1. Maybe the cruelest punishment of following a routine also-ran is spending October watching the Sox shuffle through moves and possibilities that might shift their 2016 record by a half-win or maybe even a whole one, while other teams have the fates of seasons and career legacies swayed by a few outs. There's no easier blog posts to write than "Courtney Hawkins' foot causing him to miss the Fall League will cost him meaningful reps, uh oh" but I've doing this long enough to know how purposeless they are.
2. Courtney Hawkins is missing the Arizona Fall League due to plantar fascitis, uh-oh.
Hawkins is sitting out alongside fellow 2012 draft pick Keon Barnum, who is having knee surgery. Hawkins doesn't look like he's moving toward being the kind of bat that can be a defensive liability, so having nagging issue that impedes his movement is absolute poison, and Barnum's has struggled to stay healthy since the moment he joined the organization. Neither one had strong nor encouraging 2015 campaigns, though at least Hawkins had the excuse of being a 21-year-old in Double-A. Maybe them missing the AFL just saves us from the false hope of getting excited by crazy Arizona numbers, and obscuring the fact that their power potential has not been realized.
It probably just hurts their development, but the solace there is that neither is a future MLB regular either way.
3. Sandy Alomar confirmed to the Sun-Times that he talked to the White Sox about their bench coach job. The relative curtness of his discussion can likely be blamed on the fact that he's still employed as the first base coach for the Cleveland Indians. Alomar is probably the ideal candidate given the restrictions on the position the organization is placing; he's a former player (Priority 1A), very experienced with a revered reputation around the league, is bilingual and has been working in a very saber-friendly organization.
He's such a good candidate that I start to wonder what's in it for him. First base coach to bench coach is a promotion, but not a dramatic one, and is it worth to Alomar to chase a modest upgrade to serve under a manager who has been hemorrhaging assistants and support for the last few years, when he could just bank on the Indians pitching and youth movement raising all boats with a division title next year?
Offering him a lot more money would help, but how much money can you offer before realizing you should really just be paying Sandy Alomar to be your manager?
4. Rick Hahn appeared on the new WLS White Sox Weekly hosted by Rob Hart and addressed the 2015 season and offseason needs:
--Robin Ventura is viewed as a good "10pm-7am" manager with room to improve, and room where he's expected to improve, tactically. Shortcomings in player performance seems to be placed on the shoulders of the players themselves, which, hey, whatever system of accountability they want to choose is fine provided a roster actually hits its expected results one of these years.
--Parsing through how Hahn spoke about Mark Parent and how he described the ideal bench coach, familiarity and comfort with advanced analytics sounds like a disconnect. Hahn also referred to "some things in the clubhouse that he bore the responsibility for," whatever that means.
--Hahn is looking to improve third base, and kinda acknowledged that Mike Olt played terrible in September and his trial was scratching an itch from when they were pursuing him when he still had prospect shine. I believe that reference to their earlier pursuit was how he wound up saying Olt was 24, and not 27.
--The Tyler Saladino as shortstop thing sounds like it has some legs, since Hahn pushed away from identifying him as a third baseman, and mentioned him as "possibly full-time elsewhere or in a utility role," and when prompted to discuss Alexei Ramirez, described him first off as "a 34-year-old middle infielder," before making an allusion to off-the-field distractions possibly hampering Ramirez's first half and saying there was no decision yet for his 2016 option.
--Jeff Samardzija is so gone.
5. Add 30-year-old Daniel Murphy to the list of infield possibilities for next season. The left-handed hitting second basemen with experience at third has a career .294/.341/.442 line against right-handed pitching, and has been overall above-average at the plate for five seasons in a row. Joel Sherman of the New York Post says not only is he likely to walk in free agency, the Mets are likely too cheap to risk him signing a qualifying offer.
Sherman also says the executives he's spoke to think three years, and 30-40 million would land Murphy's combination of high-contact and sketchy defense. Think Jeff Keppinger, but younger and with a more consistent offensive reputation. Wait, I'm supposed to be selling this as an option. Don't think about Jeff Keppinger at all. Jeff Keppinger was never here. Signing infielders on the downside of their prime is what you have to do if you can't produce a .700 OPS from your farm.
6*. Today is a holy day.