Showing posts with label Jake Peavy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jake Peavy. Show all posts

Monday, July 3, 2017

2017 White Sox reach season's halfway point

Jose Quintana
The White Sox took two out of three games from the Texas Rangers at Guaranteed Rate Field over the weekend, which puts their record at 36-45 at the halfway point of the season.

Projected out over the full 162 games, they would finish 72-90. That sounds about right given the preseason expectations.

I've always said the 2013 Sox are the worst team I've cheered for in my lifetime -- and that club had the 63-99 record to prove it. This year's team only needs to go 28-53 the second half to top that, and that seems doable, even though some productive veterans are likely to be traded before July is over.

That said, this season has a more painful feel to it than that 2013 campaign, and I think I've finally put my finger on why: The losses this season are as ugly as they come. Perhaps they aren't frequent as they were in 2013, but the brand of baseball is a little bit worse -- especially when it comes to pitching.

You go back and look at the numbers from 2013, and the Sox had three starting pitchers with ERAs below 4 -- Chris Sale (3.07), Jose Quintana (3.51) and Hector Santiago (3.56). The Sox also had Jake Peavy on the team for half the season before he was dealt to the Boston Red Sox, and his ERA (4.28 ERA) was no worse than league average.

So, for most of the year, the 2013 Sox had four men in their rotation who could give you a competitive outing. Now, that team couldn't hit worth a damn; they lost 99 games for a reason. But when you went to the park to watch the 2013 Sox, they would typically lose 4-1 and you'd be outta there in two and a half hours.

This year is a different scene, because starting pitching is the biggest weakness for this club. James Shields, of all people, is the only pitcher with an ERA below 4 (3.98), and he's made only six starts this season. Quintana is having a down year (4.45 ERA), and you've got retread veterans Derek Holland (4.52), Mike Pelfrey (4.13) and Miguel Gonzalez (5.15 ERA) hanging around the rotation.

A typical Sox loss this season is characterized by a short outing from a post-peak veteran starter, followed by a parade of middle relievers who struggle to throw strikes, and are lucky to be in the major leagues. By the end of the day, Sox pitchers have thrown about 200 pitches to get through nine innings, and three and a half hours later, you're walking out of the ballpark with a 10-2 loss or a 10-4 loss.

Linked are the box scores to the past two games I've personally attended. Frankly, I'd rather see some decent pitching and have the Sox get beat in a hurry than watch some of these long, drawn-out messes where five or six relievers are used.

I'm one of those fans who stays to the end no matter what, no matter how painful, so I guess the one positive to blowout losses is I can get out of the parking lot much faster when the game is over. (Most people scram early.) But, I can't say that I'm enjoying the baseball I've been seeing this year.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Adam Eaton a Gold Glove finalist, and other assorted White Sox news

Adam Eaton
Catching up on a few White Sox notes from the past few days:

1. Right fielder Adam Eaton has been named a finalist for the American League Gold Glove Award. Eaton led major-league outfielders with 18 assists and was second to Boston's Mookie Betts with 22 defensive runs saved.

Eaton is trying to become the first Sox player to win a Gold Glove since pitcher Jake Peavy won the honor in 2012. The last Sox position player to win a Gold Glove was third baseman Robin Ventura in 1998.

Eaton was a finalist for the award as a center fielder in 2014. The other finalists among right fielders this year are Betts and Houston's George Springer.

Consider Betts the favorite, since he also had a big offensive season (yeah, I know it shouldn't matter, but it does) and plays in Boston.

2. No surprise: Pitcher James Shields will opt in for the final two years of his contract, according to reports.

Shields, who will turn 35 in December, is coming off a terrible season in which he posted a 6-19 record with a 5.85 ERA. After being traded to the American League, his ERA swelled to 6.77 in 22 starts with the Sox, during which he went 4-12.

The right-hander is owed $21 million for each of the next two seasons, although the San Diego Padres are on the hook for $11 million in both 2017 and 2018. That means the Sox will play Shields $10 million next year and the year after that.

There is a $16 million club option for 2019 on Shields, with a $2 million buyout, if he somehow manages to hold his roster spot for that long. The Sox would be on the hook for the buyout.

Great trade, huh?

3. The Sox claimed outfielder Rymer Liriano off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Liriano, 25, was once a top-100 prospect in the San Diego system, but his skills have never translated to the big-league level.

