm ET the Chicago White Sox had acquired their closer David Robertson!!! It was reported to be a 4-year deal but terms of the deal were not yet disclosed. Then about 20 minutes later the deal was reported to be a 4-year 46-million dollar deal that immediately improves the White Sox bullpen. Putting a top of the line closer at the back end, allows the Sox to move all the young kids up in the bullpen to a more natural fit. The deal was made official on Wednesday.
(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Then while I was sleeping with joy about the acquisition of Robertson, the Sox acquired right-handed starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija from Oakland!!! Samardzija, the former Notre Dame star, was acquired along with minor league pitcher (RHP) Michael Ynoa for SS/IF Marcus Semien, RHP Chris Bassitt, C Josh Phegley, and 1B Rangel Ravelo. The Sox traded from depth and made their rotation much better. Samardzija will slot in between left-handed starters Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. The 1-2-3 punch of these guys is going to be awesome!!!
(Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
On Thursday the Sox made yet another move trading Andre Rienzo for left-handed reliever Dan Jennings from the Miami Marlins. Hahn is clearly focusing on the major weakness of the this team which was the bullpen as he now has two left-handed arms in Jennings and Duke and also closer Robertson at the back end. That on paper looks exponentially better than last season. Rienzo had his shot in the rotation and did not get it done. To acquire Jennings who had a 1.34 ERA last season and a 2.34 ERA over his brief career is impressive,
(Andy King/Getty Images)
Just think about this. The rotation improved with a much needed right-handed starter and now have one of the best 1-2-3 rotations in baseball. The bullpen now has a legit closer and two solid left-handed pitchers on the staff. They have a solid left-handed bat in LaRoche that is not Adam Dunn. They also have added some bench pieces in Rob Brantly (C), Tony Campana (OF) and J,B. Shuck (OF). Campana was signed to a minor league deal on November 28th.
Rumor has it that the Sox are also looking to deal Dayan Viciedo to the Seattle Mariners for a reliever.
I love it. Is it April yet?
It has been awhile since I have been on this blog. So long in fact that the World Series is over, as is the Arizona Fall League and the Japan Series. Baseball games may be in hibernation at this point, but that does not mean that baseball itself is on a break as the Winter Meetings are set to kick off soon and teams have already begun to make moves–including my beloved Chicago White Sox.
First of all, let me go back a bit. The World Series was great. Madison Bumgarner is an absolute beast. What he did in the post-season and World Series was remarkable. The effort he gave in Game 7 alone was one of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed. He unquestionably deserved the MVP. Congrats to the San Francisco Giants on yet another World Series victory.
I did get to watch the Japan Series on my MLB.TV subscription and that was great to watch. I miss baseball already.
Now on to the White Sox.
On October 24th, they lost one of what I think was a nice, young player in Moises Sierra to the Kansas City Royals as he was claimed off waivers. He showed some major talent with his speed and defensive ability. He has a cannon for an arm and I think that is a big loss to the White Sox outfield depth.
In the last few days of October, Paul Konerko officially retired and Matt Lindstrom and Felipe Paulino elected free agency.
(Jason Miller/Getty Images)
On November 3rd, the Sox claimed J.B. Shuck from the Cleveland Indians off waivers. He is 27-years old and is a left-handed outfielder. He really struggled in just 38 games with Cleveland and the Los Angles Angels of Anaheim this season hitting just .145. He was put on waivers by the Angels on September 2nd of this year and then was claimed by the Indians. After a strong rookie season in 2013 Shuck struggled in 2014 but does show some promise as he is a career .264 lifetime hitter in the big leagues. He probably with be a platoon outfielder or a guy that can come off the bench with the Sox but I see him beginning the season in AAA Charlotte.
(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
On November 18th, the Sox made a key move in addressing their bullpen as they added left-handed pitcher Zach Duke. Duke has been somewhat of a journeyman pitcher after beginning his career in Pittsburgh where he was drafted. Last season he did very well in Milwaukee’s bullpen posting a 5-1 record with a 2.45 ERA in 74 games. Duke was given a 3-year 15-million dollar deal. I really like this deal and i know GM Rick Hahn is not done searching for more bullpen help as it was the weakest part of the White Sox team last season.
