Tuesday, September 1, 2009

White Sox, white flag

The Chicago White Sox are now 1-7 on their "make or break" road trip through Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, the Metrodome and Wrigley Field. The trip isn't over, but their season ambitions are. The team broke, and now GM Kenny Williams is sweeping away the pieces.

From late Monday night, but before the 11 p.m. Central deadline for postseason eligibility: Jim Thome to the Dodgers, Jose Conteras to the Rockies. Go figure.

Thome (left) is a slugger in decline, a DH going to a league without the DH and moving from a home-run friendly venue to one of the great pitchers parks. His slugging percentage has slipped each season since he joined the White Sox for the 2006 season, and he hasn't played on defense since 2007.

L.A is picking up more than $2 million in salary the rest of the month for a pinch hitter. And they knew it when they made the trade. From Dodger GM Ned Colletti:

We're not bringing him over here to play first base. We're bring him here to come off the bench and be a great influence in the clubhouse. He's one of the true great guys in the game.

In fact, the night before the deadline he called me. ... He just said: "I just want to be honest with you. I'd love to come. I want to help you guys any way I can. But playing first base is not something I'm going to be able to do -- maybe in an emergency situation, perhaps."

The Conteras deal is even odder, because Thome can still hit. Why anybody would give anything for the aging Cuban right-hander is a wonder. He's 5-13 with a 5.42 ERA — and the ERA understates how many runs he's surrenders, sicne it excludes the 14 unearned runs. And now he's going to Coors Field? Ugh.

Ozzie Guillen kept saying he was pulling the plug on Contreras, then sticking him back in the rotation. That pattern, at least, will now change.

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