He made it to the bigs with the Padres in 2014, but couldn't stick, hitting .220 with a .555 OPS in 121 plate appearances in 38 games.

Liriano missed the entire 2016 season after being struck in the face by pitched ball in spring training. The move brings the Sox's 40-man roster back up to 40 players, but this acquisition is for nothing more than organizational depth.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Royals force Game 7, have history on their side

After 2,430 regular-season games and 31 postseason games, it all comes down to one night. The Kansas City Royals will host the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 on Wednesday to determine the 2014 World Series champion.

The Royals forced a deciding game by smashing the Giants, 10-0, in Game 6 on Tuesday night. Kansas City starter Yordano Ventura was brilliant, firing seven shutout innings. San Francisco starter Jake Peavy was terrible. The Royals knocked him out of the game by scoring seven runs in the bottom of the second inning. Ventura took over from there in a drama-free victory for Kansas City.

Peavy has never pitched well at Kauffman Stadium. I remember him always struggling there when he was with the White Sox. A check of the numbers revealed he is 1-7 with a 7.28 ERA lifetime in Kansas City. This was one of his worst outings, as he allowed five runs on six hits over 1.1 innings.

When San Francisco won Game 1, I reported that history was on its side. The Game 1 winner has won 15 of the past 17 World Series. But, there is also some history working in Kansas City's favor after this Game 6 victory. Consider:
  • Home teams are 23-3 in Games 6 and 7 of the World Series since 1982.
  • The last eight teams to win Game 6 at home to tie a World Series went on to win Game 7. The 1985 Kansas City Royals are among the clubs to accomplish that feat.
  • Home teams have won the last nine World Series Game 7s dating back to 1979, when the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Baltimore Orioles.
  • The 1975 Cincinnati Reds were last team to lose Game 6 on the road (vs. Boston) and recover to win Game 7.
The other thing that's working in Kansas City's favor? It has more pitchers rested and available going into this decisive game. That's where Ventura's long outing Tuesday was key. Jason Frasor and Tim Collins both worked an inning of scoreless relief for the Royals. Neither was taxed and both should be available tonight. Kansas City's three best relievers (Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera) have all had at least two days of rest. Even James Shields, the Royals starter in Games 1 and 5, could be available should Game 7 starter Jeremy Guthrie run into difficulty.

San Francisco has more limitations. Thirty-nine-year-old Tim Hudson is the oldest pitcher to ever start a World Series Game 7, and the Giants need at least six quality innings from the sinker-balling veteran. Peavy's early exit forced San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy to use Yusmeiro Petit, Jean Machi, Hunter Strickland and Ryan Vogelsong in relief on Tuesday. Machi and Strickland likely aren't available for Game 7. Petit had been solid in relief before getting hit around in Game 6. Will Bochy go back to him if Hudson struggles early? I'm not sure. If the game is close late, we'll probably see San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner in relief. Bochy simply doesn't have as many options as Kansas City manager Ned Yost.

There are a lot of things that are pointing in the Royals' favor for Game 7. But, of course, this is baseball. All this stuff goes out the window if the Giants get an early lead. That's why we watch. That's why this game is great.

Enjoy Game 7 everybody.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Top five deadline deals for the White Sox since 2000

Baseball's trade deadline looms Thursday. It's the last shopping day for teams to make moves without putting players on waivers first. Since that process is sometimes an impediment to adding reinforcements, the days before the July 31 deadline are always among the busiest on the baseball calendar.

Besides being the time to bolster rosters for the stretch run -- something neither Chicago team will be doing this year -- teams can also make more forward-thinking moves such as moving a veteran player for prospects, or picking up a veteran player under contract for multiple seasons yet. These kind of trades can be big moves that shape the future of a franchise, or small ones that add finishing pieces or future role players.

Here are the five best deals the White Sox have made near the deadline since 2000:

5. July 30, 2013. Traded Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox. Received Avisail Garcia from the Detroit Tigers and Francellis Montas, Cleuluis Rondon and Jeffrey Wendelken from the Red Sox. The Red Sox sent Jose Iglesias to the Tigers.

Garcia hasn't played much this season because of a shoulder injury. The Sox are hoping the fast-healing outfielder will see some time later this year because if he can develop into a solid everyday player, this trade will be exactly the kind of veteran-for-prospect deal the youth-starved Sox needed to make.

