Matt Lindstrom Signs On with South Siders

Yesterday news was broke by Jon Paul Morosi that former Rockies and Orioles reliever Matt Lindstrom had signed a one year deal with the White Sox. Lindstrom, 32, split time last year with the Orioles and Diamondbacks, he compiled a 2.68 ERA, with a walk ratio of 2.7 and a strikeout ratio of 7.7.

Newly signed RHP Matt Lindstrom delivers a pitch for the Orioles in 2012.

Lindstrom could very well be the reliever the Sox have been talking about acquiring all off-season as he is a 6 year veteran, and throws pure gas. In addition the Pale Hose only had one more remaining roster spot, and it was for a reliever. I do like the surface numbers Lindstrom has put up over his career, however I do have some major concerns when it comes to this type of pitcher.

My number one concern when it comes to pitchers is league changing. When pitchers go from the National League to the American League they are notorious for getting completely shelled in the beginning of their stint. Example 1 being Ryan Dempster. Last year, Ryan Dempster was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Texas Rangers. Dempster had been lights out for the Cubs but with their rebuilding effort going on Dempster was more worth what he could bring in than what he put in. Before the trade, Dempster had a 2.25 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and  a 2.3 walk ratio. After he was dealt to the Rangers, Dempster regressed heavily. In 12 starts Dempster had a 5.09 ERA, 1.435 WHIP, and his walk ratio jumped up a whole point. The competition in the AL West, with teams like the A’s and Angels combined with the designated hitter rule, was just too much for Dempster to handle. So now I begin to wonder.

Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster fared very poorly for the Rangers in the sceond half of the 2012 season

Lindstrom pitched in the National League exclusively for 5 years with the Marlins and Astros. The beginning of 2012 was the first time he had been on an American League club. Even worse, it was an American League club in the best division in baseball. During Lindstrom’s time with the O’s, he didn’t fare too badly. But the fact that his walk rate with the O’s compared to the Diamondbacks was alomst 1.5 points higher is a little concerning.

I’m not saying this was a bad signing, because I do like the fact that the White Sox went after a veteran reliever with some pop. But what I am saying is that the switching of leagues is something to watch out for , as it may not be a smooth transition. Fortunately, Lindstrom is coming into a pretty weak division even despite all the improvements the clubs have made this offseason. If there is any American League division that most resembles a National League division it’s the AL Central.

Thank you for reading another edition of the Next White Sox GM. If you have any comments on the signing of Matt Lindstrom, or have any ideas of your own please comment below and have your voice heard! Spring Training opening day is only 34 days away, and pitchers and catchers report on February 10th!

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According to a Rival GM: Michael Morse Traded to Seattle in 3-Team Deal

The AL West just got a little tougher today when general manager Jack Zduriencik of the Seattle Mariners pulled the trigger on a three team deal that saw former Nationals outfielder/first baseman Michael Morse head to the Emerald City, also involved in the deal was Mariners catcher John Jaso who went to Oakland. Oakland then sent minor league pitchers AJ Cole and Blake Treinen to Washington, who will also receive a player to be named later from Oakland. Morse was being shopped after Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo re-signed first baseman Adam LaRoache to a two-year deal. With Morse’s first base position filled, and Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, and the newly-acquired Denard Span patrolling the oufield Morse was out of options. Though he could have played second base and been part of a stacked lineup, Rizzo saw more value in the talent that Morse could bring in than having the extra offense lying around in the lineup.

Reacquired Nationals prospect AJ Cole

Michael Morse brought back former Nationals prospect AJ Cole, who was traded away in the Gio Gonzalez deal last year. The year he was traded to the A’s the Nats sold on him high with Cole being the fifty-seventh ranked prospect according to Baseball America. In 2011 at Single-A Hagerstown Cole pitched to a four win and seven loss record, a 4.04 ERA, and a WHIP around 1.2. Solid stats, but they could have been better. What most likely attracted the eye of A’s GM Billy Beane was Cole’s outstanding walk rate which was a relatively cool 2.4 and his high strikeout rate which was at 10.9. In comparison David Price’s career walk rate is 3.0 and his career strikeout rate is an 8.3.

