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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Rumors broke last yesterday evening that the White Sox have been in discussions with the Diamondbacks regarding one of their outfielders. The reason being the D-Backs now have a surplus of outfielders in the wake of their signing of former NLCS MVP Cody Ross. Initial discussions between the two sides apparently involved a swap of some sort involving Alexei Ramirez going to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Justin Upton. However, as talks progressed the Diamondbacks felt more comfortable dealing Kubel rather than Upton, so now the White Sox are presumably in talks with D-Backs GM Kevin Towers regarding Kubel.
Kubel will make $7.5 million dollars in 2013, and the team that possesses him would have a $7.5 million club option for him in 2014. Kubel ranked 4th last year among qualifying left fielders in bases on balls last season with 57; only Martin Prado, Ryan Braun, and Matt Holliday had better eyes than Kubel. Kubel was also a doubles machine last year with 30 two-baggers. In addition Kubel also pelted 30 home runs with 90 RBIs, while sustaining a .327 on-base percentage, which would have been the 7th highest on-base percentage had he been with the Sox, just behind slugger Adam Dunn. Kubel will also turn 31 this upcoming season, and would be 32 by the end of the life of the contract, just leaving his prime production years.
Kubel would most definitely be an upgrade for the Sox, and I belive they should pursue him as he would be essentially replacing recently signed former White Sox AJ Pierzynski’s numbers. But there lies an issue, the Sox already have their outfield set with Dayan Viciedo manning left, De Aza running center field, and Alex Rios patrolling right; there is also no room in the designated hitter role as Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko will be sharing time there this season. Assuming the Sox do not need to trade any major league talent for Kubel, which they shouldn’t, the Sox will probably resume the Viciedo experiment at third base and insert Kubel into left field. If the Sox do require major league talent to land Kubel I will assume that Viciedo would be the talent heading to Arizona, but Arizona would need to include prospects of their own or include money in the deal to offset the loss of a controllable young talent the Sox would giving up for an aging, already free-agent eligable outfielder.
The White Sox need to make a move, especially with the division around them getting better. As I type this article the Indians are finalizing a four year, $56 million contract with Nick Swisher. The Royals have a significantly better starting rotation, and assuming their young core of talent, including Butler, Moustakas, and Hosmer continue to progress, they will be scary. The Tigers signed Torii Hunter, and re-signed starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez. Both moves improved the team as Hunter is a consistent hitter and gold-glove winning outfielder, and Sanchez reinforces the back-end of an already very strong rotation that includes former MVP Justin Verlander, power pitcher Max Scherzer, and the lights-out Doug Fister. If the White Sox can add Kubel they can improve the middle of the order and hide their weaknesses more effectively (Tyler Flowers). The addition of Kubel would create a lineup that looks a lot like this:
1. CF De Aza
2. 2B Keppinger
3. DH/1B Dunn
4. 1B/DH Konerko
5. LF Kubel
6. RF Rios
7. 3B Viciedo
8. SS Ramirez
9. C Flowers
This type of lineup would put a lot less pressure on Flowers to produce considering he has a very talented Ramirez in front of him and a clutch Alejandro De Aza hitting behind him. Flowers could essentially just work on his hitting, and not worry about producing all the time.
Thanks for reading another report from the front office! Please leave feedback and other comments below! Happy Holidays readers!