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.

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.