Former National, turned Mariners slugger Michael Morse

Now more on Michael Morse, who will head to a smaller Safeco field, and be placed in the middle of a now formidable Mariners lineup. Before this offseason the Mariners need to address their offensive needs, and badly. Their best hitters were designated hitter Jesus Montero and third baseman Kyle Seager. However, GM Jack Zduriencik has vastly improved their anemic offense by adding former Angel Kendrys Morales and signing former Mariner great Raul Ibanez. Morse just seems to be the cherry on top. Yet there still lies a problem. As noted by MLB insider Jon Paul Morosi: Jesus Montero, though not the subject of the deal is the key player to making this trade work.

But why is Montero so key? Well that’s because Montero, though listed as a catcher, does not actually catch. Of the 135 games Montero played last year, he was the starting catcher for 55 of them, catching 40% of Seattle’s games. With the DH spot now being occupied by a revolving door of Morse, Morales, and Ibanez; Montero will have to find at-bats elsewhere. But the problem is, the elsewhere might not be catcher for the Mariners, it might be designated hitter elsewhere.

A rare photo of Montero in his catching gear.

Montero’s fielding numbers at the catching position are not promising. Last year he let up 7 passed balls, in addition to not really being a brick wall behind the plate, Montero also only threw out 25% of base runners attempting to steal on him. In comparison, 35 year old catcher AJ Pierzynski only let up 8 passed balls in about 71 more games than Montero, and Pierzynski also threw out about the same percentage of base runners. Now don’t go saying “well, Pierzynski is one of the best catchers in the game and got by.” That is not the right logic here, Pierzynski is about 14 years older than Montero and had one more passed ball allowed than Montero, while being the backstop for 71 more games than the younger Montero. In order to get the same kind of at-bats a young power hitter like Montero will need, Jack Zduriencik will most likely need to look elsewhere. The good thing is that a player like Montero still holds significant value considering he won’t be arbitration eligable until 2015, and isn’t a free agent until 2018, which still gives the team receiving him about 5 years of cheap control on Montero.

Now we move on to the Moneyball A’s, who essentially gave up prospects AJ Cole, Blake Treinen, and a player to be named later for catcher John Jaso. Yes, the A’s did a three-for-one trade for John Jaso, That’s what I said when I first heard about the deal, and thought Billy Beane had gone mad. But upon further investigation I started to warm up to why Beane did this deal. Though Cole was an elite prospect upon coming to Oakland, he left under much worse circumstances.

Upon his arrival Cole was placed in Single-A ball with Oakland’s Burlington affiliate. Nothing had changed, Cole improved his whip to a 1.0, dropped his walk rate to a 1.8, and had a dazzling 9.6 strikeout rating, all while maintaining a 2.07 ERA. But then Stockton happened. Cole was promoted to A+ ball, and just fell apart. He was not the same pitcher that left Burlington. Though maintaining a 2.4 walk rate, Cole’s strikeout rate decreased to a 7.3 and his home run rate increased a full point to 1.7. Cole’s ERA also ballooned to a near an 8, and he lost all but one of his starts which was a no decision. Now this by no means indicates that Cole is done, considering his size of good work versus bad work is still about 38 starts to 7, but if Cole did continue to tank then Beane would have been SOL (so out of luck). Thus, it pained Beane to part with a promising prospect of Cole’s caliber, but he got someone who could help the big league club in Jaso.

Going into the 2013 season Beane had planned to have Derek Norris and George Kottaras battle it out for the starting catcher job. Norris who came over with Cole in the Gonzalez trade had had a decent year at AAA Sacremento, grinding out a  slash line of .271/.329/.477 (avg./obp.%/slg% for those who aren’t familiar), Norris also tacked on 9 home runs and 38 RBI’s. Oh, and not to mention this was all done in less than 250 plate appearances.

