Sunday, June 27, 2004

posted by James - 6:09 PM

So, I'm sitting down at Casey Moran's at the bar, because after the White Sox thrashed the Cubs today the place cleared out and there wasn't a damned thing to do.

However, there were a couple "White Sox fans"* still basking in their series victory, and they were discussing the possibilities for improving their starting pitching after losing "the almighty Scott Schoeneweis."

They threw around names like Freddy Garcia and Randy Johnson, while dangling such prime trade bait as Aaron Rowand. I suggested they look at Ryan Franklin, who they'd have for more than a year at a much lower salary than Garcia, if they didn't want to part with a stud outfielder like Jeremy Reed or Joe Borchard.

One "fan"* said he didn't care, as long as it brought Garcia to the front of their rotation.

I remember thinking... if I could wear the Bill Bavasi hat for a day, and a guy bearing the resemblance of a White Sox GM offered me hot OF prospect Jeremy Reed for an erratic, overpaid pitcher, who is surplus at best, I'd jump and not think twice.

A couple minutes later, I look up at the ticker on the ESPNews channel, and they're reporting the White Sox have acquired Freddy Garcia.

I pointed this out to the "fan"*, and he was pleased at his own prognostical abilities, though neither of us or his friends knew what booty the Mariners hauled in for Garcia.

The internet wasn't any help either, as neither AP, Sportsticker or ESPN had reported the story, and neither of the teams' sites had any info as of yet.

However, the waning innings of the Mariners latest loss to the San Diego Padres was nothing but a running close up of Garcia with a couple shots of SafeCo interspersed.

Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs finally provided the details of the trade sending Garcia to the South Side.

Not only did the Mariners get Reed, 23, and a minor-league infielder (Michael Morse), they also pillaged the White Sox' starting catcher, 25-year-old Miguel Olivo, in the trade...

...AND rid themselves of perennially overrated and overpaid catcher Ben Davis, who had been toiling in Triple-A Tacoma.

The reaction at the bar to the trade ranged from...

1. satiated ("Sox GM Ken Williams got his man, no matter what the price.")

2. anger ("Damn. The White Sox just took two out of three and they'll have an even deeper rotation and Houston added the best offensive player available on the market just in time to visit the Friendly Confines for Fourth of July Week. When are my Cubbies going to get off their duffs and get some help for my team?")

3. more anger ("I can't believe Williams gave up Reed AND Olivo. What was he thinking?")

I'd be pleased from the perspective of a Mariners fan, but there had to be money exchanging hands here, right? There's no way the Mariners unload that much salary AND get three high-value players in return.

Regardless, don't the Mariners still owe their fans a huge upgrade in payroll. They never spent the money they got from Kazuhiro Sasaki leaving for Japan before the season started, and now they have whatever they saved on this trade.

The fans are still putting their butts in the seats, if my sojourn to SafeCo Field earlier this month was any indication, so the Mariners need to start putting money back into the team - either for this year or for next.

This team has spare parts that other teams could use (Randy Winn, Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Ryan Franklin, John Olerud...) and superfluous, high-end prospects to trade.

If the White Sox end up failing down the stretch, the Mariners should look dealing with them again for rightfielder Magglio Ordonez, and then signing him to a long-term deal.

I'm sure there are other options out there, but his is the first on my list.

Now on to our Beloveds...

"There are millions of Cubs fans in the world. We are spending our time, money, and what's left of our hearts supporting this team. We deserve better than management that is capable of gutting our hopes with putrid personnel decisions like this year in and year out."
I commend Scott, and his site I affectionately call Just West of Wrigleyville South (though I may have the directionals wrong), for bringing the heat and firing at the right location.

It's obvious this team doesn't have a talent problem. It's had a health problem for most of the season, but that's fixing itself (with added bonuses for Angel Guzman and Ryan Dempster).

But after watching the team blow runs on the basepaths, in the field and, to quote Scott one more time, with "putrid personnel decisions", it's obvious this team has a management problem.

Both Jim Hendry and Dusty Baker need to get their heads in the game and start treating this season as a one-of-a-kind chance... and act like they learned from last year, where they also blew a one-of-a-kind chance.

* The quotes are added because they just sounded like they were White Sox fans; they could have just had an interest in the trade, not unlike myself. I was too busy pretending to do actual work to have much of a convo with them.

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