The Sox probably aren’t getting Tanaka and life will go on
By James Fegan
Aside from all the rumors bouncing around today about the absolute preference, or the actual translation of tweets of Masahiro Tanaka, the shared feeling of noble defeat sensed by the beat writers about the White Sox pursuit of the coveted starter. They’re a losing team with a smaller fanbase that was offering less money, but were in the final group of teams–what an underdog story!
As nice as it would have been to have another frontline starter signed up long-term, another reason to watch the team and another game on national television in the next decade, missing on the highest-profile baseball import allows the Sox to return to their small-scale, incremental stacking of mid-tier prospects with their budget room intact.
To pre-empt the pain of being passed on, possibly for an improbably motivated north side neighbor, we can transition smoothly to talking ourselves out of Tanaka. The White Sox pull aces out of nowhere, why do they need to buy one!? Wouldn’t it just be worse to have another pitcher lose a dozen 3-2 games? Tanaka relies on a splitter as his main off-speed pitch. You know who else relies on a splitter? Roge–Nestor Molina! And the White Sox already have a Nestor Molina. His name is Nestor Molina and he’s not very good.
Spring Training invites
Though 2014 offers the opportunity to glimpse at a few of the potential bell cows of the franchise during some important development time, the drama–if any at all this Spring–to distract everyone from Tanaka is the fight to fill out the last few roster spots. 21 non-roster invites were handed out.
Dylan Axelrod is a memorable name in this group due to the 20(!) starts he found his way into last season, but names to actually watch for a glimpse of future potential are RHP Chris Beck–who hit the ground running after a late-season promotion to Double-A last year and could see Chicago this year–and IF Micah Johnson. Offensively, Johnson has done little but beat up on younger competition, but someone who steals 84 bases can only be so boring.
Interest in IF/OF Alex Liddi can only be so strong now that Matt Davidson has gobbled up all up the ‘third-basemen of the future’ hype for himself. 1B Andy Wilkins will be around, so it will be fun to see if he can look like someone deserving of a roster spot as a bench bat and make this Konerko arrangement even more awkward.
MLB metal detectors
White Sox fans would have no time to watch Tanaka as of 2015 because they will be stuck in metal detector lines anyway. Cumbersome and unpopular security measures come crawling out of the woodwork at all times, but usually there’s an actual event that inspires a panicked response. MLB has skirted away from that so far, but since there is never not a mass shooting going on these days, the inspiration could be coming from elsewhere…such as the Department of Homeland Security, for example.
Most expressly, it’s time to invest in non-metal hip flasks.
Gordon Beckham is not distracted.
Which is good, since he’s a light-hitting second basemen who needs to be precise on defense and healthy to hold on to a starting major league job. Certainly wouldn’t want unfortunate off-the-field issues to tramp that down any more.