Kottaras, the other man battling for the job, came over in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers. Though Kottaras doesn’t hit for a high average, he is known for getting on base, something that sources tell me Billy Beane really likes a lot. With Beane ready to let the two duke it out for the job, the opportunity to acquire Jaso came up. Beane had been chasing Jaso for months, and would only let Cole go for Jaso. Jaso was Beane’s man. Jaso is probably thought of so highly by Beane because of his insanely high on-base percentage, which flirted with .400 last year (.394). Having Jaso, who is staying in the same division he played in with the M’s is probably all the more insurance for Beane, as the adjustment period won’t be as long as if he had switched divisions or leagues. Not to mention that 2013 is the first year Jaso is arbitration eligible, and he won’t be a free agent until 2016 which gives Beane so time to think of a creative way to keep Jaso on the cheap.

Billy Beane’s temptress, on-base percentage personified. I mean John Jaso

All in all, I like the deal for all parties involved as the M’s improve their lineup, the A’s get their starting pitcher, and the Nationals stock their system after losing a draft pick from signing reliever Rafael Soriano. This trade was truly a masterpiece, and kudos to Beane, Rizzo, and Zduriencik for making the trade work and make sense for all parties involved.

White Sox News:

  • In White Sox related news, second baseman Gordon Beckham and center fielder Alejandro De Aza filed for arbitration. mlbtraderumors.com anticipates a $3.1 million salary for Beckham and $1.7 million for De Aza.
  • Javier Vazquez is also still on the market, the White Sox, Nationals, and Red Sox are considered front runners, with the Nats showing the most interest.

 

Thanks for reading another installment of the Next White Sox GM, if you have any thoughts on the trade or a question anything else in general please leave a comment.

Position Battles to Watch at Sox Camp

There are thirty-nine more days until pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch. Baseball will be back, and we can all emerge from the disappointment of last season in hopes of succeeding again. However, before the Sox can get their feet off the ground, there are still some question marks across the diamond and the starting rotation. It is imperative that the Sox coaching and player development staff use Spring Training to identify impact players who can help the big league roster and to sort out the best lineup from what they have been given.

Who doesn’t love Spring Training weather, so beautiful.

Starting out the competition will be utility infielder Jeff Keppinger versus incumbent third baseman Brent Morel. Keppinger was signed this past offseason to a 3 year, $12 million deal in order to be the team’s starting third baseman, and he is presumed to be the favorite as of right now. Despite, the signing of Keppinger, Morel is still young and has time on his side. In 2009, Future Sox’s scouting report on Morel projected him to be an average third baseman, and if he can do that he will win the job handedly. Morel’s defensive abilities combined with his decent power could easily net him twenty home run/eighty RBI seasons, but he needs to put it all together first. Last year was not pretty, but we start over again every year, fresh starts, so that players can try again. Here’s to Morel finding his way back to where he is expected to perform, but until then, based on last year’s performance, Keppinger has the third base job locked up.

Utility infielder Jeff Keppinger

Another war to be waged in the Arizona desert will be for the backup starting catcher job. With the departure of AJ Pierzynski, it is now safe to safe to say that Tyler Flowers will be the starting catcher, but who the backup will be is a whole different beast. Currently the White Sox 40-man roster lists three catchers, Flowers, Hector Gimenez, and Josh Phegley. Phegley is ranked as the 11th prospect in the White Sox farm system, and is my personal favorite to win the job. Phegley is twenty-four years old and has only had four years of minor league experience as opposed to Gimenez who has had a ten-year minor league career with four different organizations, including the White Sox. If he was anything special, I feel like he would have shown it somewhere before his age thirty season.

Charlotte Knights catcher Josh Phegley

Despite my feelings toward Gimenez I can also see why the White Sox would like Phegley to remain in AAA for one more season. Phegley regressed a little last year, though his average spiked about fifteen points, his on-base percentage dropped, which indicates impatience at the plate. The Sox are already stacked with impatient free swingers (see Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo, and Gordon Beckham), what the Sox need is someone who can control the strike zone, and take walks. Another year in the minors would allow Phegley to identify bad pitches and try to take more walks instead of taking himself out of at-bats. In addition, Phegley has blood disorder, ITP, which lowers the body’s platelet count. Side effects are increased risk of bleeding and Purpura, which are disgusting red or purple skin discolorations caused by bleeding under the skin. Another year in the minors would be beneficial to see how well Phegley can continue his playing career in spite of having the blood disorder.

