Thursday, January 13, 2005

Re-Evaluating the Lee Trade

The White Sox got Travis Hinton from the Brewers earlier this week to finish the Carlos Lee trade. In total, the Sox picked up Scott Posednik, Jose Viscaino and Hinton for Lee. No cash involved.

Hinton, despite the great numbers last year in the California League (.302 BA, 22 HR, 36 2B, 88 RBI in 136 games), is still 24 years old. He’s good organizational filler, and could even show his face around the big club in a few years, but he’s too old to be a real prospect. Four professional seasons and he has yet to hit above A ball.

But lets look at the ledger sheet for the Lee trade. The Sox saved about $7 million, and actually went out and spent it on players. Here’s how it breaks down: The Sox gave up Carlos Lee, and in return and with the savings received Scott Posednik, Jose Viscaino, Orlando Hernandez, Travis Hinton and A.J. Pierzynski.

The Sox are also still in the running for Japanese second baseman Tadahito Iguchi. The latest reports show them about $600,000 apart on a contract. That is a bridgeable gap.

So if the Sox land Iguchi, they’ll have filled holes in the rotation (Hernandez), behind the plate (Pierzynski), in the bullpen (Viscaino) and at second base. And if Posednik craters and leaves a hole in left field, the Sox have other options already within the organization in Joe Borchard, Carl Everett and Ross Gload.

Even if Posednik tanks, and none of the other options work out, it will still be easier to find a left fielder at the trade deadline than most of the other positions that Sox GM Kenny Williams was able to fill.

That’s not bad a bad haul for a player like Carlos Lee, who played well, but was probably overpaid at $8 million per year.

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