December 2009

The (Not So) Hot Stove in Indy–Day 1

The first day of the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis came and went
without any blockbuster deals–with no White Sox activity. Righty Brian Bruney was dealt by the Yankees to the Nationals and All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez signed with the Nats. That was about it.

The
most intriguing buzz was a proposed three-way deal among the Yanks,
Diamondbacks and Tigers. According to the rumor, The Yankees would get
speedy centerfielder Curtis Granderson from the Tigers along with a prospect or two from Arizona. The D-backs would get righty Edwin Jackson from Detroit and young hurler Ian Kennedy from New York and the Tigers would obtain pitcher Max Scherzer from Arizona, promising outfielder Austin Jackson and leftys Phil Coke and Michael Dunn from the Yankees.

My point here is that as a Sox fan, you have to like Granderson and Jackson leaving the Central Division.

While the Sox were idle on the trade front, Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen were a bit chatty yesterday with the media. Here are a few tidbits that came out of their interviews:

*  KW:

“No comment” on the Sox interest in Roy Halladay. All I can say is Hmmm.

Regarding the possible signing of Scott Podsednik as
a free agent to fill the leadoff role: “If he has a sincere desire both
in terms of fit and dollars to match up, then it’s time to get serious.”

“There will be some bats available after the tender date (Saturday) so you got a lot of options…We’ve got to let it play out.”

*  Ozzie:

Indicated Carlos Quentin would most likely be moved to his natural position in right field–if Quentin is comfortable with the move.

He prefers having Gordon Beckham batting sixth or seventh.

Regarding the possibility of signing DH Hideki Matsui: We need one more
guy. It could be him. He has to show us he can play the outfield too.”

Sox-wise and Otherwise

My weekly offseason musings about the White Sox and more…

* The Winter Meetings are always a fun time of the year as baseball fans look forward to a lot of wheeling and dealing. That said, most years the Meetings are a disappointment and fans are left wanting more. Kenny Williams has made some significant deals already for 2010–trading for Jake Peavy and Alex Rios during the season and acquiring Mark Teahen, Omar Vizquel and Andruw Jones. So it’s hard to say if Sox fans will be rewarded with any significant new additions during the Meetings next week in Indianapolis. Let’s hope so. It’s always a letdown when we go away empty-handed.

*
There’s one more reason I’m looking forward to this year’s Meetings. My friend of almost 40 years, New York Daily News baseball writer Bill Madden, is one of three candidates for the Spink Award, the writers’ version of induction into the Hall of Fame. Aside from being one of the most influential writers, no one loves baseball as much as Billy. Hoping he gets good news next Tuesday in Indy.

* There is a terrific piece by Scott Merkin on the Sox website about the excitement the Sox have over their 2009 draft picks. Among those cited as having a fast track to the Cell are speedy, multi-tool outfielders Jared Mitchell, the first round pick, and Trayce Thompson, the son of basketball’s Mychal, plus catcher Josh Phegley out of my alma mater Indiana University. Others mentioned are lefthanded pitcher David Holmberg and rightys Matt Heidenreich, Kyle Bellamy, Justin Collop and Ryan Buch. Go to whitesox.com to read the entire story.

*  The Chicago Tribune‘s Phil Rogers quotes Sox farm director Buddy Bell as saying he’s very high on Cuban-born prospect Dayan Viciedo, who spent his first pro season in the states with Birmingham. “One of our biggest concerns with him was the culture,” Bell told Rogers. “The kid turned out to be maybe the best teammate we had at Birmingham…he’s a great kid.”

    Viciedo, just 20-years-old, hit .280 and stroked 12 homers in 2009. Bell feels all he needs is more experience to become a bonafide major leaguer. “He’ll figure it out,” Bell said. “He’s so strong. He’s going to be a good big-league hitter.” Rogers added that the Sox look at Viciedo, up to now a third baseman, as a corner infielder/DH.

Tiger, you fessed up, but it was too late. A third attempt doesn’t work. You should have come out of the gate with the truth. Ask the folks I’ve worked with, my PR philosophy has always been: “The truth will set you free.”

Sports Illustrated, my alma mater, made a very wise choice by selecting Derek Jeter as its Sportsman of the Year. Despite being a Yankee, he’s everything a ballplayer should be. Even our own Ozzie Guillen, has referred to him publicly as “God.” The Florida Gators’ Tim Tebow would have been my runnerup.

*  Spunky Sox fan Seymour Berke could be home by the end of the year. Crossing my fingers.

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