The final battle that will be interesting to watch unfold is that of the fifth starter. The White Sox rotation this upcoming season will consist of John Danks, Jake Peavy, Chris Sale, Gavin Floyd, and Jose Quintana or Hector Santiago. Though trade rumors continue to surround Gavin Floyd we will assume the Sox break camp with him. Hector Santiago was an unknown last year when spring training came around, but he broke camp with the Sox and ended up winning the closer job for the first week of the season (before eventually losing it to Addison Reed). Santiago wasn’t exactly a stellar reliever, but he was good enough for about half of the season. The Sox then decided that Santiago would be best fit as a starter and sent him down to Charlotte to stretch out. He came back and made a start against Cleveland on October 1st, and pitched a gem; only allowing one hit over seven frames. The case for Santiago is a little shaky though based on his losing of the closer job, and him also only making one start against one of the worst teams in the AL Central.

Jose Quintana’s story is quite similar, an unknown, he didn’t even break camp with the Sox. Quintana was toiling away in AA when the Sox came calling. John Danks had just been placed on the disabled list and the White Sox needed a spot start. On May 25, against the who-would-have-guessed-it Cleveland Indians Quintana took the bump for six innings, allowing two runs, walking three, and striking out four. This would cement Quintana’s place in the White Sox rotation, and he would go on to make twenty-three more starts for the Pale Hose, winning six and losing six.

White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana

In my opinion, this competition will be close, both pitchers are very similar in stuff, but when in doubt, experience is always the tie-breaker. All in all, this Spring Training should be no different than others. Battles will be fought, positions will be won, and the Sox will be absolutely terrible compared to the Cubs in Spring Training play, prompting Cubs fans to tease us until the regular season begins and everything goes back to normal. Will the battles won in Spring Training help us overcome the Everest that has become the Tigers? I hope so. But the only way to find out is in seventy-five days when Chris Sale takes the bump at US Cellular Field against the James Shields and the new look Royals.

According to a Rival GM: Baltimore & Philadelphia Interested in Kyle Lohse

This is not actually according to a rival GM, but I needed a witty title for what I would make headlines of posts that don’t involve the White Sox, considering they are not always making news, and some moves that other teams make are great to write about from a GM’s perspective. So here goes the first in the series of “According to a Rival GM.”

With the stove heating up for Shawn Marcum, and the Tigers receiving offers from multiple teams for Rick Porcello, Scott Boras and client Kyle Lohse are relegated to the sidelines. As of right now it is January 14, 2013, and Lohse has still not found a place to play next year. But Lohse should not be worried, he wil pitch somewhere next year, as demand for a a pitcher who can get batters out and keep runners off the base paths. The problem that Lohse faces however is that signing him means that the team that does so must yield a draft pick to do so. And for the double whammy, Lohse’s agent, Scott Boras, is one of the most ruthless negotiators in the business; Boras will not rest until he has squeezed every dollar out of the team that he can. Despite all the factors working against Lohse, I believe that the Baltimore Orioles and the Philadelphia Phillies have both the financial flexibility and the willingness to forfeit a draft pick necessary to sign Kyle Lohse.

The Baltimore Orioles need pitching and badly. They have been linked to several free-agent pitchers this off-season, and the trade market for pitching has always included the Orioles. Lohse could very well be their last chance to upgrade their pitching staff, and make another run at what looks to be another very strong AL East. If Lohse can be the missing piece to the Orioles making a deep playoff run there is no doubt in my mind that they would forfeit the cash & the pick to sign Lohse, however, I could only see them signing him for no more than three years as Lohse is thirty-four, and can start to lose his stuff at any point.

Contract Prediction for Lohse-to-Baltimore: 2 years/$24 million with a club option in 2015 worth $13 million.

