White Sox look just about set after Pierre trade

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Swinging a trade with the Dodgers for Juan Pierre this morning has the White Sox’s lineup looking more or less set for 2010:
C – A.J. Pierzynski (.300/.331/.425 in 2009)
1B – Paul Konerko (.277/.353/.489)
2B – Gordon Beckham (.270/.347/.460)
SS – Alexei Ramirez (.277/.333/.389)
3B – Mark Teahen (.271/.325/.408)
LF – Carlos Quentin (.236/.323/.456)
CF – Juan Pierre (.308/.365/.392)
RF – Alex Rios (.247/.296/.395)
DH – Andruw Jones (.214/.323/.459)
While fairly solid top to bottom that group certainly doesn’t look likely to score a ton of runs, although Quentin getting back to his 2008 form and Beckham improving upon his solid rookie campaign could change that somewhat. Rios and Ramirez are also good bets to bounce back with better seasons, and re-signing Jim Thome to perhaps platoon with Jones would bring significant pop to the DH slot. Bringing back Thome would also help balance out what is now a very right-handed group.
Pierre gets overrated by people who focus on his speed and batting average rather than his lack of power and plate discipline, but he’s a decent fit for the White Sox’s lineup given the lack of on-base threats. Konerko is the only other hitter in the lineup who had an OBP above .350 in 2009 and he’s obviously not a leadoff option, so by adding Pierre the White Sox can use Beckham in more of a run-production spot and keep the various .300-.330 OBPs lower in the order. Of course, Pierre’s career .348 OBP is hardly great either.
Barring any further changes I’d peg that lineup for somewhere in the middle of the pack, perhaps in the 8-10 range, which doesn’t sound very good until you consider that they ranked 12th in scoring in 2009. Plus, with the deep, talented pitching staff that general manager Ken Williams has assembled the White Sox won’t necessarily have to do a ton of scoring to have success in 2010:
SP – Jake Peavy
SP – Mark Buehrle
SP – John Danks
SP – Gavin Floyd
SP – Freddy Garcia
CL – Bobby Jenks
RP – Matt Thornton
RP – J.J. Putz
RP – Scott Linebrink
RP – Tony Pena
RP – Daniel Hudson
Buehrle, Danks, and Floyd combined to start 95 games with a 3.89 ERA in 2009, so with a healthy Peavy added to the mix that rotation should be among the league’s very best. The bullpen isn’t as strong because Jenks and Linebrink have declined, but Thornton is an elite setup man and Putz getting back on track would be a huge addition. Overall the White Sox have the look a good team rather than a great one, but in a division where 88 wins often gets the job done they’re in solid shape.

Aaron Hicks to go on the disabled list with an oblique injury

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.

Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.

Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.

Report: Phillies making Maikel Franco available in trade discussions

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Phillies are making third baseman Maikel Franco “more than available” in trade discussions.

Franco, 24, is having an abysmal season after showing promise in 2015 and ’16. Through 289 plate appearances, he’s hitting .221/.280/.365 with nine home runs and 37 RBI. His hitting has tanked and his already below-average defense hasn’t shown any improvement.

It’s a bit surprising that the Phillies would be so eager to move Franco with his value about as low as it can go. Franco is also under control of the rebuilding Phillies through the 2021 season, so the team doesn’t have to rush into moving him. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season.

Furthermore, the Phillies don’t have an immediate replacement for Franco at third base. Andres Blanco would likely get everyday starts at the hot corner in the short-term, but as far as prospects go, there are no third baseman banging down the door. If the Phillies were to trade Franco, it would likely have to be in return for a young, talented third baseman who will be under team control for several more years.