Earlier this week Buster Olney of ESPN reported that the White Sox told other teams that they’re “open for business” and willing to trade veteran players, and yesterday general manager Ken Williams basically admitted as much:
Some changes need to take place. I don’t know what and I don’t when but some changes need to take place. Things aren’t happening the way that we envisioned and when they don’t happen the way you envision you’ve got to make an adjustment.
I guess I’m not so much on my own time line as I am on other clubs’ time lines. It’s still the early part of June and a lot of clubs are trying to figure their situations out and determine whether they’re in it or not in it or what kind of money they have to spend. There are a lot of variables that go into the mix so even if I want to do something, it’s not always in my control. … It is what it is. I have to listen. It’s not that I want to, but I’m not blind.
Williams added that “other teams seem to want our players,” which certainly seems to indicate that he’s already been shopping various veterans around. Paul Konerko has been linked to the Angels following Kendy Morales’ broken ankle and last week A.J. Pierzynski said he’d be open to a trade, although Monday the catcher will have the service time needed to become a “10-and-5 player” with the ability to veto any deal.
Matt Thornton and to a lesser extent Bobby Jenks, J.J. Putz, and Scott Linebrink could be targeted by teams in need of bullpen help and perhaps Andruw Jones would be a fit on a contender’s bench, but with Jake Peavy’s contract already looking untradeable Williams seemingly doesn’t have a ton of other marketable pieces unless he wants to start unloading guys like Mark Buehrle or Carlos Quentin.
Given his history of bold moves I certainly wouldn’t put anything past Williams, especially considering the team’s 104-116 record since the start of 2009.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.