Monday, January 28, 2008

So Long, And Thanks For All the Fisch

There's a pointless inside joke in the title of this, the final post in the Fan Club's illustrious, um not entirely unmeritorious, history. Yes, the Ron Karkovice Fan Club will be no more in 3, 2, 1.

Well, ok, there is one more piece of business to take care of before we shut off the lights. For those of you who can't stand the thought of a baseball season without my sparkling wit and dazzling insights -- um, anyone, hello? -- I will be blogging away at a new home this season: Life in the Cell. It can be found at

The Cell features a group of talented, experienced writers who will give you more funny, brilliant Sox coverage than one should be allowed. How I fit in evades me. So, stop by, check us out at the new home, and enjoy the upcoming season.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Throwing the Iguchi Out With the Bath-Water

The trade of Tadahito Iguchi was inevitable. The White Sox acquired Danny Richar to be their every day second baseman by next season. Best to let him get his feet wet now. Iguchi is a free agent at the end of the season, and was barely above replacement value now.

But this is all we get for him?!? Three teams -- the Phillies, Mets and Pads -- all had targetted Iguchi as their first priority at a position of need. How is an 18th round pick, striking out less than a batter an inning in Low-A ball the best possible return here? Michael Dubee's professional career sounds like a favor to his dad, Rich, who just happens to be the Phillies' pitching coach.

Maybe the Mets and Pads weren't offering a real prospect for Iguchi either. But would the Mets or someone have offered to take Jose Contreras off our hands if we also threw in Iguchi? Quite frankly, that seems like better use of our asset. Also, rumor has it that no one is offering more than a B-level prospect for Jermaine Dye. Would someone have been willing to give us a guy with some real upside in exchange for both Dye and Iguchi? Could he have been packaged with Rob Mackowiak -- a lefty utility guy who clearly has more value on the bench of a contender than on a sinking Sox ship?

I'm not upset they dealt Iguchi. Heck, I'm now looking forward to seeing Richar this weekend (you hear that Ozzie, if I see Alex Cintron at second this weekend, I'm going to be really irritated). But you have to consider the move in the context of an overall strategy to be competitive again next season. Richar was going to be at second next year no matter what. So, I'm not sure how this move helps at all. It seems like we just wasted an asset.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Say it ain't so, Kenny!

First, Kenny Williams tells the Tribune that he's excited to see what the White Sox can do when Scott Podsednik and Darrin Erstad come back. Then, the Trib start murmuring about how the Sox can win 90 games if they just play .700 ball the rest of the way. Today, Ozzie tells the Sun-Times that there are no trades on the horizon. Maybe this is all just a smoke screen, but if it's not, then oy vey.

Contrary to Herm Edwards otherwise brilliant diatribe, you don't actually play to win the game. You play to win the championship. And, the White Sox can't do that this year. If they proceed as if they do still have some hope, instead of preparing now for next season, then all they can accomplish is to set the franchise back.

According to Baseball Prospectus's play-offs odds report, which runs the rest of the season a million times (based on current winning percentage and an expected winning percentage that starts with a team's third order winning percentage so far, and then allows for regression) the Sox have a .02% chance of making the play-offs, or one in 5000 chance if that makes the team's dire straits clearer. Yes, they can win 90 games if they play .700 ball the rest of the way. But 90 wins probably won't get them into the post-season. The AL wild card winner has averaged 95 wins. Plus, even the best teams don't play .700 ball. And, has this team done anything to indicate it has that kind of talent? That last point is emphasized by BP's Pecota-adjusted play-off odds report. If you adjust the teams' expected winning percentages the rest of the way based on Pecota's expected performance by the team's individual players, then the Sox chance SINK to .01%. Kenny, that's 1 in 10,000. In other words, the Sox are much more likely, based on their current roster, to fall further out of the race, than charge back into it.

This has implications. First, if the Sox allow guys like Podsednik and Erstad, and even the red-hot Rob Mackowiak, who should not be part of the team's future, to take at-bats from guys like Jerry Owens and Ryan Sweeney, then they shouldn't be allowed to run a franchise anymore. Owens and Sweeney, and even Brian Anderson, may not be the answers in the Sox outfield next year, but shouldn't we find out? It was reassuring to hear Ozzie say that Andy Gonzalez will play significant time at shortstop the rest of the way. I doubt he's the answer there. But let's find out because we know that Juan Uribe isn't.

Second, I don't care how little future value we can get for Jose Contreras, trade him now for whatever you can get. He has NO future value to this team, especially at his price tag going forward. As for Dye and Iguchi, if someone wants to give up a good prospect for them, grab him. If the team thinks those guys are better answers than anyone else they're likely to find at the right price next season, then great, keep them, but make sure you get them signed. If you're not going to re-sign them, then trade them for whatever you can get. But don't let guys with value leave for nothing.

The White Sox need to be realistic. They CANNOT contend this season. What's the point of wasting at-bats on Erstad, Podsednik, Uribe, or even Dye and Iguchi if they're not coming back? Why make a futile run at respectability. I think White Sox fans are smart enough now that they would be more excited about watching the kids play the rest of the way than watching this crew's last gasp.