As the temptation to just start penning White Sox fan-fiction grows with every passing moment, we’re stuck with “A.J. Pierzynski meets with the Rangers” as the relevant White Sox news item of the day.
A meeting is pretty insignificant, or at least opaque in terms of its meaning. A contract could get signed during a meeting, or Rangers GM Jon Daniels could be reminded why A.J. Pierzynski is hated league-wide during a meeting. In any case, the primary suitors for Pierzynski are two teams with worse contingency plans at catcher than Tyler Flowers, superior financial resources, and larger mandates from ownership to win immediately. Logic says Pierzynski is on the move, history says he’ll return inexplicably.
Meanwhile, The Indians are trying to woo Nick Swisher to more or less replace Shin-Soo Choo’s production, with methods that include putting his name and face on the scoreboard at Progressive Field during a visit. Craig Calcaterra and Brandon McCarthy already pointed out how this is an approach more commonly seen at the amateur level, but let’s say it was possible to impress a 32 year-old free agent by putting his name in lights. It would still seem like wowing someone who spent their last four years playing in Yankee Stadium by flashing the wonders of Cleveland would be pretty darn difficult.
Then again, Swisher is from Ohio, so triggering nostalgia might have been the idea, and sometimes, when dating, it can be charming to show how much you’re willing to embarrass yourself.
Speaking of embarrassing, Tim Raines is apparently making appearances in casinos in Yuma, Arizona during the buildup to his latest and greatest shot at the Hall of Fame. He was still below 50% in last year’s vote despite of his strong support in some sportswriter circles, so chances are that his photo ops are not going to get anymore ritzy in the next couple of years.
Speaking of fringe candidacies, Dave Schoenfield of ESPN’s Sweetspot blog rolled out his top 10 power rankings for the 2013 season–the White Sox aren’t on it. The White Sox are the 7th team he mentions having left off his list, andThe Tigers are ranked #3 overall, on the strength of a boffo rotation and a batting order that boasts Austin Jackson, Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder at the top. This is not a reason to give up hope, but this article won’t be featured in any Spring Training “Why I’ve got a good feeling about these White Sox!” posts.
Matt Klaasen of FanGraphs examined the platoon splits trends league-wide. It’s a interesting data set to look at, but also gives context to how extreme some of the Sox cases were. Particularly, I’m referring to Dayan Viciedo. By wOBA, right-handed hitters in 2012 were 7.48% worse against same-handed pitchers than they were against lefties. Viciedo was 35.02% worse.
That’s galling, but also was widely known. It seems obvious now, but when A.J. Pierzynski was making a bid for a 30-home run season,I –and obviously Robin Ventura–lost track of the fact that he really needed to be platooned with Tyler Flowers.
Pierzynski in 2012: Vs. L – .248/.283/.389 / Vs. R – .287/.338/.536
Flowers in an extremely small 2012 sample: Vs. L – .269/.309/.596 / Vs. R – .179/.289/.298
I don’t want to buy much into Flowers’ work–because those righty numbers are atrocious–but it’s not so much about him as it is that Pierzynski’s big year had nothing to do with improving against left-handers, and if they had any belief in Flowers having a pulse, he should have gotten more chances in those situations.
Types “White Sox” into Google……
Ah, so the White Sox apparently offered to completely sponsor–as well as supply equipment and training to–suburban Chicago youth T-ball leagues, on the condition that every team in the league has to include “Sox” in their team name in some variation. As Dan Brown points out, it’s both disappointing that the White Sox had to mar a charitable acting with overbearing self-promotion–He suggests a patch on every jersey instead–but also darkly humorous that Cubs fan parents will be forced to choose between the sensibilities of their fandom and free uniforms for their children.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan