Why are we such jerks about the Dewayne Wise signing?


Over the Thanksgiving weekend, where I split my time between family and celebrating my stuffy, spoiled-rotten, overprivileged alma mater earning a bid into the championship game of an inhuman bloodsport, the one piece of work I was able to get done was a post decrying the ills of the Dewayne Wise signing. And it was piled on top of a piece from Nick Schaefer also criticizing the move. What can I say, we were inspired.

So why the hubbub about a 4th outfielder? He’s only making $700K in 2013, which thanks to heavy investments in platoon mashers by traditional eastern powers, is far below the $1.6 million that the average 2012 Opening Day AL reserve outfielder made.

Well, one problem is that Wise won’t help much. He’s a left-handed hitter with a career .272 on-base percentage against right-handed pitching. The 2012 White Sox were a team that struck out at an above-average rate, and were 11th in the AL in walks, and Wise will exacerbate both problems, along with a few others.

But the larger agitation comes from the placement of the Wise at the front of the free agency period, and the implications that brings.. There can only be bad explanations for why a priority is being placed on securing a player who otherwise might have had to settle for a minor league deal, and this sounds a particularly discouraging note on the heels of the Jake Peavy signing that suggested a more aggressive path.

It’s always been a likelihood that 2013 would be a year where the Sox straddled between building the organization from the bottom-up while trying to squeeze out a division title from their aging and high-salaried core. Creative solutions to this conundrum can still be in the works, but starting the Hahn era out by bringing in another familiar reserve that the White Sox have steadily outpaced the rest of the league in their valuation of isn’t it. There’s no potential for surplus value here, only a letdown.

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan