The Future Is Now?
On Sunday, the White Sox traded starting catcher Miguel Olivo, top prospect outfielder Jeremy Reed, and AA shortstop Michael Morse for pitcher Freddy Garcia and catcher Ben Davis.
In short. White Sox general manager Kenny Williams was taken for a ride. Yet again.
Before I say anything else, I must say that Freddy Garcia is a very good pitcher. He will help the Sox this year and is better than what the team was throwing out there. But...
*He's a free agent after this season. The Sox have rented him for three months in exchange for a great haul of prospects for Seattle. There's no guarantee the team will be able to re-sign him, and with this organization's history with pitchers, I don't feel confident he'll be back.
*Garcia is moving from a severe pitcher's park to a severe hitter's park. Plus he's a flyball pitcher coming to Coors East in Comiskey. His numbers will almost undoubtedly suffer.
*He's had ERAs of 4.39 and 4.50 the past two seasons. Yes, in 100 IP this year, he's been better. But I'm not going to discount the past two seasons just because he's off to a nice start.
Now the White Sox have a giant, gaping hole at catcher. I believe at this point the Sox have the worst catching situation in the majors. Alomar is old, not productive, and probably just should have been hired as the bench coach instead of Baines. Let's not let 30 at bats this year cloud the fact Jamie Burke is a 31-year-old career minor leaguer. And Ben Davis has been a huge disappointment. A .670 career OPS. Striking out 1 out of ever 3.9 at bats in his career. OBPs routinely less than .300. SLG less than .400. Add to the catching hole the fact that Crede has been struggling all season long and may or may not turn it on. Willie Harris was just in a huge 0-fer slump. Juan Uribe is 4 for his last 31. Aaron Rowand, great against LHP, still can't hit right-handers. And now the team's one productive catcher is gone.
Compare what the Royals got for Carlos Beltran, a superior player, to what the Sox had to give up for Garcia. KC got 3 decent prospects, the best being Mark Teahen. The Sox gave up a starting ML catcher, one of the best prospects in all of baseball in Jeremy Reed, and another Top Ten prospect in the organization in Mike Morse. Seem equal? Of course not. Not to mention that just two years ago all the booty KW could get for All-Star Ray Durham was Jon freaking Adkins.
I know the Sox have organizational depth in the outfield, but Reed was the one "untouchable" guy in the organization. He's a left-handed bat with great patience, decent power, good speed, and the ability to play center field. Reed is the best hitting prospect this organization has had since Frank Thomas. He walks, something most players in the Sox oganization are afraid to do. And if the rumors are true about Bavasi wanting Crede, but the Sox forcing him to take Reed -- well, that's ridiculous. Would you rather see a hole at catcher and Crede at 3B or Olivo catching, Uribe at third, and a Rowand/Perez platoon in CF? Especially since the Sox just drafted Josh Fields in the first round who, god willing, will supplant Crede at third in two years anyway.
"Going for the jugular" and "being aggressive" are great things. But it didn't work in 2001 with David Wells. It didn't work in 2002 with Todd Ritchie. It didn't work in 2003 with Bartolo Colon and Billy Koch. It didn't work in 2003 with Carl Everett and Roberto Alomar. And there is NO guarantee it will work this year either. The difference being never has so much of this team's future been put on the line for potential present success. Olivo still had 5 years under Sox control. Reed hadn't played a game in the majors yet and is just about as sure of a thing as there is in the minors.
If the White Sox make the World Series this year, I'll take it all back. I'll never question KW again. But, I still don't think this team is strong enough to do that. I hope I'm wrong. Nothing will make me happier.
My bottom line? Garcia will help this year, but the only way the trade will make sense is if the Sox make the World Series. If not, we have just mortgaged a HUGE part of the future for the right to finish with 84 wins instead of 82.