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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Your typical Dayan Viciedo recovery

Dayan Viciedo's moonshot home run Wednesday night gives him six over roughly the last month. During that period, since Aug. 3, he's slugged over .580 and brought him one shy of 20 home runs for the season, that magical total that signifies a dangerous power hitter.

The flurry provides a familiar images for Viciedo: putting on a show in meaningless games at the end of the season--often against September call-ups--and providing some late redemption to a challenging year. He finished with near league-average OPS' in 2012 (98 OPS+) when he homered in every game of the concluding three-game set in Cleveland, and 12 hits in the final nine games of 2013--two of which left the yard--gave him a similar figure in 2013 (97 OPS+), and much needed end of year optimism. September, historically, is his second-best month: he's posted a .770 OPS in that time over five seasons.

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Tyler Flowers: Do you have room in your heart for this large, mediocre catcher?

Last off-season, the White Sox made a pretty good bet that I had no interest in them seeing through. They bet Flowers probably couldn't do worst than 59 wRC+ (That's 40% below league average) while allowing more passed balls than half the AL despite only playing 84 games.

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September! A Host Of Mostly Familiar Names Head to Chicago

No, the much-anticipated Carlos Rodon promotion isn't here yet, but the White Sox called up a host of players ahead of Tuesday's series opener against Minnesota, promoting seven players from Triple-A Charlotte.

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White Sox purge more remnants of old, failed core

Typically, August 31 is not a frenzied rush of trades, but when it comes to trading half-useful veterans to contenders with part-time roles to fill, the White Sox were all over it, moving both Alejandro De Aza and Adam Dunn for minor league arms within the same 24-hour period. 

The results are rather strange.

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Where Does Chris Sale Stand Among Cy Young Contenders?

As the season enters its final month, award discussions will amp up. While getting up-in-arms over the results of certain results is often silly and pointless, there is some actual meaning behind them. Hall of Fame voters regularly (rightfully or wrongfully) cite the number of MVP trophies, Cy Young awards, or Top 5-10 finishes when dissecting a guy's career. So while throwing a fit (hello, Mike Trout vs. Miguel Cabrera) isn't always the best idea, these results have some merit.

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White Sox Trade Adam Dunn To Oakland

Well, that didn't take long. The only guy who wasn't going to be around on his current contract with the White Sox next season was traded at the absolute last minute for them to do so. Adam Dunn's contract didn't work out the way the team hoped it would, and he was overpaid over the four years, but that doesn't mean he was terrible. After his historically terrible 2011, Dunn managed an OPS+ of 111 over the next three years. Not great, but playable. Now he goes to Oakland to help revitalize their stuttering offense, and hopefully will succeed with them.

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White Sox Trade Alejandro de Aza To Baltimore

During Game 2 of the double header last night, Twitter started buzzing about the fact that AAA 1B/DH Andy Wilkins was getting hugs and congratulations, indicating a potential call-up. Which would mean, someone had been cleared off of the major league roster. Given the position Wilkins plays, speculation was that it would be Adam Dunn, but it turned out that Alejandro de Aza had been sent to Baltimore for two minor league pitchers. As I write this, rumors are percolating up to a boil that Adam Dunn will be sent to Oakland, but one thing at a time.

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Chris Bassitt To Start Game 2 of Doubleheader Today

The White Sox will play two against the Detroit Tigers today. If the White Sox were competing for the division, my focus today would be Game 1 - the duel of two aces, Scherzer and Sale. And while great pitching is great pitching, the White Sox are rebuilding, and so I am much more focused on Game 2, which will be the major league debut of starting pitcher Chris Bassitt.

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What are we seeing from Jose Abreu?

Jose Abreu's been off his game in August. He's slugging .452 for the month through Wednesday despite maintaining a season figure that's floated in the .600 territory all year. He currently has two home runs for the month, where he's previously never hit less than five in a month. It's clearly been a cold stretch for power production for him.


He's also been awesome.

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A big pile of White Sox notes

Just give Alexei Ramirez the Gold Glove already. I don't say this because he did anything specifically tremendous defensively Tuesday night, but because I presume these awards are won with surprisingly angry campaigns that startle voters into hastily checking the error totals, then complying out of fear.

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