Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Risky Move

Kenny Williams, never shy to make a bold deal, traded yesterday Aaron Rowand and two top pitching prospects, Daniel Haigwood, and their 2004 first round draft pick, Giovany Gonzalez to the Phillies for Jim Thome. I like the acquisition of Thome, as he has continually put up 30-40 homers and 100-120 RBIs over the past ten years except for his injured plagued season last year and he provides pop in the White Sox lineup from the left side of the plate. In addition, Thome provides insurance for the Sox at first base if they cannot resign Paul Konerko, and the Sox only have to pay about half of the 43.5 million dollars owed to him over the next three years. That being said, I thought the Sox gave up way too much for Thome. While Aaron Rowand is not going to win any batting titles anytime soon, he is a solid .28o hitter and is one of the top three defensive center fielders in baseball. This trade significantly weakens the Sox' outfield defense, which was one of the keys to the Sox' title run. Yes, the Sox have a lot of depth in the outfield in the minor league system with Brian Anderson, Jerry Owens and Chris Young, but when you acquire Jim Thome, who is 35 years old, you're playing for right now, and I am not convinced that any of those three guys can step in for Rowand. Both Owens and Young have not had an at-bat past AA, and Anderson had a tough time catching up with major league fastballs last season. In addition, not only do the Sox give up one of their best position players, they also gave up two top pitching prospects, one of which was their first round pick last year. That seems like a pretty steep price for a guy who has battled some serious injuries over the past year or so and could be heading into the downside of his career. This move will make more sense if Kenny Williams gets in on the Florida Marlins firesale and acquires Juan Pierre. Acquiring Pierre would give the Sox a solid replacement in centerfield and greatly upgrade the speed of the lineup. If the Sox made that trade and resigned Konerko, the Sox could have a pretty fearsome lineup.