9:29 AM CDT, July 30, 2013
Every team in Chicago has a plan.
Except the White Sox.
The Blackhawks certainly have a plan. They started with a core of young and talented players, surrounded them with depth, hired Hockey Yoda and promoted his son, and put it all in the hands of the savviest bench coach in the game. Ta-da! Two Stanley Cups in four seasons for an organ-I-zation that had one in the 72 seasons before that.
The Bulls have a plan. Mostly, it involves waiting for Reggie Rose’s brother to get a note from somebody to come out and play. It also involves hoping that LeBron James opts out of his deal next summer and praying that he picks the Bulls as his next stop, even though no great free agent ever has chosen the Bulls. I didn’t say that every team in town has a good plan, but that’s the Bulls’.
The Bears have a plan. It pretty much involves telling the players, “Prove it.’’ Some of their best and most important players are playing without contracts for next season. In theory, that should motivate every player to earn a new deal that would feed Robbie Gould’s family.
The Cubs have a plan. Call it a “Scorched Hendry’’ policy. They have been clearing out the detritus that is too old or too lousy to help when they figure to contend next, which appears to be 2015 or maybe 2016 or maybe when Theo Epstein attends his grandson’s bar-mitzvah. Nothing has worked in more than a century, so why not? It’s a plan and it has been clearly explained to fans. What a concept.
That leaves the Sox. If they have a plan, as best as I can figure, it involves acting as if they’re in a maze of manure mountains without a GPS and they keep running into the mountains because that’s the kind of baseball IQ they’ve shown.
I thought the plan was to trade 32-year-old Jake Peavy for financial relief and some quality prospects to build up a farm system in desperate need of skill.
But no. Not necessarily. Two days before the trade deadline and one day before Peavy’s next start, general manager Rick Hahn floated a message that the Sox might keep the tough, oft-injured right-hander.
Peavy is under contract control next year, which gives him some value. Since coming to the Sox five years ago, Peavy has started 20 games exactly once, which gives a guy on the wrong side of 30 no reason to be a centerpiece that a team would build around. Hel-lo.
When healthy, Peavy has been part of a rotation that is the best thing about one of the worst teams in baseball. But so what? Where has that gotten the Sox?
I know that pitching is the most important part of the game, but if the Sox don’t deal an arm that brings back a couple top position players, then you’re stuck with pathetic hitting, embarrassing fielding and dumb base-running. In other words, you’re rolling out this season again next season. How’d that work out for you?
Maybe Hahn is trying to run a bluff about retaining Peavy. After all, the biggest lies get told at the trade deadline. For instance, the Cubs’ talking about signing Matt Garza, cough, cough, to a long-term deal.
We’ll see if a team falls for Hahn’s line. I’ll tell you who won’t fall for it: Sox fans. They know a mountain of manure when they don’t want to pay for it, and if Peavy is still here Thursday, they rightly could view the Sox as a team that not only isn’t building to get better but has no a clue how to do that.
Every team in town has a plan. Except the Sox.
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