Tuesday, September 1, 2009
And there's the white flag
Well, this was something that I thought should have happened last offseason, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. The Sox traded away both Jim Thome and Jose Contreras last night, dropping the average age of the team by 5 years (10 when we learn that Contreras isn't really 30-something) and clearing a whole lot of cash for...well, we don't know yet. Probably re-signing Danks to a longer deal and then getting a free agent or two to replace the soon-to-be-gap from Jermaine Dye.
In exchange, the Sox sent cash to get these guys out of town and received Justin Fuller and Brandon Hynick. I don't know a lot about these two guys just yet, other than that Hynick (24) looks like he might be up for the 5th starter spot or long relief sooner than later. Don't worry about Fuller, as he looks like Brent Lillibridge part deux.
So what does it mean? There's a couple possibilities:
#1. The Sox want Tyler Flowers to get real experience
Flowers is hardly a defensive catcher, and with AJ being the force that he is right now, it's not likely that he would get the playing time he needs. However, I do see that a DH spot just opened up for a guy with bad fielding skills...
#2. Josh Fields is worth another look
Another possibility is getting Konerko some time at DH and having Fields play 1B more often. I find this less likely simply because Konerko is a great glove at 1B (he may not have the range, but he can pick missiles out of the dirt) and because Fields is allergic to belt-high fastballs.
#3. Scott Podsednik is unloved
If there's one thing I've noticed this season it's that Pods hasn't really gotten a lot of credit for anything since June, and he hasn't really done anything to earn it. With the acquisitions of Kotsay and Rios, KW is saying "I don't think you're an everyday outfielder." That said, expect Pods to be moved to a Timo Perez-like role next season if the basic outfield returns. If the Sox lose Dye or Quentin (or both), then he gets to keep his job in LF.
Lost in all of this is that Quentin's contract (along with Bobby Jenks and a few other choice names) is expiring at the end of the season. As much as I want to think that the money saved on Thome and Contreras will be spent on a large FA acquisition or resigning a lot of these guys, I expect neither. Unless Quentin comes cheap (and with his injury history, he might), don't expect to see a lot of familiar faces next year. The only player who seems to necessitate a new contract is Danks. After that, it's all in KW's wallet.