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Down an ace and up a few pleasant surprises, let us take a moment then to give thanks for the opportunity this week will present us. Not specifically in anything the team will or will not do, whether getting sweet revenge on Felix Hernandez or acquiring much-needed roster additions, but in what they generally do; in short, we get to see how closely the Sox' walk follows the Sox' talk.
Do they really have the finances to add payroll when it will help the team win?
Do they really value winning enough to boost payroll?
Which is better: an absolute present or a promising future?
Are they really always looking to improve the team?
To answer all of the above in one oversimplified, vaguely flippant summation: "Maybe."
People like to rip on the White Sox for their perceived institutional cheapness, but this is the same team that has pulled off deals for the primetime Freddy Garcia, for Jim Thome, for Jake Peavy, even going so far as to take on the millions still owed Alex Rios just to spite their hilarious inability to develop something so unexceptional as a center fielder. But what they have shown is that they refuse to go after the obvious solutions, the team instead looking to bolster itself through the path of most resistance.
In 2006, Alfonso Soriano would have given the team much a much-needed speed and power threat, but instead they traded for 40-year-old backup catcher Sandy Alomar. In 2008, they needed a legitimate upgrade to their outfield defense, so they traded for a version of Ken Griffey, Jr. a good seven years past its prime. In 2009, they needed a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter, so they went out and landed one of the best pitchers in the National League. And so on, and so forth.
So now, as the Sox struggle to recapture the magic that fueled last month, their staff crippled, bullpen dissolving and bats still generally helpless from the left side, it's easy to say an Adam Dunn, Prince Fielder, Matt Capps or
Dan Haren would go a long way to stabilize some core element of the team, but smart money says they're not going to go that route. Which is not to say they won't land someone major, just that we should probably brace ourselves for someone to arrive from someplace even beyond left field.
Instead of Prince Fielder, maybe Manny Ramirez. Instead of Matt Capps, maybe Ervin Santana. Instead of Adam Dunn, maybe Albert Pujols. Not that any of those moves are any more likely, logical, or crucial than any others, but if we as fans and speculators are going to run headfirst blindly and stupidly into the future, we might as well go all the way. And, with some savvy maneuvers and a little luck, so too might the Sox.
Week in Review: Peaty. Take two of three from the Mariners but drop two of three to the A's for a .500 week.
Week in Preview: Re-peaty. Last week's road trip comes to Chicago as the Sox host the Mariners for four and the A's for three.
Hawkeroo's Can-O-Corn Watch: "There's a certain school of thinking that goes that if you can make a good play in the field in the top half of the inning, then that carries over into the bottom half of the inning when you and your teammates come up to bat, and that's why, for my money, Mark Teahen is going to be our most valuable player down this second-half run. Because guys like that, guys that can play both defense and offense, those are the kinds of players you want to have on your team, instead of on the other team, and that's why guys like Mark, why Andre Dawson is in the Hall of Fame now, Robin Ventura, Steve Lyons, the great left fielder Gary Redus, Dan Pasqua in his prime, these are the players that knew how to win, and the kind that make your team win, and I can tell you a certain player the White Sox had roaming the outfield a few years back, a young man out of Stanford by the name of Ken Williams, he was a player who could catch and hit up against anyone in the league at the time, and you can see that in the Sox teams through the years that Kenny and Ozzie have built."
Gordon Beckham Hall of Fame Update: Gordon Beckham home runs hit from the ninth spot in the lineup: four. New Hall of Fame inductee Andre Dawson home runs hit from the ninth spot in the lineup: two. Advantage: Beckham.
Alumni News You Can Use: Former White Sox right fielder and aficionado of questionable negotiating tactics Magglio Ordonez will be taking the next six to eight weeks off thanks to an ankle fractured in Saturday's loss to the Blue Jays.
The "H" in "DH" Stands For: "How about that," as Mark Kotsay fell short of even the lowest of expectations by going 0-for-4, 0-for-4, 0-for-3, and 1-for-4 as designated hitter last week.
The Q Factor: "It's not just about pain in a hand or a knee," he says, shattered bats littering the ground around him. "Pain, as they say, is voluntary. An escape. The mind's way of acknowledging the body's sacrifices, and that doesn't bother me." He pauses for a moment, letting the words echo. "But if it's a matter of the body saying no - this is where I often find myself so conflicted within. We spend our whole lives knowing we're going to die, yet we spend our days believing we're not, and it's along this line I strive to walk. Often in life, we all fall into death; but trust in me that I know the way back from it."
The Guillen Meter: With a keen, suspicious eye trained on the ever-present trade rumors surrounding his team, the Guillen Meter reads $19.99 for "smart shoppers shop smartly."
Endorsement No-Brainer: Serialized cable dramas for the White Sox bullpen: Kyra Sedgwick is The Closer.
Cubs Snub: The White Sox Report congratulates Yankees skipper Joe Girardi on taking the baton from Jake Peavy, Alex Rodriguez, Brian Roberts, and everyone else who was totally going to walk away from a perfect working environment to come, like, win the Cubbies a World Series, bro, because, like, who wouldn't want to inherit this totally awesome mess? Delusional thinking giving rise to dashed expectations: it's a Way of life.
The White Sox Report: Read 'em all.
The Cub Factor: It's funny because it's true.
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