Restoring the rosters: No. 25 – Chicago White Sox

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This is part of a series of articles examining what every team’s roster would look like if given only the players it originally signed. I’m compiling the rosters, ranking them and presenting them in a countdown from Nos. 30 to 1.
No. 30 – Cincinnati
No. 29 – Kansas City
No. 28 – San Diego
No. 27 – Milwaukee
No. 26 – Baltimore
The White Sox have a good chance of finishing at .500 or better for the ninth time in 10 seasons this year, but that isn’t well reflected here. The sterling class of position players developed in the 90s are fading now, with Frank Thomas and Ray Durham both out of the league, and the home-grown pitchers who helped the team at the beginning of the decade, such as Mike Sirotka, Jim Parque and Kip Wells, all flamed out quickly.
Rotation
Mark Buehrle
Brandon McCarthy
Clayton Richard
Josh Fogg
Gio Gonzalez
Bullpen
Jon Rauch
Matt Guerrier
Aaron Poreda
Chad Bradford
Brendan Donnelly
Josh Rupe
Kip Wells
The rotation consists of an ace and four fifth starters, but at least the bullpen should be able to eat innings with Rauch, Guerrier, Poreda and Rupe. One could make a case for putting Poreda in the rotation, but I think he’s a better bet as a reliever right now and he’d get a lot of work in close games as part of this group.
Also worthy of argument is going with Carlos Torres in the pen over Rupe or Wells. But we can let the two veterans duel it out for a month and then replace the weaker of the two.
Interestingly, of the seven relievers, only Wells had any sort of significant career with the White Sox. Guerrier and Rupe were dealt before reaching the majors. Donnelly’s White Sox career consisted of seven starts and two relief appearances in Rookie ball in 1992. Of course, he was released several times before injecting himself onto the Angels roster in 2002.
Lineup
CF Mike Cameron
2B Gordon Beckham
DH Carlos Lee
LF Magglio Ordonez
SS Alexei Ramirez
RF Aaron Rowand
3B Joe Crede
1B Josh Fields
C Chris Stewart
Bench
OF Chris Young
OF Ryan Sweeney
INF Chris Getz
C Mark Johnson
Well, that’s one possible lineup. Personally, I’d probably have Young in left field for the best possible outfield defense, Ordonez at DH and Lee at first base. So many of the guys have similar offensive profiles that there are a lot of different possible lineup combinations that would work. OBP is going to be a problem, of course, but it’d still be a solid group if Ordonez proves he has something left in the tank.
One thing that really stood out as I put all of these rosters together is that some teams seem to have a knack for developing catchers, whereas others can’t come up with anyone viable. Johnson was a legitimate 80-game-per-year guy at the beginning of the decade, but he’s long past his prime now, and Stewart has never been and will never be more than a No. 3 catcher.
Summary
The White Sox have had a better decade than any other team that will finish in the bottom 10 of these rankings. GM Kenny Williams deserves much of the credit thanks to a number of quality trades. However, he also should be blamed for some of the lousy drafts. His choices of reliever Royce Ring with the 18th overall pick in 2002 and upside-less right-hander Lance Broadway 15th overall in 2005 qualify as two of the worst selections of the decade. Then again, he’s had a top-14 pick only once since taking over after 2000 and he scored a big hit then by landing Beckham last year.

Some Mets fans are not happy that Beyonce is playing at Citi Field

Beyoncé performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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The funny thing about that “stick to sports” stuff I was going on about the other day is that, in reality, a whole lot of the people who say “stick to sports” don’t really want to just stick to sports. They’re totally cool going on about political, social or cultural stuff as long as it fits their world view. It’s not “stick to sports.” It’s “don’t talk about the social implications of sports-related stuff in ways that upset me.” If sports and culture come together in other ways, however, they’re completely fine in grinding their axe.

For example, Beyonce is playing a concert a Citi Field this summer. The show is so popular that they added a second date. The Mets’ Twitter feed just announced that tickets will go on sale for the new show soon:

A while lotta Mets fans responded to that negatively. For political/social/cultural reasons that they are willingly bringing in to a conversation about a pop singer and a baseball stadium that will double as a concert venue:

And they go on and on.

How much do you want to bet that a whole lotta these respondents would tell you to “stick to baseball” if you wanted to bring up how race affects the sport or how, if instead of Beyonce, this was announcing a Kid Rock/Ted Nugent-headlined festival and you mused whether that was a case of the Mets somehow endorsing their messages?

The Orioles and Yovani Gallardo are “making progress”

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles are “making progress” in talks with free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo.

Gallardo has been on the market so long because he has a first round pick tied to him due to his declining the Rangers’ qualifying offer. The Orioles would have to forfeit the 14th overall pick in order to sign him. That has been too steep a price to pay for them all winter, but as we’re mere days away from pitchers and catchers reporting, it’s likely that Gallardo’s price has dropped enough to make it worth their while.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons — and had a career-low 3.42 ERA in 2015 — but his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012, suggesting that trouble could be on the horizon.

If the O’s do burn their pick to get Gallardo, it might make sense for them to go all-in with another free agent like Dexter Fowler, given that they’d not have to give up anything else to do it.

Rangers avoid arbitration with Mitch Moreland

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First baseman/outfielder Mitch Moreland and the Rangers have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5.7 million deal.

Moreland requested $6 million and the Rangers countered at $4.675 million, so the two sides settled on the player-friendly side of the midpoint.

Moreland bounced back from an injury wrecked 2014 season to have a career-year in 2015, hitting .278 with 23 homers and an .812 OPS in 132 games. Arbitration eligible for the final time at age 30, he’s set to be a free agent next offseason.

Tiger Stadium redevelopment group loses $50K because of its preference for artificial turf

Navin Field
Craig Calcaterra
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We’ve posted frequently on the topic of the old Tiger Stadium site. If you’ve kept up with it you know that the site, nearly overgrown with weeds and strewn with trash before being rescued by a group of volunteers called the Navin Field Grounds Crew, is now being slated for redevelopment by the Detroit Police Athletic League.

The PAL is committed to keeping a baseball field as part of the development, but they are also, quite unfortunately, committed to putting artificial turf down over the bit of Earth where baseball legends once walked and ran.

Backlash to the plan has begun, however. Not just from people like me or the Navin Field Grounds Crew, who are opposed to fake grass, but to an actual donor to the Detroit Police Athletic League:

With an annual contribution of $50,000 to Detroit PAL’s programs, the Lear Corporation has been a major benefactor of the nonprofit for years. But in light of PAL’s controversial plan to redevelop the Tiger Stadium site with artificial turf, Lear’s CEO is speaking out.

Matthew Simoncini says that Lear is withdrawing its financial support of PAL for its mishandling of this delicate issue.

“I believe the [PAL] plan is severely flawed [and] a terrible use of resources,” says Simoncini. “[It] does not preserve this site and provides [an] unsafe playing surface for the children,”

I’m guessing $50,000 is not the sort of money that will seriously hinder a real estate redevelopment plan, but it’s good to hear someone with a stake in all of this voting with their wallet. Here’s hoping more do and that, eventually, PAL understands that there are some things more important than saving some money at the front end of a project.