Then yesterday the White Sox made another big splash by acquiring free agent Adam LaRoche The former National is a veteran of the game at 35-years old and will look to platoon with Jose Abreu at 1B and DH with the departures of Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn. LaRoche is a left-handed bat that the Sox desperately needed so they signed him to a 2-year 25-million dollar deal.
(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LaRoche is very good defensivly as he won a gold glove in 2012 and does not make many mistakes on defense. LaRoche is a career .264 hitter with 243 homers and 838 RBI’s in 1478 games. That averages to 16 homers and 57 RBI’s a season. Look for those numbers to go up hitting between Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia.
Two major needs have been met already and I like it. Look for the Sox to continue to look for bullpen help, a right-handed starter, an outfielder and perhaps a catcher moving forward.
The 2014 MLB post-season has been a good one thus far. Two teams that many would have not predicted have made it to the World Series: The San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals. I had the Royals just missing a wild card spot and I had the Giants making it as a wild card team but falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers whom I predicted would win it all. The World Series, which is set to begin on Tuesday will feature two teams that have played well during the regular season and caught fire during this post-season. It should be a really good matchup.
The Kansas City Royals, who did make the post-season as a Wild Card have yet to lose. They stunned the Oakland A’s in the Wild Card game in 12 innings 9-8 with speed and grit. Then they went on to sweep the American League team with the best record the Los Angles Angeles in three games. They then dismantled the Baltimore Orioles in four games to move to the Fall Classic. 8 games. 8 wins.
The Royals have received contributions up and down their lineup. Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain have been tearing the cover off the ball hitting .448 and .353 respectively. Mike Moustakas who was doing terrible the last month of the season has 4 homers in the post-season thus far. The Royals also have 13 stolen bases as a team and their defense has been solid. The pitching has also been lights out.
Then there is the San Francisco Giants. They once again have made the World Series in an even year. They won it all in 2010 and 2012 and are back again in 2014. Can they do it again this year? Why not. This team is led by their pitching with Madison Bumgarner earning top billing. He is 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA in four starts this post-season. My boy Jake Peavy has been good in his two starts as well. Unknown heroes like Michael Morse and Travis Ishikawa have had clutch hits, while 2010 Rookie of the year and 2012 MVP Buster Posey is just doing what he does best hitting .302 this postseason.
So who will win? Who am I rooting for? I am rooting for the Giants and Jake Peavy. I have always liked Jake Peavy and I cannot get myself to root for another AL Central rival as I am a White Sox fan. It seems hard to predict the Giants not to win at this point since it is an even numbered year as well. I think this will be a close series and Kansas City has a legit shot with the home field advantage. That said I am going to go with the Giants. Either way it should be a fun series.
Well the 2014 season is over. As is the playing career of Paul Konerko. I cannot help but feel a mixture of joy and sadness today.
I love baseball. I love Chicago White Sox baseball. I live and die with this team for 6-8 months of the year. I watch every game if I can. I have seen a ton of Paul Konerko’s games since 1999. I was a senior in high school when he played his first game for the White Sox and now I am 34 years old. A ton of my life has been spent watching and cheering on this man. I can’t help but feel a piece of me is missing today.
In the game itself, the White Sox had a 4-2 lead after five innings but they surrendered three runs in the 6th and lost 6-4. The Sox collected 12 hits but were unable to hold on. Konerko went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and took his last walk off the field in the 6th to yet another ovation.
After the game, Konerko did a lap around the stadium for the fans who did not want to leave. Konerko is a legend in Chicago. His #14 will be retired next season and he deserves all the praise he gets. He is a class act on and off the field.
The numbers speak for themselves. More at-bats than any player in White Sox history, one of the top 20 best fielding first baseman of all-time (18th), a six-time All-Star, 2430 hits, 439 homers, 1412 RBI’s, an ALCS MVP and a World Series Champion.
All I can say is thanks. Thanks PK for all the memories.
What can I say about Paul Konerko?
It has been 16 amazing years in the Chicago White Sox organization. I have seen numerous games with Paulie in a White Sox uniform. I am sure numerous memories will flood my memories over the coming days, however, right now my mind and heart are mostly filled with pure joy. The ceremony before the game was perfect. From Hawk Harrelson leading the fans in a chant of “Paulie,” to multiple tribute videos where shown and Konerko’s best trait, his loyalty, stood out. Many family, former teammates and friends were there to honor Konerko. It was awesome.