For all the flaws the Sox rotation has shown this year, Peavy isn't really missed considering his tepid performance this season and the big money he's making on the last year of his contract.

4. July 29, 2000. Traded Miguel Felix, Juan Figueroa, Jason Lakman and Brook Fordyce to the Baltimore Orioles. Received Harold Baines and Charles Johnson.

Johnson was a huge upgrade at catcher for the Sox over Fordyce (.272/.313/.464) and Mark Johnson (.225/.315/.316), batting an incredible .326/.411/.607 in 158 PAs over the last two months of the season. Consider how ridiculously talented the Sox offense was that year when Johnson, batting ninth in the playoffs, had 30 home runs on the season.

While Johnson left after the season, the Sox didn't win a playoff series and Baines wasn't a very effective bench bat during his third tour of duty with the team, this trade worked out just fine as none of the pieces the Sox gave up would haunt them down the road.

3. July 31, 2008. Traded Nick Masset and Danny Richar to the Cincinnati Reds. Received Ken Griffey, Jr. and cash.

It's easy to crack jokes about how Griffey was a shell of himself by the time he got to the Sox because it's true. He was no longer a great hitter and his play in center field could make you want to close your eyes. But consider that Brian Anderson, Dewayne Wise and down-season Nick Swisher were tasked with patrolling that spot after Alexei Ramirez was moved to second base full-time.

Griffey batted a decent .260/.347/.405 for the Sox, plus made a good defensive play to throw out the Twins' Michael Cuddyer at home plate in the 1-0 win over Minnesota in the AL Central tiebreaker. So even though Masset had a few decent seasons as a reliever, this is a trade the Sox should be happy they made.

2. July 31, 2004. Traded Esteban Loaiza to the New York Yankees. Received Jose Contreras and cash.

Despite having traded for Freddy Garcia just a month earlier, the Sox were headed in the wrong direction after losing Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez for the season. Loaiza, who appeared to have turned his career around the previous season, was also struggling, so the Sox opted to swap him for another right-hander who was getting roughed up, but had some potential and wasn't a free agent at the end of the year.

Contreras kept scuffling that year, pitching to a 5.30 ERA, only a slight improvement over his work with the Yankees. But the next season things clicked for the Cuban as he finished with a 3.61 ERA, including a dominant second half where he posted a 2.96 ERA and was the Game 1 starter in three playoff series as the Sox went 11-1 on their way to their first World Series title in 88 years.

1. July 31, 2005. Traded Ryan Meaux to the San Diego Padres. Received Geoff Blum.

Blum wasn't anywhere near as important as Contreras to the 2005 title march. In fact, a lot of observers were puzzled when he was the only piece added at the deadline by then-Sox GM Kenny Williams, who was notorious for his all-in style of roster building.

But it's hard to beat it when a trade deadline acquisition does this...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Jake Peavy's struggles continue in Boston

The White Sox, Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers made a major trade on July 30 of last year: Pitcher Jake Peavy went from Chicago to Boston; shortstop Jose Iglesias went from Boston to Detroit; and outfielder Avisail Garcia went from Detroit to Chicago.

It's been mentioned more than once that Peavy is the only one of the three major players in that deal to be healthy this season. Iglesias has missed the entire year with stress fractures in both of his legs, while Garcia suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder the second week of the season and is done for the year. Meanwhile, Peavy, who has spent time on the disabled list in five of the past six seasons, has made all 17 of his starts for Boston.

That said, it hasn't been a good year for the former NL Cy Young award winner. Peavy is just 1-7 with a 4.82 ERA in those 17 starts. He is winless in his last 12 starts after losing, 2-0, to the Cubs on Monday night. Peavy actually pitched well in his latest outing, allowing just a two-run homer to Chicago outfielder Nate Schierholtz over six innings. He was simply outpitched by Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta, who no-hit the Red Sox for the first 7.2 innings.

Respectable outing against the Cubs aside, the long-term trend for Peavy is not good. His 4.82 ERA would be the second-worst mark he has had in his career. His only worse year (4.92 in 2011) was his first year back from major surgery with the White Sox.

