Monday, July 05, 2004

The Bigger Picture To The Garcia Trade

I found two interesting posts in two different parts of the AL Central Blogosphere (the strongest blogosphere in the AL) about the significance of the Freddy Garcia trade beyohd this year. In fact, these posters see the Freddy Garcia as a potential turning point for the White Sox franchise.

First, Kevin Dever over at 35th Street Mess:

There’s no denying that the Sox gave up a lot, and in reality too much, to acquire Freddy Garcia. The landscape of baseball has changed enough the last two years to make me wonder though how much the losses of Reed and Olivo actually will hurt them.
The new way of doing business in baseball will reward teams with financial flexibility. The Yankees always have this flexibility, but for a team like the Sox it means the fewer long-term contracts the better. Losing Reed and Olivo won’t be as bad as it seems as long as the Sox maintain the financial flexibility to fill the holes their departure creates on a year-to-year basis until they develop their next prized hitter and solid regular at whatever positions it may be. And with $30 million tied up in five players (Buehrle, Konerko, Lee, Marte, and Thomas) they will have money to spend this winter. Whatever one thinks of the Sox financial situation, their payroll assuredly can be the highest in the division.

I'm not quite sure how the Garcia trade gives the Sox financial flexibility, but I do agree that the low amount of money the Sox have tied up next year is an asset. And the Sox taking on some salary with the good core the Sox have is a good thing.

Twins Geek is a little more in-depth, and a little more dramatic:

[Based on the Garcia trade,] The White Sox could make a run, not just into the playoffs, but through the playoffs. Perceived as being close, management could open up their checkbook, keep their core players, and add some difference makers. A franchise that hasn't won a World Series in nearly 90 years, and which is really the only large market in the AL Central, invests an extra $20-$30 million in their team.

The Twins, without a stadium or a TV network, don't match that spending level. They end up in second place for a couple of years, and now the shoe is on the other foot....

Whether it was necessary or not, I think Kenny Williams has anointed these next three months to be the defining moment for the White Sox of this decade. He'll be looking for Ozzie Guillen, his players and especially Freddy Garcia to respond.

(Note - I didn't include Twins Geek's bad scenario - it's ugly). But there is a good point to be made here; a drive by the Sox into and through at least a round of the playoffs may produce the same effect as in 2000, when the Sox added David Wells. Now, even though the Wells move didn't work (Wells' back and dedication to the Sox were less than terrific), it was a move to make the Sox much better before the season, something that hasn't happened since.

I do enjoy thinking about the possibility that the Sox could have a playoff run and then get better next year. But let's have the Sox get to the playoffs first.

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