Friday, November 04, 2005

2006 season White Sox Moves - Part 1

So the off-season maneuvering has begun. The 2005 WORLD CHAMPION White Sox have picked up the options for both Cliff Politte and Chris Widger. I heartily approve. Both of these guys were key to the 2005 WORLD CHAMPION White Sox’s season. Politte gave them a good-control, hard-throwing righty out of the pen and Widger gave them a very solid backup at catcher. With Pierzynski and Widger, the Sox were in great shape all year long behind the plate.

The 2005 WORLD CHAMPION White Sox also declined to pick up the option for Carl Everett. This is an interesting move as there is no question that Everett provided many key hits for the 2005 WORLD CHAMPION White Sox (OK, OK, I won’t do it again) this year. And, the guy plays a decent outfield slot. I guess Kenny Williams is thinking that he can re-sign Everett and/or pick up another bat somewhere else so that Everett won’t be missed. One can’t really judge how well this will work out until after all the off-season moves are completed.

And, in the biggest move so far, the Sox paid Frank Thomas $3.5 million to buy him out – so he’s now officially a free agent. White Sox fans have mixed emotions about The Big Hurt and it seems to break down along how long someone has been a White Sox fan. If you’re like me, and relatively new to the scene (I’ve only been a fan for about 5 years), then you really like Frank. But if you’ve been a White Sox fan for a long time, then your feelings are much more problematic. I’m sure this is due to the controversy that surrounded him and his career in the late 90’s. As I didn’t follow the team then, I don’t have any emotional baggage from this period, but my neighbor, who has been a White Sox fan forever, would be just as happy to see him leave. I think the guy still has a couple of good years left in him and want him back. As I’ve written before, he’s one of the few hitters I’ve seen who can hit ANY pitcher, even on that pitcher’s best day. That doesn’t mean he always does, of course, but he’s always a threat to.

On a related note, rumors are now swirling around that the Sox are getting ready to offer Paul Konerko a 4-year, $50 million deal. It may not be enough – this guy has an excellent chance to make even more mega-bucks. Owners might be a bit wary, seeing what a post-season flop both A-Rod and Vlad Guerrero were this year, but at the end of the day, probably somebody is going to pony up a 5 year, $80+ million offer. If the Sox don’t match that, and decline to re-sign Everett or Thomas, then what would they do at First Base and DH? One rumor floating around is that Jermaine Dye would be moved to First Base, allowing Brian Anderson to play right field. Dye did play one game at First this year and did a fine job. He’s a heck of an athlete, and I’m sure he would not embarrass himself at this position. But I’d sure miss his arm in the outfield. More than once this year, he and Iguchi teamed up to throw out runners trying to score and that’s a weapon that should not be overlooked. And, even if they do make that move, who would DH?

Anyway, the roster moves have begun and it’s going to be fun to watch. The combo of Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen have proved that they know how to pick players to put together a winning team and I’m looking forward to watching them engineer the 2006 version of the White Sox.


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