Thursday, December 09, 2004

Sox add Dye to outfield mix

CHICAGO -- (ESPN NEWS SERVICES) The Chicago White Sox agreed to terms with outfielder Jermaine Dye on Thursday.

The outfielder will sign a two-year, $10.15 million contract that contains a club option for 2007. Dye will be paid $4 million in 2005 and $5 million in 2006 with the club holding an option for 2007 at $6 million (with a buyout of $1.15 million).

For the money, this isn't a bad signing. Dye's .792 OPS at Network Associates Colliseum last year with the A's makes him just better than a league-average hitter. And Dye is a slightly above-average defender in right field.

I think Richard Hidalgo would have been a more exciting signing because he has more upside and is a year younger. But for the money, this isn't a bad signing. Here's what the Sox lineup looks like now:

2B: ????????
SS: Juan Uribe
DH: Frank Thomas
1B: Paul Konerko
LF: Carlos Lee
RF: Jermaine Dye
CF: Aaron Rowand
3B: Joe Crede
C: ?????????

4th OF: Carl Everett
5th OF: Joe Borchard
UT IF: Wilson Valdez
UT: Willie Harris
Backup Catcher: Burke/Davis?

Notice something wrong with this lineup? It's all right-handed. That's a problem I think the Sox need to address. Sliding Everett into the starting lineup probably doesn't fix it. I think we'll see someone traded later this winter.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Hermanson becomes first Sox signing

Dustin Hermanson became the first free agent to sign with the White Sox when he inked a 2-year, $5.5 million contract on Tuesday. The Sox also have a $3.5 million option for 2007.

Thumbs up. But, only slightly. In fact, call it one thumb up, one thumb down.

Of course, even though many are inclined to point to Hermanson’s ERA and say he’s simply the benefactor of a lot of saves, let’s take a look at his peripheral numbers in each role.















Like a lot of minor league pitchers that shift roles, Hermanson’s peripherals looked a little better. Not a lot – mind you sample-size issues apply – but enough to think he’ll be a better reliever than a starter.

And he wasn’t a bad starter. Granted, he was at best a league-average starter, but he wasn’t bad. His ERA+ from his last four years as a starter have been 114, 131, 112 and 104. And even though those years are 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2003, that’s still better than anything Jaret Wright can boast – and he just signed for three years and $23 million.

Now, Hermanson isn’t going to morph into Dennis Eckersley or anything. But he will be a decent swingman, sliding from the bullpen to the fifth starter spot should the Sox fail to land another pitcher. He wouldn’t be a great fifth starter (like Esteban Loaiza two years ago), but as we’ve covered before… getting anything close to league average at that spot will be a huge improvement.

Could the Sox have manufactured a guy like this out of a minor league free agent and saved some money? Sure. They could have, but that’s always a dicey proposition. Especially for a team like the Sox that has a hard time luring free agents, major or minor.

So this hole could have been filled cheaper, or with a better player. But it’s still not a bad move.

Last Look Back: Looking Forward

Here’s a last look back at 2004, which will actually look forward. These are the holes that the Sox had at the end of the season. So, in the spirit of the Christmas season, here’s a shopping list for GM Kenny Williams to take with him to the winter meetings.


Sandy Alomar Jr. has left town, and thankfully he’s taken his .606 OPS with him. Ben Davis .676 isn’t much better, though there’s a glimmer of hope he could still be an OK player if he could get his BA up around .260 and his OPS up to about .320. Jamie Burke (.795 OPS) played well in limited action, but the Sox still need a better option going into the season.

Starting Pitcher

Must have. Must, must, must have. Even if it isn’t a big name, even if it’s someone that can just take the ball every fifth day with just-below-average performance, this is a must have. The Sox’ troubles from the fifth spot have been well documented, but it’s obvious the Sox need someone to slot in behind Garcia/Buehrle/Contreras/Garland. The Pale Hose can’t go another year giving away a game every fifth day… not in such a winnable division.

Second/Third Baseman

Sox could use a veteran in the infield. Not a short stop, but preferably someone that could play third and second base. Call it Joe Crede/Willie Harris insurance. Might as well let the kids play, but come ready with a backup plan. Placido Polanco would be perfect.

Right Field

Unless the Sox are ready to turn the job over to Joe Borchard, with his .249 OBP and .338 slugging percentage, they need another outfielder – especially if they plan on having Carl Everett patch over the hole at DH should Frank Thomas miss the first part of the season.

This could work out though if the Sox don’t trade Paul Konerko this winter. It’s conceivable, should the Big Hurt even miss any time, that Konerko shifts over to DH, Ross Gload tries to replicate his surprising .851 OPS from last season while playing better defense at first, and Everett play as a fourth outfielder, taking over should Borchard bomb out again.

We should mention that Everett would ideally be this team’s fourth outfielder. Period. He can handle center, he can hit, and he wouldn’t have to play every day in that role. Again, ideally, it would be spelling for an OF of Carlos Lee, Aaron Rowand and a free agent pickup like Jermaine Dye or Richard Hidalgo.

Relief Pitcher

Shingo Takatsu, Damaso Marte and Cliff Politte are a nice trio, and with Jon Adkins and Neal Cotts back in a lefty-righty long-relief tandem, this isn’t a pressing need. Kenny Williams already landed Kevin Walker, so maybe they’ll stand pat on this front. That wouldn’t be too bad of an option.