Numerous parting gifts were given including pictures, a seat made of bats, signed baseballs by all of his 2005 World Series teammates, two guitars, the baseball Konerko hit for a grand slam caught by a fan in the 2005 World Series, and a statue of Paulie was unveiled too. So cool.
Then Konerko spoke and thanked his family, the front office, the Kansas City organization who the White Sox were playing against, former and current coaches, players and teammates who helped him in his career and the fans whom he called “friends” because they mean more to him than just fans.
The game was just as great too. Konerko went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, yet although Konerko did not get a hit, it was still awesome to watch the game. Everytime he came to the plate he received a standing ovation and loud cheers. In the 7th, replaced by Andy Wilkins, the fans roared.
In the game it was fitting that Jose Abreu, Konerko’s replacement had a big night. He went 2-for-2 with a homerun, two RBI’s and two walks. Abreu’s 2-run homer was his 36th on the season, a Chicago White Sox rookie record. The homer came in the 1st inning after Alexei Ramirez drove in Adam Eaton who walked and stole 2nd base to begin the game. The White Sox took a 4-0 lead on a solo blast by Josh Phegley in the 2nd inning.
John Danks pitched well as he threw seven solid innings, allowing just two runs on five hits, while walking two and striking out three. When he left the game, the Sox had a 4-2 lead. Yet Josh Phegley, hit yet another homerun to put the Sox back ahead 5-2.
That homer would loom large because the Royals, a serious World Series contender, fought back but fell just short. They scored a run in the 8th off Ronald Bellisario. Bellisario allowed a walk and two straight singles and did not record an out as the Royals cut the lead to 5-3.
Eric Surkamp, who entered the game with runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs was able to get Eric Hosmer to ground into a double play. Jake Petricka entered the game and was able to get Billy Butler to ground out to 3rd base to end the inning.
Petricka walked Alex Gordon to lead off the 9th before leaving the game due to an injury. Javy Guerra entered the game and would record the first two outs in the frame before an RBI single by Mike Moustakas to cut the Chicago lead to 5-4. Yet Alcides Escobar would ground out to short to end the game.
A White Sox victory was the perfect way to honor Paul Konerko on this day.
I guess there is only one more thing I could say.
Well, it was a fitting end.
The Kansas City Royals defeated the Chicago White Sox last night by a final of 3-1 in dominant fashion. They took a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning collecting four hits and three runs in their first five batters. After that, the game became a pitchers duel.
Hector Noesi settled in to allow just those three early runs on six hits, walked two and struck out five over six innings. The Sox bullpen was solid, allowing just one hit over the final three innings.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Guthrie didn’t allow a run over seven innings. He surrendered just four hits and walked one while striking out six batters.
The White Sox did score one run in the game off Wade Davis as Adam Eaton collected his 10th triple on the season and then scored on an Alexei Ramirez single, but that was it.
Seeing the Royals celebrate after the final out on our field gave me a sick feeling. Yes, I am happy for them a little bit, but I’d rather not see the celebration in Chicago. Hopefully the White Sox can stop any more celebrations. The Royals trail the Detroit Tigers for the AL Central crown by just one game with two to go.
Tonight is Paul Konerko day. It will be great to see Konerko honored and celebrated for his great career.
LETS GO WHITE SOX!!!
Jose Quintana deserves some praise.
He did not win the game last night. He ended the season with a 9-11 record. Yet his ERA of 3.32 was the best it has been in his 3 years as a starter. Since 2012 in his 87 starts he has 39 no-decisions which leads all of baseball. For the 2nd straight season he has logged at least 32 starts and 200-plus innings. He has been one of the most depedable pitchers in all of baseball. The 25-year-old Quintana has a bright future ahead of him.
In the game, Quintana pitched 7 1/3 innings allowing five runs on 11 hits, walking none and striking out seven. The game was actually tied at 3-3 when Quintana left the game in the 8th. However, he was responsible for two runners on base with one out in the frame. Both those runners would eventually score.