Peavy's WHIP (1.443), FIP (4.86) and strikeout rate (7.0 for 9 IP) all represent career worsts. He will be a free agent at the end of the season, and there are rumors he'll be on the move again at this year's trading deadline. The emergence of Rubby De La Rosa might put Peavy's rotation spot in Boston in jeopardy, if the Red Sox can manage to keep Clay Buchholz healthy.

There's no doubt White Sox fans are filled with despair when they see the likes of Hector Noesi and Scott Carroll making starts every fifth day, but know this: The Sox traded Peavy at the right time. If he were still in Chicago, he probably wouldn't be helping matters much.

It stinks that Garcia is down for the year, but he's only 23 and will likely bounce back from the injury. At this point in time, any team would rather have Garcia than Peavy. Even if the Red Sox are shopping Peavy this July, I'm not convinced any contending team will be eager to acquire him.

Even if Garcia struggles coming back from his injury, Chicago still might get something good from that trade. The South Siders got pitcher Francellis Montas from Boston in that three-team deal. Montas was recently selected to pitch in the MLB Futures Game, although he is now sidelined with a minor knee injury and will not be able to perform.

Peavy seems to be on the downside of his career. He may not be injured now, but he's pitching like a guy with a lot of wear and tear. He's not missed in Chicago. If you're a Sox fan, the players Chicago received in that deal are more likely to contribute to a contending team in the future than Peavy.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Checking in with former White Sox pitchers ... are any of them missed?

We know the White Sox had a respectable pitching staff in 2013, despite a miserable 63-99 record. The team numbers (3.98 ERA, 1.329 WHIP, 4.13 FIP), while not championship-caliber, were not terrible either.

We also know those numbers are down across the board here in 2014, even though the Sox (20-22) are still hanging around .500 going into this weekend's series against the Houston Astros. So far this season, Sox pitchers have posted a 4.74 ERA. The WHIP sits at 1.476, with a 4.44 FIP.

The Sox have dealt with a couple of key pitching injuries this year. Ace Chris Sale has been limited to four starts, and reliever Nate Jones has appeared in just two games. Both pitchers remain on the disabled list. Other pitchers have underperformed severely. Rookie Erik Johnson couldn't find the strike zone and earned himself a demotion back to Charlotte. Free-agent signee Felipe Paulino was a disaster in the rotation and eventually ended up on the disabled list.

In addition, several pieces of the 2013 pitching staff are no longer here for various reasons. Some were traded as salary dumps. Some were traded for young position players to get the rebuilding process started. Another left via free agency.

The Sox pitching staff is weaker this year because of a combination of factors, one of which is the fact that some guys who helped the team in the past are now elsewhere. But as I look at the list of pitchers who were here last year but are gone now, I can't say I miss any of them all that much.

Here's a closer look at those six pitchers and how they're doing now. All statistics are entering Friday's games:

Jake Peavy (Boston)

South Side departure: The veteran was traded last July in a three-team deal that netted the Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia.

Current numbers: 1-1, 3.94 ERA, 1.458 WHIP in eight starts

Is he missed?: People have noted Peavy is the only player still healthy who was involved in last July's deal. Garcia is on the DL for the Sox, and Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias also is on the shelf. But, while Peavy's ERA is decent, I expect it to go up if he continues pitching the way he has. He's walked 27 men in 48 innings this year. His WHIP is well above his career norm of 1.184. The soon-to-be 33-year-old is on the back side of his career. I think the Sox traded him at the right time. Even with Garcia sidelined with a serious shoulder injury, he's far more likely to help the Sox over the next five or six years than an aging pitcher like Peavy.

Gavin Floyd (Atlanta)

South Side departure: An elbow injury limited the veteran to just five starts in 2013. He signed a free-agent deal with the Braves over the offseason.

Current numbers: 0-1, 2.70 ERA in two starts

Is he missed?: Floyd has made it back from Tommy John surgery and recently joined the Atlanta rotation. I've heard some people argue the Sox should have brought Floyd back on an incentive-laden deal, and that he would look good at the back of the rotation right now. That's probably true, but can you imagine what people would have said if the Sox had re-signed Floyd in December or January? The fans would have been howling about the team wasting resources on an injured player.

Hector Santiago (L.A. Angels)

South Side departure: The left-hander was traded over the offseason as part of a three-team deal that netted the Sox center fielder Adam Eaton.