Yes, I am calling out the Orioles pitching staff, even though they were the 6th best in the AL last year

The Phillies are also a team I could see attempt a run at Lohse. The Phillies are an aging team, whose championship window is closing with premier players like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Cliff Lee getting up there in years. In the past the Phillies have shown a willingness to part with prospects and draft picks, see the Roy Halladay trade, and Cliff Lee signing. With the signing of a pitcher like Lohse the Phillies could push Kyle Kendrick to the fifth spot in the rotation, knocking out John Lannan, and have a rotation of Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Kyle Lohse, and Kyle Kendrick. However, to get a rotation that stacked will cost money which is something that the Phillies have, especially playing in a big market and having a very supportive fan base. Because of this flexibility the Phillies can more effectively eat bad contracts and move on, so I think they would have more guaranteed years but slightly less cash.

My contract prediction for Lohse-to-Philadelphia: 3 years/$30 million with the contract being front loaded so that Lohse would be easily dealt in his later years of the deal.

Lohse in 2007 when he last pitched for the Phillies

Thanks reading my non-White Sox related post, the Sox have been very quiet lately and I hope they can make a splash soon considering we still have trade chip Gavin Floyd and holes at third base and in the bullpen. Not to mention we still have not acquired the left-handed bat we have been searching for all off-season.

Sox Sign Seven Players to Minor League Contracts

Today the White Sox announced that they have signed seven players to minor league contracts. Catcher Bryan Anderson, third baseman Josh Bell, RHP’s Jeff Gray & Ramon Troncoso, LHP David Purcey, and outfielders Steve Tolleson and Stefan Gatrell are all expected to report to White Sox training camp at Camelback Ranch in one month.

Rick Hahn finally breaks the Sox silence and signs seven ballplayers.

The thinking behind these signings is to buy low on players who still have the potential to do above average, but have performed below average thus far in their career. Troncoso, a former Dodgers reliever had one decent year in his four years with the Dodgers, but never really seemed to settle in at the major league level. Josh Bell, a former Baltimore top prospect, is another player who was expected to be the future of his organization, but instead fizzled out once he reached the major league level.

Troncoso spent four seasons with the Dodgers before signing with the Sox.

While most of these players the Sox have signed have never seen big-league action, they were not signed for that purpose. Yes, bring on the rants, and calls for Rick Hahn’s head, but Hahn is building depth throughout the organization to leave margin for injury or underproduction by a current big-league player, and also giving himself the depth to be able to swing a potential trade. One thing that you learn in the big leagues is that you can never have enough arms and the signing of Gray, Purcey, and Troncoso, who despite not having much experience at the major league level, still have it, and can fill gaps in the Sox bullpen if necessary.

Former Orioles Top Prospect, 3B Josh Bell

My favorite signing of the bunch is that of Josh Bell. The twenty-six year old was last seen with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012. In his time with the Snakes Bell was able to get fifty-two at-bats but only managed to get nine hits and collect four walks. Bell’s years in Baltimore were not much prettier; you can check them out here. Despite this lack of production, Bell still provides competition for the third base job, which it seems, will go back to Brent Morel, a player who was absolutely miserable for the Sox at third base in 2012. A little competition never hurt anyone, and you never know this competition may bring out the best in one or the other.

Hopefully some of these signings can contribute to the big league roster in 2013. If not, they didn’t cost much anyway. At least not as much as some other players who didn’t pan out in their contracts.

Sori, don’t look so surprised. (See what I did there? I digress.)

Looking at the White Sox Top Three Prospects

Consensus around the league has the White Sox farm system consistently ranking in the bottom three of the league. Despite this reputation of depleting our farm system, drafting badly, and not being patient enough with our prospects, the White Sox have groomed some very decent major league caliber players from their farm system in a relatively short time. Nate Jones a 2007, 5th Round Pick is contributed magnificently to the major league pen last year. Gordon Beckham and Jordan Danks, who were taken in the 2008 draft are on the major league roster with Beckham being our starting second baseman since 2010, and Jordan Danks just locking down the fourth outfielder job last year. Then the infusion of arms from the 2010 draft that included Chris Sale and future closer Addison Reed has rounded out key contributors the White Sox have drafted and bred for the Major Leagues.

