1. Here's our crack at a scoop (It's not a scoop, it's compiling information reported by others and trying to suss out meaning. It is blogging in a nutshell, whooooa this got existential, and fast).
The White Sox released Kenny Williams' son, the very light-hitting first baseman and former 43rd round draft pick, Tyler Williams. On Monday, news surfaced that Williams put his Gold Coast home for sale. Somewhat similarly, the Sox released Mark Parent's son shortly before firing him, as clearing out their nepotism player personnel decision had to take place earlier in the offseason schedule.
This could be suggested to be sign of the Williams' flock preparing to leave town, but then the slot everyone thought Williams was going to fill as the President of the Blue Jays got taken by Mark Shapiro before the season ended. So...that part of this speculation is a little thin. The part about where he's actually going.
So with that in mind, we can probably hold off a bit longer on speculating whether Hahn stays the GM or moves into an executive role until further notice, but this is the newsiest Sox stuff that's happened all week.
2. The Cubs just did something very cool. They took down a 100-win team in the NLDS, and in impressive fashion. You'd have to have your head in the sand to not notice, and since the Sox just wrapped a joyless dirge to 86 losses, jealousy would be a very human reaction.
What the Cubs success is not, is some sort of new call to action, or shot across the bow for the South Side. I reject the idea of the Cubs' success being a framing device through which to assess the Sox progress, if for no other reason than the Sox have been embarrassing failures by their own modest standards for years now, and having the Cubs set the curve for them is how they got a relative pass on it, by being just slightly better than a franchise going through a hard rebuild.
Maybe calling them to match the progress of a team that looks poised to dominate the rest of the decade (provided they pay money for some pitching and Arrieta and Lester hold up), will produce better results, but it's a bad process. The Sox should be good because they have the financial resources to do so, and huge advantages in pitching development and health maintenance. That's it.
3. Then again, if you're going to go ahead and remind everyone that there's a garish crosstown competency gap.
Which had been preceded by:
4. MLB Trade Rumors has a difficult task trying to compile coherent previews of roster moves and personnel decisions for 30 teams without necessary context, so I'd rather make our own offseason preview than list quibbles, but that will have to wait for later. On the business of some player retention decisions:
Alexei Ramirez - I still maintain that the shortstop market is bare enough that picking up Ramirez's option is the smart play no matter what their larger intentions for him are. Any team interested in Ramirez would probably rather pay for a $10 million one-year rental than sign him to multiple years into his mid-30s.
Adam LaRoche - 75 wRC+ from a 35-year-old first baseman with a $13 million commitment for 2016 is an untradeable performance. He's strictly a platoon guy (-1 wRC+ vs. lefties), and they have to hope he bounces back to be a passable bench-bat, part-time DH, and hope even harder that Reinsdorf is willing to eat some money if he slow starts in 2016. If Robin lets LaRoche hit against another lefty, he should be exiled to Corsica.
Avisail Garcia - Avisail is the unfortunate victim of this. If he had a $13 million commitment while LaRoche was pre-arb, we wouldn't think twice of how to handle this. But you can't give Trayce a real opportunity, find the much needed offensive second fiddle to Abreu, while keeping Melky and LaRoche, and still drag Garcia's stagnant career around. A swap for another prospect in trouble could yield a usable arm. So do it.
David Robertson - Definitely has plenty of value for trade still and relievers are replaceable, but without an obvious candidate to move in (Montas isn't ready and Nate Jones doesn't quite either), the Sox might decide they have enough significant roles to worry about filling without creating more.
Jose Quintana - A guy you plan on keeping until the blockbuster that sweeps you off your feet, actually comes along. Hello Gregory Polanco...
Matt Albers - Did he have too good of a second half? He was a great reclamation project and innings eater, but not a guy who had much business putting up a 1.21 ERA. The groundball tendencies make him a good match for the park, so if they can reach a reasonable deal early in the offseason, he'd be a good guy to have, but could easily make way for Montas.
Geovany Soto - He hit well enough to get an MLB deal, and his defensive issues and the Sox apparent disinterest in him probably means he's gone.
J.B. Shuck - A great fourth outfielder, but also someone who could get a MLB deal and might not want to wait for the Sox outfielder crunch to shake out.
Tyler Flowers - He's a poor-hitting starter, and $3.5 million is an expensive backup, but he's a required presence for Sale at this point. Think about how little money Sale makes! Think about it while you're paying Tyler Flowers.
Jeff Samardzija - No.
Gordon Beckham - Why? No.
Zach Duke - I wish not, but probably.
Mike Olt - Please, no.
5. White Sox in the political world!
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