Current numbers: 0-6, 5.09 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts)

Is he missed?: The Sox did a good job of selling high on Santiago, who made 23 starts and posted a respectable 3.56 ERA in 2013. But, Santiago is nothing more than a No. 4 or No. 5 starter, and he lacks the command to be a consistent pitcher. The Sox recognized he was unlikely to duplicate his success and flipped him for Eaton, who is the center fielder and leadoff hitter of the present and future. While there are injury concerns with Eaton, I don't think anyone would argue his upside is far greater than Santiago's. That's especially true since Santiago was recently removed from the Angels' rotation for ineffectiveness.

Addison Reed (Arizona)

South Side departure: The closer was dealt to the Diamonbacks straight up for third base prospect Matt Davidson.

Current numbers: 1-3, 5.03 ERA, 1.271 WHIP, 11 for 13 in save opportunities

Is he missed?:  As long as Davidson continues to struggle in Triple-A, people are going to continue to criticize the decision to trade Reed. That's especially true because Matt Lindstrom has been hit-or-miss as a closer for the Sox this season. However, it's fair to say Reed has had Arizona fans reaching for the antacid as well this year. Look at that high ERA and WHIP. It's not what you want from a closer. I like Reed, and I'm not going to try to convince anyone that he's not a decent bullpen guy. He is. However, he was never dominant and shouldn't have been considered an untouchable by any means. It is way too early to give up on the 22-year-old Davidson, and it's still way too early to judge that trade.

Matt Thornton (N.Y. Yankees)

South Side departure: His salary was dumped last July in a trade with Boston. The Sox acquired outfielder Brandon Jacobs from the Red Sox. Jacobs was later sent to the Diamondbacks as a throw-in as part of the Eaton/Santiago trade. Thornton signed with the Yankees over the offseason.

Current numbers: 0-1, 5.40 ERA, 16 games, 6.2 IP, 1.800 WHIP

Is he missed?: Thornton is nothing more than a situational left-hander these days. His K rate is about half of what it was during his White Sox heyday from 2008-2010. He's 37 years old. He's got a lot of mileage on his arm. By this time next year, he'll probably be out of baseball. He's had a nice career as a relief pitcher, but it's all but over now.

Jesse Crain (Houston)

South Side departure: He was traded (while on the disabled list) last July as part of a conditional deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. He never threw a pitch with Tampa Bay and signed with Houston as a free agent over the offseason.

Current numbers: None. He hasn't thrown a pitch since June 29, 2013, when he was still with the White Sox.

Is he missed?: Crain had an 0.74 ERA in 38 appearances at the time the Sox put him on the disabled list last year. He was always good when healthy, but you can't say you miss a guy who hasn't been on a big-league mound in nearly a year.

As a Sox fan, are there any of these guys you would take back if you could? Reed would help, but I think I'd rather have Davidson in the organization, all things considered. Even though the pitching is generally weaker this year, the Sox have made more good moves than bad over the past 12 months.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Detroit roughs up Jake Peavy, evens up ALCS

With his team trailing 2-1 in the ALCS coming into Wednesday night's Game 4, Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland shuffled his lineup.

He moved Torii Hunter into the leadoff spot, moved Miguel Cabrera into the No. 2 hole and dropped the slumping Austin Jackson from first to eighth in the batting order.

Was it the right move? Well, you can't argue with Wednesday's results. The aforementioned three Tiger hitters combined to go 5 for 11 with six RBIs as Detroit defeated the Boston Red Sox 7-3 to tie the best-of-seven series at 2-all.

Detroit roughed up Boston starter Jake Peavy, scoring five runs in the second inning and two more in the fourth to take a commanding 7-0 lead it would never relinquish.

I think, though, that the success of Leyland's lineup shuffle was more of a coincidence than anything else. Quite simply, Peavy had a horrible game. I've watched most of the right-hander's starts over the last four years, and normally his strikeout-to-walk ratio is around 4 to 1. On this night, Peavy uncharacteristically walked three batters in the fateful five-run second inning alone, including a bases-loaded free pass to the struggling Jackson. Peavy had no command of the strike zone whatsoever.

I'm not really sold on the idea that the Tigers are out of their slump now. I think they were the fortunate beneficiaries of a terrible performance by a starting pitcher who is normally pretty good.

We'll see what happens in Thursday's Game 5. If Detroit cuffs around Boston ace Jon Lester, then I'll be convinced that Leyland's lineup juggling has actually made an impact.

