Steel Cage Match: White Sox vs Baseball Prospectus
by Scott Long
In my continuing series of potentially alienating people that I like and respect (Baseball Prospectus and most others in the sabermetrical world), I have put together 10 reasons why the White Sox and Baseball Prospectus have been at odds over the past few years. I'm trying to be chronological on these reasons.
1. Kenny Williams was slammed for his trades of Wells/Fogg for Ritchie and Foulke for Koch/Cotts. (Not good deals, but not as bad as originally considered.)
2. Traded Chad Bradford for Miguel Olivo. In Moneyball, Williams was seen as an idiot for making this deal, which wasn't so bad, considering Miguel Olivo had a decent OPS for his position and was outstanding in certain elements behind the plate, while with the Sox.
3. BP poster boy Jeremy Reed (and Olivo) traded for Freddy Garcia, which is almost universally seen as a horrible deal for Sox, by the sabermetrical community.
4. Traded Carlos Lee for Podsednik/Vizcaino. (Trashed for this move, even though it was done to free up money to sign Pierzynski, Hermanson, and Iguchi.)
5. One of my favorite writers, Joe Sheehan, says the team will be lucky to win more than 71 games in 2005. Most of the other BP writers pick them either 3rd or 4th.
Time for a Brief Intermission: At this point, the White Sox front office are seen as idiots by most in the sabermetrical world. After only managing 1 year, Ozzie Guillen doesn't help this by saying they need to play more small-ball to win games.
6. White Sox end up winning 99 games and having a starting pitching performance in the playoffs that was like something from the '65 Dodgers.
7. Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams, who both wear a chip on their shoulders the size of an anvil, are brash in giving it back to their detractors.
8. Baseball Prospectus' 2006 chapter on the White Sox is focused on the subject of LUCK, discussing how the team overachieved their Pythagorean record by 8 games. At the end, it gives them credit for trying to load up for the 2006 season by trading for Jim Thome and Javier Vasquez. The praise is faint, though, as they take the front office to task for not trading Podsednik or Brian Anderson, instead of Aaron Rowand and Chris Young. I call this talk radio, brain-dead analysis, because the teams they were trading with would not have made these deals, unless Rowand and Young were given in return. BP said the same thing when Jeremy Reed was traded, asking why they didn't give up Joe Borchard, instead? BECAUSE THE MARINERS DIDN'T WANT BORCHARD. Oh and finally when the Mariners did take Borchard, the White Sox got in return one of the best set-up men of 2006, Matt Thornton. (By the way, I didn't like the Vasquez/Young trade, but I think for the first 3 years of the deal, the White Sox will be pretty even on it.)
9. BP's staff picks have the White Sox as a close second to the Indians. (This does nothing to prove my point, but to be fair I have to bring it up. Thanks a lot, Ali Nagib.)
10. PECOTA spits out a record of 72 wins for the 2007 White Sox, despite the team winning an average of 94.5 games the past 2 years and not having a losing season this century, so far.
I can't demonstrate the inner turmoil that both sides might have for each other, but I can say I'm petty enough that if I worked for BP I would root against the White Sox this season and if I worked for the White Sox I would want to rub it in BP's face, if PECOTA ends up being wrong once again. For those of you that think I didn't do enough to prove my point don't push me or I will bring out my trump card to show a bias by the sabermetrical world against the White Sox. Please allow me to introduce a man by the name of HAWK HARRELSON.