Through three games the White Sox’s offense has scored 12 runs while batting .154, and manager Ozzie Guillen is already threatening changes after the lineup combined for 12 strikeouts last night:
When we built this club, I didn’t want people to strike out, and we did too much. If they continue to strike out like that, then we find another approach. With the ball club we have, we can’t be striking out like that. … And they can say whatever they want to say–good pitching, cold weather, whatever it is. Too many strikeouts.
When you talk about this ball club, we can’t have the luxury to strike out with people on base. I think this ball club, we have to put the ball more in play, make things happen. … I’ve seen so many strikeouts with people on base. I know it’s the third game of the season and I know it’s cold, but we had too many strikeouts.
Fair enough, Ozzie, but what do you think of all the strikeouts?
Certainly no manager likes it when his team strikes out a dozen times in one game–and particularly a manager who had one of the lowest strikeout rates in baseball when he was a player–but the White Sox had a total of just six strikeouts in the first two games, have the fourth-fewest strikeouts in the league overall this season, and are actually the only team in the league with more walks than strikeouts right now.
In other words, imagine how worked up Guillen will get if the White Sox actually do start striking out a lot. Incidentally, when Guillen and the White Sox won the World Series in 2005 they had the sixth-most strikeouts in the league.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.