Report: White Sox ‘exploring’ potential trade for Andre Ethier

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Going into this offseason, it was unclear whether the White Sox were going to be buyers or sellers. They answered that question by picking up Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie in trades while signing Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro as their new catching tandem.

Many have considered a corner outfielder as the missing piece for Chicago, as Avisail Garcia disappointed to the tune of a .675 OPS last season. Yoenis Cespedes was an obvious fit, but the White Sox were reportedly reluctant to give him a long-term deal. Now that the free agent market has thinned out, the club is keeping an eye on possible trades.

It’s unclear if there have been any substantive talks between the two clubs. Rogers also hears that the Dodgers would prefer to deal Carl Crawford. Either, who turns 34 in April, is coming off a strong bounceback season where he batted .294 with 14 home runs and an .852 OPS over 445 plate appearances. He’s owed $38 million over the next two seasons.

The White Sox also continue to be linked to free agents Dexter Fowler and Ian Desmond. Both players are attached to draft pick compensation.

Must-Click Link: Sherri Nichols, Sabermetic Pioneer

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If you are old enough and lame enough as I am, you may have lurked around on sabermetic message boards in the 1990s. If you did, you may have heard of Sherri Nichols, who back in the day, was a significant contributor to the advancement of statistical analysis, particularly defensive analysis.

While it’s probably better that not everyone is as old and nerdy as me, the downside of it is that most people haven’t heard of Nichols and know nothing about her contributions. That changes today with Ben Lindbergh’s excellent analysis of Nichols and her work over at The Ringer, which I recommend that you all read.

The short version: Nichols is the one who planted the seed about on-base percentage being valuable in the mind of Baseball Prospectus Founder Gary Huckabay, back in the late 80s. She’s also the one most responsible for the rise of zone-based defensive metrics in the 1990s, such as Defensive Average, which she created and which served as the basis for other such metrics going forward. She also played a critical role in the development of RetroSheet, which collected almost all extant box score and play-by-play information going back to the turn of the 20th century, thereby making so much of the information available at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs possible. A key contribution there: making the information free and available to everyone, rather than closing the underlying data off as proprietary and either charging for access or keeping it in-house like some recent data collectors have chosen to do. Ahem.

A larger takeaway than all of Nichols’ contributions is just how loathe the baseball community was to listen to a woman back then. I mean, yeah, they’re still loathe to listen to women now, as indicated by the small number of women who hold jobs in baseball operations departments, but back then it was even worse, as evidenced by Lindbergh’s stories and Nichols’ anecdotes.

A great read and a great history lesson.