10:10 AM CDT, April 23, 2013
Talking baseball while praising Kirk Hinrich’s grit:
1. There are lots of good deals on Chicago condos. A forward-thinking baseball organization might buy, not merely rent hotel space, this summer.
Scouts will be camping out on both sides of town before the July 31 trade deadline, as the 12-25 combined record of the White Sox and Cubs is not a fluke. Despite spending almost $220 million on the two rosters, these are bad teams.
Both should be playing better than they are. That’s true. But it might be a blessing that the White Sox aren’t building false hope, as they did a year ago. Rick Hahn, who inherited a mess when he took over for Ken Williams, needs to be as calculating and decisive as Theo Epstein in judging his situation.
Because of Williams’ short-sighted trades and neglect of his farm system, the Sox have been a house of cards for years. He pushed backed the expiration date by spending heavily to acquire players like Jake Peavy, Alex Rios and Adam Dunn but failed to sign and develop young players who could eventually take their places.
An organizational collapse was going to happen at some point, and unfortunately for Hahn it seems to be starting now. No one deserves to deal with such a difficult situation in their first year on the job, but that’s where Hahn finds himself.
Will he start a genuine rebuilding phase by trading veterans for prospects this summer? I think he will but there’s a lot of time left for Robin Ventura’s team to get it together and change his mind.
2. It’s not Jake Peavy’s fault that the White Sox can’t get runners on base and deliver so few timely hits. He’s pitched very well in three of his four starts, impressing scouts that he has raised his game from where it was a year ago, when he had a 3.37 ERA over 219 innings. With a two-year contract extension, Peavy could be a huge name on the trade market if Hahn makes him available. He should, as at age 31 Peavy only makes sense for the White Sox if they can stack up to the Tigers and Royals. He could be a huge addition for a team like the Angels, Rangers or Rockies. Paul Konerko almost certainly won’t come back to the Sox if they fall apart this season, so Hahn has to consider dealing him too. The captain should not go down with the ship. Alex Rios, the best hitter on the Sox, could interest contenders. Ditto Alexei Ramirez, relievers Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain and, if he gets it together, Gavin Floyd. The 3-10 stretch the Sox are in suggests it’s time for drastic changes.
3. Poor Travis Wood. Ditto the Cubs’ starting pitchers not named Edwin Jackson. Wood pitched very well last night in Cincinnati and watched his work wiped out after he was lifted for reliever Shawn Camp in the seventh inning. For Dale Sveum and Epstein, here’s the most infuriating thing about the 5-13 record: The Cubs’ starters have a 3.11 ERA for the season. That ranks third in the National League, behind the Braves and Cardinals. Yet somehow they have only three wins to show for their work in April, with one win each for Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Villanueva and Wood. That ERA is amazing, especially given that Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio were hoping that they would also have Matt Garza and Scott Baker in the mix. Jackson’s the only real disappointment in the rotation and he’s very capable of turning things around. In the meantime, here’s hoping a few things will bounce right for guys like Wood and Villanueva, who deserve better than they’re getting.
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