Dodgers stay alive in NLCS

Speaking of offensive breakouts, Los Angeles finally got its bats going with four home runs Wednesday in Game 5 of the NLCS. Adrian Gonzalez homered twice, while Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis also went deep as the Dodgers stayed alive with a 6-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals still lead the series, 3-2, and the scene shifts back to St. Louis for Game 6 on Friday night.

Despite all the home runs, the most critical moment of this game came in the top of the first inning. The Cardinals loaded the bases with nobody out, but failed to score after Los Angeles pitcher Zack Greinke struck out Matt Adams and induced Yadier Molina to ground into an inning-ending double play. The Dodgers were one mistake away from finding themselves in a big early hole in an elimination game. Instead, they got out unscathed, and you had it feeling it was going to be their day from that point forward.

Los Angeles will send its ace to the mound in Game 6. Clayton Kershaw will try to lead the Dodgers to a series-tying victory. His mound opponent will be Michael Wacha in a rematch from Game 2, which Wacha won 1-0. Should be another great pitching matchup in a postseason full of them.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Adam Dunn claims he is considering retirement

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Tuesday that White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn is thinking of retiring at the end of the season.

We all know there's no way that's going to happen, so let me pause for a moment while you finish chuckling at the absurdity of it all ....

OK, now that you're done, I'll point out that Dunn has one year left on his contract with the Sox, and that contract is worth $15 million. That means Dunn has 15 million good reasons to come back and play next year, no matter how bad the Sox are going to be.

The 33-year-old Dunn has a legitimate shot at 500 home runs. He needs just 64 more. But, he claims neither money nor milestones will cause him to continue playing.

“I’m not coming back just to come back for money or because I have one year left (on his contract),” Dunn told Fox Sports on Tuesday. “I’m not coming back to chase home run numbers or whatever. If I end up with 499 and I’m not having fun, see ya -- 499 it is.”

I don't buy it. I think Dunn is speaking out of frustration. The Sox are 56-81 this year, far worse than even the biggest pessimist could have imagined. Dunn's buddy, Jake Peavy, got traded to a contending Boston team midseason. Other veterans, like Alex Rios, Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain, were also moved to clubs that are in the hunt.

You can bet your life the Sox tried to trade Dunn as well, but found no takers. Dunn is stuck on a losing team with an increasingly young roster, and he's jealous of Peavy and others who were traded to teams that are in a more favorable situation. More than anything, that is the source of Dunn's torment.

Count Sox manager Robin Ventura among the people who believe Dunn will play next year.

“I don’t see him not playing (next season). I’ve heard a lot of guys say that, and they still play," Ventura told Fox Sports. "“It’s tough. For (veterans) like that, it’s hard to go through. You’re frustrated. Sometimes, it’s you. Sometimes, it’s the way the team is playing. But it doesn’t guarantee anything for next season. He has been around long enough to know next year could be different. It can be better than it is right now."

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see Dunn retire. I'd love for the Sox to have $15 million more to spend on someone or something else. But that just isn't going to happen. If I had to take a guess, I'd say the Sox and Dunn are mutually stuck with each other through 2014.

See you next spring in Glendale, Adam. 




Friday, August 9, 2013

White Sox trade Alex Rios to the Rangers

Breaking news this afternoon: The White Sox have traded right fielder Alex Rios, along with $1 million, to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later or cash.

Rios, who is hitting .277 with 12 home runs, 55 RBIs and 26 stolen bases this season, was scratched from the lineup moments before the first game of Friday's doubleheader with the Minnesota Twins.

I'm sure Sox fans right now are asking this question: What are we getting in return? Well, here's why the deal is for a player to be named later: It's likely the Sox are getting a youngster who would not clear waivers, so that is why the deal cannot be completed right now.

There are reports out there that Leury Garcia is going to be the prospect coming back to the Sox. The 22 year-old infielder has appeared in 25 games with the Rangers this year, hitting .192 in 52 at-bats. He's spent most of the year at Triple-A Round Rock, where he's hit .264 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in 47 games -- 42 of them at shortstop. Garcia has a reputation as a good fielder whose bat still needs work. But right now, we're just speculating that he's the guy involved in the deal. We'll find out later.