Drafted in 2010, Reed looks to be the next Bobby Jenks for the Sox bullpen.

Going into the 2013 season whitesox.com has ranked slugging outfielder Trayce Thompson, back flipping outfielder Courtney Hawkins, and pitcher Charlie Leesman as the top three prospects in the White Sox organization for the upcoming season. Hopefully in 2013 we will see one of these young men, and they will contribute to the big-league roster just as Gordon Beckham, Chris Sale, and Addison Reed before them.

Drafted in 2008, Beckham has made his presence on the Sox felt since 2010.

Trayce Thompson is currently the White Sox number one prospect, and boy does he look the part as he stands at 6’4 inches tall, and weighs 200 pounds. Thompson is projected to have plus power and speed, and should be an exciting player to watch when does make it to the show. Yet, despite his immense promise Thompson needs more seasoning to perfect his game as he is still needs to learn how to work counts into his favor, and be more selective with pitches he chooses to swing at. But once he gets his eye and patience down pat, he should be major league ready and will hopefully be a fixture in the middle of the White Sox lineup for years to come.

#1 Prospect Trayce Thompson

Most White Sox fans remember the next guy from the draft day video of him doing a backflip shortly after being drafted by the Pale Hose. Fact is Courtney Hawkins is a flat out athlete. He checks in at 6’3, 210 pounds, and is considered by many to already have a major league ready body. Though Hawkins is considered to have quick hands and raw power, he hasn’t been able to fix his hitting mechanics to adjust to pitches other than fastballs. Hawkins needs to work on his moving parts of his swing, and also keep his head on the ball in order to progress to the next level. Hawkins is an average runner and should be able to get the extra base when he is all done developing and into the big-leagues. Overall, Hawkins is raw, but with the right coaching and fundamentals he should be an above-average outfielder with plus power, and a decent defender too.

#2 Prospect Courtney Hawkins doing back flips at the MLB Draft

Charlie Leesman is the third prospect of our top three according to whitesox.com, and he is also currently playing at the highest level out of the three. Pitching in Triple-A Charlotte last year, Leesman compiled a 12-10 win/loss record, 2.47 ERA, and a 1.34 WHIP in twenty-six games started for the Knights. Leesman is a southpaw who throws a fastball that hits around ninety miles per hour on the gun, and also throws a slider and a changeup. Leesman’s pitching style can be most compared to that of former White Sox great Mark Buehrle, as he won’t over power a hitter but he can get a lot of ground balls, which a good defense would turn those groundballs into outs. His fifty-two walks in 135 innings pitched last year, isn’t promising, but Leesman is still on the forty-man roster and has an invite to major league spring training. Don’t expect Leesman to be the reincarnation of Buehrle because he lacks the control, but you can expect him to be a potential 5th starter or a long-reliever for the White Sox in the future.

#3 Prospect, LHP Charlie Leesman at Triple-A Charlotte

In 2013, don’t expect to see any of these names make an impact on the major league roster as there are still kinks that need to be worked out of every one of these guy’s games, and there are also current major leaguers blocking their path to a starting spot. With another year of seasoning the White Sox and their fans will be glad to know that these young players will only get better, and will have easier transitions once they taste the bigs.

Reaction, Performance, Legacy: The Nick Swisher Trade

5 years ago, Kenny Williams pulled the trigger on a shocking trade that would see Nick Swisher leave the Oakland A’s in exchange for White Sox prospects Gio Gonzalez, Fautino De Los Santos, and Ryan Sweeney. After a tumultuous 2007 season which saw the Sox finish fourth in the division, only ahead of the lowly Royals, Kenny Williams needed to make a splash for the team and for the fans; and Williams thought energetic, fan favorite, slugging outfielder Nick Swisher was the man for the job.

