Chicago's Inside Pitch

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Beckham's big day

Posted by scotgreg on Thu, 11/06/2008 - 19:48
On Monday, White Sox minor-league director Buddy Bell was raving about Gordon Beckham, one of the organization's top prospects. "He's a good-looking player," said Bell, who has been watching Beckham in the Arizona Fall League. “We believe he's going to be an impact offensive player." Beckham led the University of Georgia to the College World Series in June after being drafted No. 8 overall by the Sox. Playing for the Peoria Saguaros in the AFL, Beckham was 5-for-5 with 7 RBI in Thursday’s 20-9 win over the Scottsdale Scorpions (gotta love those Arizona team names). Beckham hit 2 home runs, tripled and singled twice.

'Cave' expected back in 2009

Posted by scotgreg on Mon, 11/03/2008 - 20:10
You often hear about major-league baseball teams being big, happy families. Well, they often turn out to be more on par with the Manson family. The White Sox continue to buck that trend. Manager Ozzie Guillen played for the Sox, as did coaches Harold Baines, Joey Cora and Greg Walker. Former stars Robin Ventura, Jack McDowell, Bobby Thigpen and Carlton Fisk are around a lot, as are Bill Melton, Bill “Moose” Skowron and even Minnie Minoso. On Monday, there was some more good news on the Sox’ “family” front. After grudgingly sitting out the past season with vision problems in both eyes, Art “Cave” Kusnyer is expected to be back with the White Sox in 2009.

If Griffey's able, Seattle should be willing

Posted by scotgreg on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 21:07
In a perfect world, Ken Griffey Jr. recovers from the knee surgery he had shortly after Tampa Bay eliminated the White Sox from the playoffs. The 39-year-old star signs with the Seattle Mariners and plays out his career under new manager Joey Cora. The Sox cut ties with Griffey on Thursday, hardly a shocking move. The White Sox are a team that is growing old, and there was no way they could squeeze Griffey in with Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, Octavio Dotel, Paul Konerko and Scott Linebrink. Griffey said he wants to play three more seasons, which is probably wishful thinking. But he should be good for another year or two, and serving as Seattle's designated hitter looks to be the best fit.

Three little words: No. Trade. Clause.

Posted by Bruce on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 17:16
Couple of administrative notes first: The Cubs said today that the Brewers have claimed infielder Casey McGehee off waivers. McGehee had a cup of coffee with the Cubs this year after several years in the minors. He's a good kid, and here's wishing him well. In another move, the Cubs outrighted right-handed reliever Billy Petrick to Class AAA Iowa. Petrick battled shoulder problems in the minors this year after getting into a few games last season. The moves leave the Cubs' 40-man roster at 37. Jim Hendry heads to the GM meetings in California over the weekend. He'll try to lay the groundwork for a deal or two. Such a deal could take place in the coming weeks or at the winter meetings, which take place in Las Vegas in early December.

Sox' alarm about to ring

Posted by scotgreg on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 17:10
It's been quiet in White Sox land, real quiet. Since being eliminated by the upstart Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, manager Ozzie Guillen headed for his boat in Miami, Paul Konerko returned home to Phoenix for the birth of his second child, shell-shocked Nick Swisher headed for an island and the Sox' other players scattered near and far. GM Kenny Williams has been biding his time, waiting for the World Series to (finally) end, so he can get back to work. When the Fall Classic does wrap up, an interesting off-season is in store. Here are five things to watch with the White Sox: 1. Third base. This could have, should have, been Joe Crede's position for the next 5-6 years. But a bad back (and agent, Scott Boras) leaves the Sox no choice but to part ways with the classy Crede.

Hendry's task now: Just win, baby

Posted by Bruce on Mon, 10/20/2008 - 14:21
Cubs GM Jim Hendry got his contract extension today. It was neither the three years many thought it would be nor the five that some had reported. Chairman Crane Kenney and Tribune Co. chief Sam Zell settled on four years. In this day and age of short shelf lives for sports GMs, this is nothing short of extraordinary. If Hendry serves out the term of the deal, he will have been on the job for 10 and a half years. Andy MacPhail named Hendry to the post in July of 2002, when MacPhail fired field manager Don Baylor in the midst of a miserable season.

Hendry, Cubs appear close on deal

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 10/17/2008 - 13:08
'Tis the season to talk of lame ducks. Presidents. Nah, baseball general managers, particularly Cubs GM Jim Hendry. Sometime Sunday, Hendry will head to Mesa, Ariz., for the Cubs' annual organization meetings. The biggest worry Hendry might have is whether he'll be going as a lame-duck GM. The answer is probably not. It appears the Cubs and Hendry are close to finalizing a multiyear deal that could keep Trader Jim around for another three years. Hendry may have been feeling a little uneasy because of the seemingly endless process of the Tribune Co. unloading the Cubs. What happens if Hendry were to pick up his one-year option by Dec. 30, only to have the Cubs sold next spring and the new owners saying, "Thank you very much and good-bye?"

R.I.P. Kevin Foster

Posted by Bruce on Tue, 10/14/2008 - 14:54
I wish I'd have gotten to know Kevin Foster a little better. The former Cubs right-hander from the mid- and late-1990s died Saturday at 39 from renal cell carcinoma. In my first spring training on the Cubs beat, in 1998, I walked into the Fitch Park locker room on my first full day, and the first guy I saw was Foster. He was looking to come back from a shoulder ailment that shut him down for two months in 1997. I remember asking Kevin about the shoulder.

Help with Hendry's to-do list

Posted by Bruce on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 12:48
First, a couple of things before we commence to helping Jim Hendry plan his off-season. (He didn't ask me for the help, by the way.) I fully expect the Cubs to pick up the $7 million option on pitcher Rich Harden today. Expect something this afternoon. The Cubs knew of Harden's health problems when they traded for him last July, and that's why he came relatively cheap in terms of what the Cubs had to give up. Second, can it get any sillier than raising a fuss over somebody busting up a water pipe at Dodger Stadium? From what I hear, this is the fourth time this year something like that has happened at Dodger Stadium. No big deal. The Cubs pay the bill, and everybody moves on. And who cares who did it, just like who busted up Sammy's boom box?

They gone

Posted by scotgreg on Mon, 10/06/2008 - 21:03
Well, that's it. The White Sox' season is over, but the mood was actually pretty jovial in the postgame clubhouse. The Sox didn't get out of the first round of the playoffs, but they had a better season that expected. And GM Kenny Williams had that look in his eye Monday night. Without getting into details, Williams said he's going to look for some speed at the top and bottom of the order. This year, Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, A.J. Pierzynski and Ken Griffey Jr. really clogged up the bases, and so did Juan Uribe and Joe Crede (when he was healthy). The White Sox stole just 67 bases, and only the Tigers (63) were worse. Is Williams preparing to pull the plug on all the power? I'd say no, but the White Sox clearly need more balance.