Sunday, January 01, 2006

It Was A Very Good Year

For Chicago White Sox fans, 2005 was a very good year. So we welcome 2006, the first year after the end of the Soxtober drought, with the most optimistic outlook we have had in... well, forever. It can happen for the White Sox, because it has.
  • Jon Garland parlayed his breakout season into three years and $29 million. This is probably less money than he could have gotten on the open market next off-season. The cynic in me says that it's more money than a fall-off season would have netted him, but I'm not sure that's true; the contracts given to Kris Benson and Eric Milton last year weren't tempered enough by the pitchers' mediocre performances. If the White Sox are going to act like major-market team (and if their customer base expands as much as hoped), this is the kind of deal they have to make when given the opportunity. Will Garland be overpaid? Sure, but almost all veterans are comparatively overpaid because the System makes sure they are, because anyone with less than three years of service is automatically a relative bargain.
  • With Garland in the fold, the White Sox' surplus of starting pitching is drawing much media and fan speculation (and, of course, blog speculation, which is partly both). Trades are rumored in the mass media with the Orioles for Miguel Tejada, with the Dodgers and Angels back before Garland's re-up, and now the latest, with the Astros for burner CF Willy Taveras and even Soxtober goat Brad Lidge.
  • Willie Harris is now a Rockie, non-tendered and made completely expendable by the Marte-for-Mackowiak trade. Willie is that close to being a good baseball player; unfortunately, that is being able to drive the ball out of the infield consistently. If he ever learns to turn on a mistake and double down the line, he'll have a decent career as a pesky number two hitter type, because he'll start drawing more walks if the pitchers have to worry about something more than in infield single here and there.
Happy New Year.