Wednesday, November 30, 2005

2006 season White Sox Moves - Part 3

Aaron Rowand for Jim Thome. Aaron Rowand for Jim Thome. Aaron Rowand for Jim Thome. Somehow, no matter how many times I say it, it just sounds weird…

Far be it for me to criticize the proven, winning combination of Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen in putting together a team. The 2005 season gave these guys all the street cred they need. The local TV sportscasters seem to like the deal as do many of the area sportswriters (even Mr. Reinsdorf’s new best friend, Jay Mariotti). And they do make some good points. With Everett definitely gone, Konerko maybe gone and Thomas probably gone, the Sox need some thunder in the middle of the lineup. Another point in the trade’s favor was that Thome was leaning towards rejoining the Indians. As any Sox fan will tell you, as an Indian, Thome absolutely killed Sox pitching. A more important point is this; let’s wait until all the “dealing is done” before we judge this one trade. I was no fan of the Lee-for-Posednik trade last year, but it worked out extremely well because it was just the first of many trades that also brought Dye, Iguchi and Pierzynski to the team. And, the final and most important point is this; the Sox gave up none of their major league starters or relievers. One must also note that the Sox picked him up for a relative bargain of $24 million for 3 years (with the Phillies paying the rest of Thome’s contract).

But it’s a gamble, no doubt about it. Thome will be 36 next year (Rowand is 27) and is coming off an injury-ridden season. He’ll never bunt, he’ll never steal a base and he’ll never track down a ball in the outfield and save a game with his defense. But it could work out very well, too. As a DH, his body would not suffer the wear and tear it did in Philadelphia, where he played first-base. And if Brian Anderson can live up to his promise in Center Field and bat a productive 6th or 7th or the Sox land Juan Pierre, put him in center and move Iguchi down to 6th or 7th, the middle lineup of Dye, Konerko, Thome, Iguchi/Anderson would be potent indeed.

What a luxury the Sox have now, with great pitching and a solid, solid team already established. They only have to tweak, not rebuild. Let’s hope Thome has a great year. If he does, and the Sox repeat, perhaps last year’s injustice of Kenny Williams finishing second in voting for TSN’s Major League Baseball Executive of the Year can be rectified…


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