The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Sox Trade Power for Speed

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Dec 14, 2004 5:45PM

White Sox GM Kenny Williams closed a deal yesterday just as Major League Baseball's annual Winter Meetings were wrapping up, sending Carlos Lee to the Milwaukee Brewers in return for Scott Podsednik and Luis Vizcaino.

2004_12_sports_sox_podsednik.jpgLee hit .305 with 31 homeruns and 99 RBIs while playing left field for the White Sox last year. Podsednik finished second in the voting for NL Rookie of the Year in 2003, but slumped to hit only .244 last season. He did lead all players with 70 stolen bases. Vizcaino has had a mediocre 5-year career as a relief pitcher.

Chicagoist questions this trade, and wonders whether it will help the team. The Sox clearly gave up the best player involved in this deal. Although the move reflects the stated goals of Kenny Williams' attempts to revamp a Sox team that has come up short in recent seasons -- despite having teams on paper that looked like division winners. The Sox are trying to find a true leadoff hitter who will be agressive on the basepaths. But which Podsednik will we see? The ROY contender from 2003 who hit over .300? or the .244 hitter of last year? A leadoff hitter needs to get on base! And while the Sox are looking to upgrade their pitching, Vizcaino is clearly no answer to that. He's just a middle reliever and not a very good one.

The trade does free up some more cash to pursue other players available via free agency. By replacing Magglio Ordonez with Jermaine Dye and and Lee with Podsednik, the Sox have cut their outfield salary by about $17 million this season. Hopefully, they use that money to sign one of the quality starting pitchers still available as a free agent. Perhaps Odalis Perez or Matt Clements? Maybe they can work a trade to land the A's Tim Hudson and lock him up long term? How about offering John Garland and Carl Everett? Or what about signing Adrian Beltre? All he did was hit 48 homeruns and bat .334 for the Dodgers last year, and would certainly be the upgrade at third base the Sox are looking for.

The Sox had better make a big move before the season starts in order to attract fans early on. Even if the team has actually upgraded, the loss of Ordonez and Lee have robbed the fans of two favorite players. Fans have turned against Frank Thomas in recent years and have never warmed to Carl Everett. The only offensive star left is Paul Konerko, and his name has been tossed about in trade rumors all off-season. Williams has to balance improving the team with alienating the fan base. If the team wins and nobody's there to see it...