Nick Swisher was just coming off of a decent 2006 showing for the Oakland A’s, he hit twenty-two home runs, drove in 69 runners, and maintained a very, very good .381 on-base percentage. Swisher was what the Sox needed after a disastrous 2007 season, a guy who could get on base, and a guy who could drive in the runners who were on base before him. With the Sox in dire need of offense Williams dealt Gio Gonzalez (for the second time), one of the White Sox top pitching prospects, Ryan Sweeney, a promising outfielder, and RHP Fautino De Los Santos. Sox fans were elated to see their GM improve the big club on paper and make the team competitive again considering the team had won the World Series in 2005, and ninety games in 2006.

Swisher's Dirty 30 Mantra

Swisher’s Dirty 30 Mantra

Swisher would join the Sox, and would embrace Chicago, even beginning a Nick Swisher brand for Chicago called “Dirty 30.” However, despite Swisher putting up improved numbers with the White Sox, he struggled with high expectations from the White Sox faithful and was put in the doghouse by then manager Ozzie Guillen. As he began to lose at-bats due to a sub-par average and expectations began to wear down on the usually happy-go-lucky Swisher, his performance suffered more. After making the playoffs in dramatic fashion in 2008, and being eliminated by the Cinderella Rays in four games, Williams decided that Nick Swisher was not a fit in Chicago, and promptly traded him to the New York Yankees in exchange for utility man Wilson Betemit, and minor-league relievers Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez.

Did I mention this was the SECOND time we traded a potential future Cy Young award winner. I cannot stress that enough.

Meanwhile in the Bay area Gio Gonzalez struggled as a starter until 2010 when he blossomed into a decent middle of the rotation starter for the A’s, and continued to improve into 2011. He would be valuable to the A’s rotation and to their future as in the 2011 offseason Gonzalez was dealt to the Washington Nationals for a slew of high-end prospects that were considered major league ready. Tommy Milone and Derek Norris currently contribute to the A’s major league team, with Norris slotted to be the everyday catcher and Milone starting to pitch like a top-end starter. The other two pitching prospects Cole and Peacock are expected to be major league ready very soon and will surely contribute the A’s quest to win the World Series based on a small budget and smart, thrifty personnel moves.

Ryan Sweeney also proved to be useful to the A’s. He proved to be a very capable fourth outfielder who could get on base. This allowed him to stick around the A’s big club for four years before also being dealt with closer Andrew Bailey for slugging Red Sox outfielder Josh Reddick and two Single-A prospects. In Reddick’s first season with the A’s he has proved his worth, hitting thirty-two bombs, bringing in eighty-five runners, and compiling a respectable .305 on-base percentage. In a couple of seasons Reddick could be the new face of the A’s, and it was partly because of Ryan Sweeney that made the deal that brought Reddick to Oakland possible.

Watching you play was painful for me too Wilson.

Back to the White Sox, the Swisher deal that brought back Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez, and Jhonny Nunez did virtually nothing. In Betemit’s one season with the Sox, he saw the plate 45 times, enough said. Marquez, made it to the big leagues long enough to sign a baseball for me, but when he got in, in that one game…barf, two runs in one inning and he was gone again. He made it back to the Yankees in 2011 for three games and hasn’t tasted the bigs since. Nunez came up to the Sox in 2009 for five and two-thirds innings and gave up six runs, he was sent down as well and hasn’t seen major league action since. Case and point, neither Nunez nor Marquez are with the Sox anymore and when they were they were atrocious.

My Jeff Marquez autograph, worth MILLIONS!

My Jeff Marquez autograph, worth MILLIONS!

Ultimately this trade will go down as one of Kenny Williams biggest mistakes, and as one of Billy Beane’s biggest victories. Not only did he fleece Kenny Williams, but he later used the pieces he received in the Williams fleecing  to also dupe Nats GM Mike Rizzo and rookie Red Sox GM Ben Cherington. This trade also goes to show you how bad the Chicago faithful is to their players, Nick Swisher, though having a subpar season for his standards, still did relatively well, after he was dealt to the Yankees he never had a season with an on-base percentage lower than .350 and had been a key piece to their 2009 World Series championship.

Grade: F

Yeah you know you fooled ’em.