1. Collin did the thankful job of recapping the Alexei situation so I didn't have to Thursday, which is good, because that means it didn't devolve into 900 words of blubbering, fan-hating snark, and a 10-minute video posted at the end that's just me pointing my finger at the camera and hissing.
I've got 10,000 arguments about how Alexei is actually good and no one appreciates him enough, and one silver lining of him possibly leaving is that I can just spurt them all at once and be done with it. I'm never going to get over Ramirez's single-season 2015 WAR, heavily reliant (more than usual due to position) on single-season defensive metrics, which is known to be awful on a single-year basis, being regularly cited as a paramount reason to cut the cord by serious people, but Ramirez got trashed in years he led the whole team in WAR, so what's the difference?
Probably the biggest issue I have with the decision with leaving behind Alexei Ramirez is a lack of faith. He could easily be upgraded on as a player: his range is declining, all the weird foibles about avoiding contact, not bunting, or really executing specific purpose at-bats ever, add up to something in the end, and the next year he doesn't have to overcome a slow start, or a bad half, will be the first of his career. It's about not trusting the Sox to pay up for a major free agent upgrade, or eating money to bringing a talented but expensive trade target, or having the prospect strength to deal for someone meaningfully better than Ramirez, let alone while addressing their other needs simultaneously. They haven't shown the aggression nor the competence for me to lick my chops at the possibility of finding a new shortstop to replace Ramirez's steady decency.
Perhaps the only solace then, is that I have no idea what the Sox are doing, which could be a welcome change.
2. We're not in the position to thumb our noses at a six-player trade at this point in the season, but when the most exciting names involved are Brad Miller--Ben Zobrist if instead of being a really good hitter, he was just a decent one, and instead of excelling at multiple positions, he's just been shifted around a lot because the Mariners couldn't figure out what to do with him after accepting that he's a bad shortstop--and a 22-year-old outfield prospect with no power, a previous amphetamine suspension and now on this organization, well than you don't have an awesome trade.
In all, the Mariners sent Miller, washed-up first baseman Logan Morrison and erratic reliever righty Danny Farquhar to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for said 22-year-old outfield prospect Boog Powell, righty back-end starter Nathan Karns and reliever C.J. Riefenhauser. I assume they both had their reasons.
For the Sox, it's most interesting that Miller was available, since he's a decent bat once he settles on a position he can't mess up too badly, and that's worth its weight in gold around here. Personally, the dissonance between the Seattle-based rancor about his potential and his actual results has always made him unappealing to me. The last time I saw him in person, he inexplicably underhanded what would have been the last out of the game on a routine grounder, and whipped into his own team's dugout. I will forever be grateful.
3. Josh Nelson of South Side Sox wrote up the White Sox financial situation and what their free agent budget projects to be, based on the work of Jeff Lamb from BP Wrigleyville, Forbes revenue estimates and Cot's Contracts. It's worth your time and energy, and lays out why the Sox will probably be more reserved this offseason than the Jason Heyward spending frenzy that I have basically demanded they carry out. I expect he is very correct that the Sox will only moderately bump their payroll in order to keep their profits stable, and am mildly cheered by the investments in their organizational infrastructure that appear to be taking place over Hahn.
I also don't care, on multiple levels.
As a casual fan, I very much don't care about the Sox limiting themselves to marginal improvements to save their bottom line. Why would I? For the 891st time, lack of interest and corresponding revenue in your substandard product is not a good justification for limiting your investment in improving it.
As a slightly more organizational finances-conscious, 'we need to do the best thing to build a sustainable winner' fan, I don't care. When are you going to outspend your revenue, if not now? Your core is in their mid-to-late 20s, your current farm system will be fortunate to pump out two guys as valuable as the current Sale-Quintana-Rodon-Eaton-Abreu conglomerate in the next three years. If you're not willing to spend to buttress this group, well then I look forward to when that ideal competitive window comes along in 2137, when the Sox are perpetual contenders because aliens attacked the All-Star Game during a season where the Sox only had one representative. Nelson warns of the Sox possibly being unable to find money for Sale and Quintana extensions if they take a bath on the next three seasons. I'm more concerned about the years ahead the Sox are already paying for, rather than spending more on them down the road when they're possibly burnt out.
As a person familiar with the Sox and their relation to the city, I definitely don't care. I negative-points care. I want them to go into the red for the sake of building a winner because that's what they are obligated to do. Between a state-owned stadium with a dummy agency to do their bidding, a state-built and funded bar, and countless other perks and political favors, everyone in Chicago already takes a bath on the Sox, except the Sox themselves. The least they could do is actually build a winner that's fun to watch, since that's all they are good for.
4. Relatedly! Baseball Prospectus' predictions on landing spots for their Top 50 free agents is out. R.J. Anderson predicts the Sox landing Daniel Murphy, Dioner Navarro for platoon mashing catching depth, and Juan Uribe for romantic fan love depth.
"Randy," the random number generator BP uses, presumably to point out the farce of free agent predictions as an exercise, has the Sox getting Justin Upton, Chris Davis and Howie Kendrick.
Randy is the leader we need! Randy is not afraid to spend and win! Randy is the Executive of the Year.
5. Dan Hayes reported earlier this week that the Sox are meeting with former Cubs manager Rick Renteria about their bench coach role. Hayes' source told him that Renteria would be willing to defer to Ventura in the bench coach role, which would be critical in avoiding the situation where an obviously qualified replacement is pushing Robin toward the door while he's still employed.
And Renteria is qualified. He earned his opportunity with the Cubs, oversaw positive development with many of the Cubs core prospects, and only got pushed out because the Cubs had a chance to grab a top-5 manager in the game. The only downside to having Renteria as a bench coach, of course, is that you'd rather have him manage.