Chicago White Sox: 3 Moves That Must Be Made in the Offseason
The Chicago White Sox have some moves that need to be made after a disappointing third place finish in the American League Central in 2011. In order for the White Sox to be contenders, they will need to make a splash in the trade market in the offseason.
Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham all had horrific seasons. Ozzie Guillen took his managerial talents to South Beach and was replaced with an inexperienced Robin Ventura. Star hurler and inning eater Mark Buehrle will test the free agent market, and the White Sox Army knows Buehrle has played his last game on the South Side of Chicago. This was evident by the standing ovation (farewell) he received in his last home game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
General Manager Kenny Williams has no other scapegoats left, and in order to save face, he needs to make an immediate impact on next season. It's do or die for Williams, who essentially ran Ozzie out of town and it now falls solely on him.
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski has one year left on his contract, and although he is still decent at the plate, his arm enables opposing base stealers to run at will. Pierzynski threw out a mere 20 percent of potential base stealers last season. The MLB leader in 2011 was the Arizona Diamondbacks backstop Miguel Montero, who threw out 40 percent of potential thieves.
The Sox have been waiting on Tyler Flowers to develop for a few years down in AAA Charlotte. He got the call up when A.J. went on the disabled list this season. Flowers did well at the plate and has a stronger arm than Pierzynski.
Right fielder Carlos Quentin has been a very reliable player at the dish for the White Sox since his 2008 arrival. That is, of course, when he is not on the DL. Quentin started off the 2011 season well enough to be selected by the coaches as the only Sox representative at the All-Star Game. (Paul Konerko was later the vote-in player selected by the fans.)
With the emergence of OFs Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo, now is as good as time as any to shop Quentin. GM Kenny Williams said he wants Major League talent in return for any trades made this offseason. This appears to be more of a reloading than a rebuilding.
With OF Alex Rios' large contract and OF Juan Pierre taking his noodle arm to the free agent market, the Sox will need a speedster to hit the base paths. The starting OF will look like De Aza in left, Rios in center and Viciedo in right.
Possibly a package deal with Pierzynski and Quentin for a left-handed starting pitcher could be in the works to replace Buehrle.
Get an Experienced Hitting Coach
The White Sox parted ways with ex-hitting coach Greg Walker after numerous players flirted with the Mendoza line in 2011. Whether it was mechanics or poor offseason conditioning, Walker was doomed with poor offensive output from the Sox. Alex Rios, Gordon Beckham and, most notably (or notoriously) Adam Dunn, were miles away from expectations going into last year.
The White Sox will need to hire a hitting coach that can help fix what is wrong with the Sox bats. The buddy system will not work, as evident of Kenny Williams hiring former teammate Walker. Replacements for Walker have surfaced the names of Jim Thome and Frank Thomas, who was also a teammate of Williams and new manager Robin Ventura.