What we do know is the trade of Rios clears a spot in the lineup for Avisail Garcia, who the White Sox recently acquired in the Jake Peavy trade. Since joining the Sox organization, Garcia has hit .370 with a home run and 9 RBIs in eight games at Triple-A Charlotte. As we've mentioned previously, Triple-A pitching is no longer a challenge for the 22-year-outfielder. It is time for him to come up to the big-league level and test himself against Major League pitching. I suspect Garcia could be in the lineup as soon as Friday in the second game of the doubleheader. If not, we'll see him at U.S. Cellular Field on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Jake Peavy heads to Boston in 3-team deal

Think the Biogenesis investigation doesn't have an effect on this year's trading deadline? Think again, because that whole sordid affair may have just allowed the White Sox to acquire their right fielder of the future (and possibly the present, too).

The Boston Red Sox had been interested in acquiring pitcher Jake Peavy for weeks. The White Sox were willing to deal, too, but the two teams were having trouble coming up with an agreement. It seems the Red Sox were willing to part with a top prospect OR take all of Peavy's salary, but not both. The White Sox wanted them to do both.

The deal might have fallen apart if the Detroit Tigers had not entered the fray. Detroit's All-Star shortstop, Jhonny Peralta, is about to be suspended as a result of the Biogenesis investigation. Lacking a suitable internal option to replace Peralta, the Tigers went shopping and decided they wanted Jose Iglesias from Boston.

However, the Red Sox wanted a front-line pitcher, and the contending Tigers aren't looking to part with any members of their starting rotation. The only way for the White Sox, Red Sox and Tigers to all get what they wanted was to consummate the three-way trade that went down Tuesday night.

Essentially, the Tigers gave up their top power-hitting prospect, 22-year-old outfielder Avisail Garcia, and pitcher Brayan Villarreal, to bring Iglesias into their organization to plug that soon-to-be hole at shortstop. The Red Sox then turned around flipped Garcia and three other prospects to the White Sox for Peavy.

This is an excellent deal for Boston. The Red Sox did a great job here. They acquired one helluva pitcher in Peavy and didn't give up any of the crown jewels of their farm system. They have organizational depth at shortstop. Veteran Stephen Drew is their starter at the big-league level, and their top prospect, Xander Bogaerts, a 20-year-old shortstop, could be ready for the majors by next year. Iglesias was expendable. He's much more valuable for Detroit than he is for Boston.

I think this is a good deal for the White Sox -- not a home run, but a double off the wall. Garcia is an experienced player for his age. He already has 25 postseason plate appearances under his belt. He played in the World Series last year. He is hitting .374 at the Triple-A level this year. It's clear minor-league pitching is no longer a challenge for him. He's ready for a full-time shot in the majors, and the retooling Sox should have plenty of at-bats to give him in the near future. In addition, the Red Sox took all of Peavy's contract. That's $14.5 million more the White Sox will have to spend next offseason. The acquisition of Garcia and the salary relief are the two pluses to come out of this for Chicago. The three other prospects the Sox got from Boston? Well, those are a bunch of ifs and maybes, like I always say.

As for the Tigers, they were pushed into a corner and forced to make this trade by the impending Peralta suspension. If not for that, they don't cough up Garcia at all, let alone allow him to land in the hands of a division rival. Garcia will have 18 opportunities each and every year to come back and haunt the Tigers over the next five seasons or so. But, Detroit is built for the here and now. This is the Tigers' window to win, and they can't afford to allow Peralta's stupidity to cost them a potential championship. So, they did what they had to do to add Iglesias, who will actually provide them a defensive upgrade at shortstop. No way he matches Peralta's bat, but he doesn't need to in that loaded lineup. The Tigers simply need him to catch the ball.

To sum up, great move by the Red Sox, good move by the White Sox, and the Tigers had better win it all this year to make this move worth their while.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

White Sox starting pitchers should stage a walkout

Following Monday night's preposterous 3-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians, the White Sox find themselves in last place in the American League Central with a 7-12 record. They have lost 10 of their last 13 games.

However, you can't blame the starting pitchers for this tailspin. The rotation of Chris Sale, Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd, Jose Quintana (pictured) and Dylan Axelrod has been holding up its end of the bargain.

Here is a rundown of how Sox starting pitchers have performed over the last 10 games:

April 12 at Cleveland:
Quintana: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 Ks, ND in a 1-0 loss.