Josh Phegley’s two-run shot in the 2nd gave the Sox a 2-1 lead. In the 5th, Jordan Danks gave the Sox a 3-1 lead with an RBI single. Paul Konerko did not play, but he is scheduled to do so over the next 3 days.
Tomorrow, Hector Noesi (8-10; 4.39 ERA) will face off against Jeremy Guthrie (12-11; 4.28 ERA) as the Royals need to just win one more game of their final three to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 1985.
LETS GO WHITE SOX!!!
Who says that even though a team is out of the post-season race like the Chicago White Sox are that they do not care about winning games? Playing their AL Central rival in the Detroit Tigers, the game was not without its heated moments. The 6-1 victory for the Tigers that clinched a post-season birth for them became a back story to moments in the game itself.
White Sox ace Chris Sale allowed just one run on four hits over six innings and was given a no-decision in the effort. He recorded 10 strikeouts in the game, the 18th time in his career that he has had a double-digit strikeout game, which sets a franchise record. He also reached the 200-strikeout plateau which makes him the first White Sox pitcher to record back-to-back 200-K seasons since Javier Vazquez in 2007-2008.
Sale is also guaranteed the AL ERA title with a low of 2.17 on the season. He may not win the AL Cy Young, but he certainly deserves some praise for his great season.
Despite all this the biggest moments in the game came in a battle between Sale, Victor Martinez and a Tigers fan. In the 3rd, facing Martinez with runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs, Sale struck out Martinez to end the frame and tipped his cap to center field. At first it appeared as if Sale was showing up Martinez. Then he began pointing toward center as he walked off the mound. Sale claimed later to be acknowledging a fan who was giving him crap as he was warming up in the bullpen before the game.
Then in the 6th, again facing Martinez, Sale hit him with a pitch. The two had some words for one another as Martinez walked to 1st and the benches and bullpens cleared. Sale again began pointing toward center, suggesting that someone was stealing signs and giving them to Martinez. Sale was later seen on television broadcast making what looked like binoculars with his hands. Interesting stuff to say the least.
The Tigers obviously believed that Sale hit Martinez on purpose as the White Sox have denied that. Either way, the Tigers won 6-1 and are going to the post-season while the White Sox are going home. I guess we might have to wait till next season to see if anything comes of this. That is if Victor is still in a Tigers uniform.
Tomorrow the White Sox begin the final homestand of the season against the Kansas City Royals and will try to prevent them from clinching a post-season birth on their field in Chicago.
LETS GO WHITE SOX!!!
Early on in last night’s game the Tigers were cruising. They had a 3-0 lead going into the 9th inning and David Price had pitched his best performance in a Tigers uniform up to that point as he had allowed no runs on three hits, issued no walks and had seven strikeouts on 95 pitches Then came the 9th…
On a night where the Tigers honored Paul Konerko, the Sox began to rally for their captain.
In the 9th, Adam Eaton led off with a single and then was moved to third on a double by Alexei Ramirez. Price then struck out Jose Abreu for his 8th strikeout before Avisail Garcia delivered a 2-run single to center to cut the lead to 3-2.
A coaching visit to the mound allowed Price to calm himself and retire Dayan Viciedo. Then the Sox captain stepped to the plate and delivered a single to left that moved Garcia to third. The Tigers would choose to leave Price in the game and that was to the Sox advantage as Marcus Semien delivered the game tying single to center and moved pinch-runner Moises Sierra to 3rd.
Joe Nathan would enter the game and after walking Conor Gillaspie to load the bases, he would escape the jam and retire Carlos Sanchez on a fly-ball to center to end the frame. It was a “playoff atmosphere” type game at its peek.
Jake Petricka would run into some trouble in the bottom of the 9th as Ian Kinsler would single and then move to 2nd after a Torii Hunter walk. The Tigers most feared hitter, Miguel Cabrera would step to the plate and deliver the RBI single to send the Tigers fans home happy in a deflating loss for Sox fans like myself.
The win put the Tigers just one game away from clinching a post-season birth. They desperately needed this win tonight if they have any hopes of a division title with KC close on their heels.
The Sox will close out the series in Detroit this afternoon with Chris Sale (12-4; 2.20 ERA) on the mound against Justin Verlander (14-12; 4.68 ERA). It should be a good one.
LETS GO WHITE SOX!!!