Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The White Sox signed Paul Konerko today: 5 years / 60 million. Konerko is not really a great player, but he's been healthy so his RBI totals look nice. He's not really a 12 million / year kind of player, but he's popular in Chicago and there weren't any other great options available. This almost certainly means the end of Frank Thomas as a White Sox. If you have some spare time, check out his career stats. Don't let your jaw hit the floor, particulary his '94 year. He is a 1st ball Hall of Famer. Anyway, a reasonable move for the White Sox to make. 60 million is a lot of money but I'd rather spend it on Konerko than on a guy like B.J. Ryan.

Speaking of 1st baseman, a topic that I haven't really addressed is the Astros' need for a 1st baseman. Obviously this comes down to whether or not Jeff Bagwell can play in '06, but I'm willing to bet we won't know for sure if he can play the field until near spring training, and by then most of the decent 1B's out there will be come. We don't need a guy like Konerko or Delgado, but a solid backup who could definitely start and do fine would fit the bill. In other words, someone better than Mike Lamb, who has his uses but I think is much better suited as an off-the-bench bat than starting 50/100 games at 1B. Let's take a look at what's out there, keeping in mind that whoever we sign needs to able to start if (when?) Bagwell gets hurt or needs time off (and we should give him and Biggio extra time off, hopefully):

Kevin Millar - hasn't hit at all away from Fenway. Pass.

Erubiel Durazo - I like it. Was injured last year, so he might have fallen off the radar a bit, but check out his OPS the 3 years before: 944, 804, 919. He's played in the NL, so he can field at 1B. He's older than you think (30), and he made 4.7 million this year, but he'd probably be willing to sign a deal with incentives - maybe a base salary of 2 million with a chance to get up to 6 million if he does well?

Travis Lee - actually not as bad as you think. A not-terrible OPS (757 last year, 751 career) and what is generally acknowledged as one the best gloves in the game. Think the anti-Lamb (some patience, little power, great glove). Worth 1 year / 1 million (he made 1.3 million last year).

Eduardo Perez - I think he had a bit of a career year last year, and he can't hit righties. He and Lamb would make an interesting platoon if Bagwell got hurt, though.

Olmedo Saenz - Too old, and he doesn't really do it for me.

Mark Sweeney - He's always been a pinch-hitting specialist, but he's been solid the last two years. Thumbs up.

J.T. Snow - Nah.

Frank Thomas - can't field.

I like Durazo, Sweeney, Perez, and Lee the best, in that order. Durazo in particular would fit in just fine if Bagwell went down - think Berkman / Ensberg / Lane / Durazo. Not bad. Gotta run.

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