The Catbird Speaks 10.1.14 - This is going to sound dumb in the morning

Most of the gang got together--James Fegan (@JRFegan), Nick Schaefer (@Nick_TCS) and Matt Adams (@2015WhiteSox)--to wrap up the last threads of the 2014 White Sox season, talk about Paul Konerko's goodbye, other weird stories about the Sox roster usage, mourn the bullpen, pine for Melky Cabrera in free agency and...

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Mark Buehrle Extends His Excellent Streak

Last Wednesday night Mark Buehrle shut down the Mariners and in the process eclipsed 200 innings on the season, the 14th consecutive year that he has done so.  In fact, Buehrle has not thrown fewer than 200 innings in any season of his career since a late season call-up in 2000, and has won at least 10 games in every single one of those seasons. Given the recent tributes to Paul Konerko, it seems fitting to give a nod to a guy that I would deem to be his pitching foil for their era of White Sox baseball. 

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We finally get the Konerko send-off we've been waiting for

I loved the Konerko send-off. Was there any doubt? For anyone?

Konerko's contemplative, accounting-for-everything manner always played better for retrospectives than mid-season rallying cries. Sending him off wasn't just rewarding an above-average first baseman for being above-average, but quickly became an homage to White Sox-dom, 1999-2014, with the unexpected and grand flourish of trainers Herm Schnieder and Brian Ball getting acknowledged for keeping Konerko and the roster upright for the last decade and a half. Konerko is the rare star that allows Chicagoans to celebrate championships and true greatness while lauding noble, tragic try-hards who are loyal to the city just for the hell of it at the same time. There was a cheer for a pre-recorded video clip of Jon Garland with a fuzzy drifter beard, a massive Jose Abreu home run and World Series highlights in a four-hour span. It was a rad affair, all things being equal.

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Jose Quintana keeps it 200, and some White Sox notes

Jose Quintana now has the longest run of consecutive 200-inning seasons on the team with two. Individual benchmarks in a lost season, especially ones marking a large workload, are typically for the birds, but Quintana's new identity as a workhorse is especially cool. He spent 2012 being waited on to reveal himself as a fluke, but now is one of the most reliable sources of value the Sox have.

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White Sox Free Agency: Max Scherzer roundtable/visionquest

As our staff has written, the White Sox are going to have a ton of money free this offseason, have demonstrated an ability and willingness to compete in 2015, and a definite need in the rotation.

But will Scherzer be worth the money he will undoubtedly command this offseason? Pitchers are risky investments.

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Counterpoint: I'm rooting for the Royals

Much of the discussion lately among the long-running email thread between The Catbird Seat writers has more or less centered around the AL Central race between the Tigers, Royals and (to a lesser extent) Indians.

With apologies to Detroit and Cleveland, the heart of the discussion has been about the Kansas City Royals and the fact that they appear set to break a 29-year postseason drought with either a Wild Card berth or a Central Division title.

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My Farewell To Paul Konerko

Much has been made about this being Paul Konerko's farewell season. I've been a bit of a curmudgeon about it since it was announced that he would be back for 2014. My objections to his return were both for strategic reasons and emotional ones. The roster, particularly the bench, was looking incredibly inflexible, and having a 1B/DH who can only really hit LHP is a player with narrow uses. Emotionally...well, Konerko really looked like he didn't have anything left at the end of 2013. Besides, it felt like there had already been a lot of Farewell/Lifetime Achievement Award type moments that season, and it didn't make sense to do another lap of that, particularly on what looked to be a rebuilding team with its eyes primarily on 2015. But, that doesn't change the fact that I think he's awesome.

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A hand in the Royals' playoff destiny

Anxiety sets in at different times for everyone, but I started to realize the 2012 White Sox might be screwed on the night of Thursday, Sept. 20, a night much like Monday night. The Sox spent the evening blowing an early 3-0 lead in slow-motion. They at least looked like they could escape a tense ninth inning when Matt Thornton came on with two out to face Eric Hosmer, who would finish the season with a .591 OPS against left-handed pitching.

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Free Agent Wishcasting - Part Two

The White Sox continue to explore new ground as an organization. They have emerged on the other side of Hitting Rock Bottom (2013), Admitting You Have A Problem (2013 Trade Deadline and Offseason), and are now ending Phase One of the Rapid Rebuild. They now have a new, good core around which to build (Sale, Abreu, Quintana, Eaton, and Alexei) and a ton of free agent money to do so. I recommend reading James' article on this topic first, but I wanted to poke around and see what else the White Sox could actually do with their newfound wealth. 

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Where are the holes the Sox should fill?

We've been discussing recently what the White Sox should not bother doing. They should not bother trying to wade into the morass of the free agent catcher market if Tyler Flowers (who naturally followed up Monday night by going 0-3 with 2K) is going to tease at being a league-average hitter. They should not pay up for two starting rotation upgrades if they can get Carlos Rodon to be one of them for the small price of the rookie minimum and the biggest draft bonus in franchise history.

But where should they spend the monies? Obviously.../glances at Tuesday night's box score...somewhere.

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A surprisingly smooth change in leadership/a note on free agency

Paul Konerko has only officially been the team captain since 2006, but has been dominating the locker room in non-dominant fashion for at least a year longer. His demure and honest post-game interviews, ceaseless personal accountability, slavish devotion to routine and labor, and perhaps most memorably, public self-flagellation have been such steady elements of White Sox culture, that part of processing his retirement has been imagining a non-Konerko leadership. Compared to the Konerkocracy, every clubhouse seems like Brohio. Should we go to Brohio? It's the question of a generation.

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Spencer Adams Had A Cool Pro Debut

Understandably, almost all of the attention given to the 2014 White Sox draft class was directed at Carlos Rodon. Heading into Draft Season, Rodon was the highest profile prospect and he represents the White Sox' highest draft pick since they took Harold Baines number one overall in 1977. But the White Sox also made a significant pick in the second round, the 44th player taken in the draft as a whole - Spencer Adams.

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