Rick Hahn and the Chicago White Sox Making the Right Moves
Chicago, IL - The Chicago White Sox’s are amidst a rebuilding process, after finishing in last place in the American League Central, thirty games behind the first place Tigers. The White Sox’s finished with a dismal 63-99 record, second worse in the American League and third worse in the MLB, behind only the Miami Marlins and the Houston Astros. The club has not made the playoffs since 2008, overpaying for overrated players like Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Jake Peavy, etc. and after the last two seasons of pretending to be contenders the realization that a new start would be best came to fruition and the Sox’s have made a series of moves that are a step in the right direction.
Jose Daniel Abreu: The White Sox’s capped off the off-season in the middle of the post-season signing the Cuban slugger. The contract was worth $68 million, over the course of six MLB seasons, marking the largest contract for an International free agent in history. The lucrative deal also happened to be the largest contract for a White Sox’s player in club history. The twenty-six year old, first basemen in the 2009-2010 season Abreu hit for a monster, I mean monster clip at .399/.555/.822 in 89 games, and the following 2010-2011 Cuban National Series he transcend this magnificent season in 66 games with a line of .453/.597/.986 with 33 home runs. Abreu is going to be a force to be reckon with in the heart of Chicago’s lineup, and even when his contract expires, he will be in the prime of his career at 32 years of age.
Paul Konerko: The veteran, face off the franchise Paul Konerko is approaching his 38 year old season, in what will be for sure his last season in the big leagues. Konerko has spent the last 15 seasons with the ball club, and will return for his 16th season in the Windy City, Konerko signed a one-year deal with the club, worth $2.5 million early in the off-season. Konerko’s offensive production fell off the earth in 2013 with an unusually low clip at .244/.313/.355, along with a -1.8 WAR. His career totals are not even compatible to his dismal, most recent campaign with a terrific line of .281/.356/.491, getting on base and hitting for power. Konerko will serve as a part-time DH, platooning with Adam Dunn and acting as a safety net, in case recently signed Abreu goes down with an injury, Konerko would play first. Konerko, despite his struggles around the diamond last season, still had an amazing numbers against left-handed pitching with a .923 OPS and an atrocious .600 OPS against righties. Dunn being the LHH will serve as a DH predominantly against right-handed pitching, while Konerko will be the DH against left-handed pitching. This platoon creates an excellent combination, and it was a costless move for the Chicago White Sox.
Matt Davidson: The Chicago White Sox traded relief pitcher Addison Reed for Arizona D-Backs top five prospect Matt Davidson, and my take on this deal is, despite Reed’s talents, always trade relief pitching in return for offense if you have the opportunity. Matt Davidson has struggled in the field but his offensive upside is too good to pass up on, hitting for a good line at .237/.333/.434 in 87 plate appearances, with the D-Backs in the 2013 season. Davidson’s 2013 Triple-A numbers were even more transcendent at .280/.350/.481, along with 1 Net Steal. Davidson will take over third base for the White Sox’s, and will go into the season at the young age of twenty-three. The White Sox’s got young talent, for not a relatively high cost, this was an excellent step in the rebuilding process and they may be in the post-season conversation quicker than we initially thought, given the White Sox’s history.
Adam Eaton: The club acquired the twenty-five year old outfielder, in a three team trade, along with the D-Backs and the Angels. The Diamondbacks acquired Mark Trumbo from the Angels, and the Angels received Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago in the deal. The Sox’s sold high on Santiago, who collected a 3.56 ERA and a 4.44 FIP, indicating that going forward Santiago’s luck may run out, and his ERA may rise closer to his 2013 FIP than his 2013 ERA. In Eaton’s last full minor-league season, he hit for a raw clip of .381/.456/.539 in 562 plate appearances in Double-A in 2012. Eaton has not been as effective in the major leagues, and in a combined two half seasons in the MLB, Eaton hit for a disappointing line at .254/.332/.373, collecting good on base totals but lackluster power. Eaton has had excellent plate discipline throughout the course of professional baseball, and in most every stint in the minors, collected an OBP over .400, but his power numbers in Double-A may not be a good indication for the future, and instead it seems more likely that his power will hover around average or below average the rest of his career. Eaton has very good speed and creates a very good outfield rotation that includes De Aza, Viciedo, and Garcia.
Patrick Green is a Staff Writer for Pro Sports Extra.