April 13 at Cleveland (only really bad start in the bunch):
Sale: 4.1 IP,  8 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 3Ks, L in a 9-4 loss.

April 14 at Cleveland:
Peavy: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 Ks, W in a 3-1 win.

April 15 at Toronto:
Floyd: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 6Ks, L in a 4-3 loss.

April 16 at Toronto:
Axelrod: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4Ks, ND in a 4-3 win.

April 17 at Toronto:
Quintana: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7Ks, W in a 7-0 win.

April 18 at Toronto:
Sale: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6Ks, L in a 3-1 loss.

April 20 vs. Minnesota:
Peavy: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 9Ks, ND in a 2-1 loss

April 21 vs. Minnesota:
Floyd: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6Ks, ND in a 5-3 loss

April 22 vs. Cleveland:
Axelrod: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4Ks, ND in a 3-2 loss.

Notice that Sox starting pitchers have gone at least six innings and given up two runs or less in each of the last six games. Isn't that exactly what you want from your rotation? Yet the team is just 2-4 in that same stretch. Sox starters have given up just one single run in each of the last three games. The team has lost them all.

Here are the pitching totals for Sox starters over the last 10 games:
61.1 IP, 51 H, 20 ER, 18 BB, 63 Ks.

That will pencil out to a 2.93 ERA. If you take out Sale's bad outing on April 13, that combined ERA lowers to 1.89.

This is the kind of starting pitching that normally allows teams to get off to a good start. At worst, AT WORST, the Sox should be 6-4 in these 10 games. They probably should be 7-3 or 8-2. Instead, they are 3-7 because the position players have been so terrible, both at the plate and in the field.

I don't think anyone would blame the Sox starters if they walked into the clubhouse and gave all their teammates the silent treatment.  It makes you sick to your stomach to see all this good pitching go to waste.

 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Jake Peavy acts as stopper for White Sox

Ever since Jake Peavy was acquired by the White Sox in 2009, I've never felt he's gotten a fair shake from the fans.

He was injured at the time the San Diego Padres traded him to Chicago. He wasn't able to pitch, and therefore he wasn't earning the hefty contract that followed him to the White Sox.

So, the fans got pissed at him. He made 17 mostly mediocre starts in 2010 before suffering a detached lat. He underwent a surgery no pitcher had undergone before. He returned to make another 19 mostly mediocre starts in 2011, finishing 7-7 with a 4.92 ERA.

Where was the Peavy that won the Cy Young Award as a member of the Padres in 2007? Well, that was a career year for Peavy, one he will probably never duplicate. However, that doesn't mean the guy can't pitch anymore.

In 2011, expectations for Peavy were simply too high. He was coming off a never-been-tried before surgery, and it's always been my belief that pitchers never regain their form the year after they've gone under the knife. It's usually the second year back when a pitcher finds his stuff.

That was the case for Peavy in 2012. His record was only 11-12 because he got lousy run support, but his peripheral numbers were right where you would want them to be: a 3.37 ERA, a staff-high 219 innings pitched, a 1.096 WHIP, 8.0 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

You look at the numbers and you'll see that Peavy was right in line with his career norms in 2012. He had an excellent season. He earned his money. The Sox rewarded him with a two-year contract and rightfully so.

Yet you still heard Sox fans saying, "Peavy needs to shut up and pitch." Yes, Peavy talks a big game in the media. So what? He's a confident guy. He can say what he wants, and contrary to popular belief, throughout last season he was backing up his talk. His production met expectations and maybe even exceeded them.

Peavy is off to a decent start again here in 2013. He has won two of his first three starts, including Sunday's 3-1 victory in Cleveland. He gave up a home run to Michael Bourn on his first pitch of the game, but after that, the Indians had little chance to score. Peavy found his command in the second inning and never lost it. He struck out 11 men over seven innings and was the key factor in the Sox ending a five-game losing streak.

Among the Sox starters, Peavy is the guy I'm most confident in at this point in time. I feel there's a lot of predictability in what he's going to give the Sox. Hopefully I'm not jinxing him by saying that. The injury bug is always a threat, but it's a threat for every pitcher in professional baseball.

I don't know that Sox fans will ever embrace Peavy because he got off to such a rocky start his first couple years in Chicago. But over the last year plus three starts, he's been as reliable as any player on the South Side roster. I give him full credit for that.