Baseball

Here’s another player who fits the Sox needs almost too perfectly, so getting my hopes up that they sign him is basically folly. Let’s talk about him anyways because it’s snowing outside and what else are we gonna do on a Monday morning?

We’ve gone over ad nauseam about the pathetic output the Sox have gotten out of the RF spot the past few years, but here’s one more stat to hammer that point home: In the past 3 seasons, the White Sox are 29th out of 30 for production out of the RF spot in the major leagues.

They’ve accumulated a whopping 1.3 WAR from RF in those three years, and if Daniel Palka wasn’t playing out of his mind in 2018 this number would probably be negative. In comparison, the teams the Sox are chasing in the Central have gotten 6.9 (nice) and 12.0 respectively (Indians and Twins).

Marcell Ozuna, come on down!

Why Him?: Mostly because he’s young(ish) and hits with pop from a premium position of need for the White Sox. Last season was something of a down year for Ozuna, having a .241/.378/.472 slash line with a 110 wRC+ and 2.6 WAR. He also a +2 DRS for the Cards last season, though he split time in left and right field.

So for a right fielder those aren’t the greatest numbers in the world but even with his down season he still hit 29 bombs in a pretty cavernous Busch Stadium. He’s also only 2 years removed from a .312/.376/.548 season where he hit 37 dingers and drove in 134. In addition, he also won a gold glove that season to go along with his AS Game appearance and Silver Slugger Award.

Honestly, if he were to split the difference between last season and his 2017 one those stats alone would be enough to merit a very hard look by the Sox front office. A .275/.370/.495 line would mark the best production for the White Sox RF position since Jermaine Dye was gunning runners down from out there.

He’s also entering his age 29 season, so it’s not like the regression monster will becoming for him anytime soon. Moving from Busch stadium to The Down Arrow should also help his power numbers. With only 330 to the Sox bullpen in left as opposed to the 338 in Busch you would think that’s worth another few home runs. In short, the Sox should rectify their mistake of not attempting to trade/fleece the Marlins a few years ago by signing him to a 5 year deal.

Why Not Him?: There’s always the question of cost, as Ozuna will likely be the most expensive outfielder available on the market this winter. On top of that, the Cardinals extended him a qualifying offer last week, so any attempt to sign him will cost the Sox a draft pick (though that shouldn’t matter in the slightest, but it’s Rick Hahn).

He’s also not amazing in the outfield, but the Sox are going to have to decide if they’d rather hit the shit out of the ball or have a gold glove caliber outfield because unless you’re the Astros you can’t have both. A +25 career DRS score and a +4.7 career UZR/150 rating isn’t bad, and it’s certainly an upgrade over what the Sox had been trotting out there. Having a fully armed and operational Luis Robert patrolling center field would help as well.

Also, his facial hair is very confusing to me. What is going on here?

How Much Is This Free Resort Weekend?: Fangraphs has Ozuna getting a four year deal for at total of around $70 million with an AAV of about $17.5. Assuming the Sox are always swimming upstream in the free agent market due to the ever-present cheapness of their owner I would think a 4 year deal at $19 million per season would be around his asking price.

He’s also not represented by Scott Boras, so there’s another point in the Sox favor as we all know the long an contentious history between him and Jerry Reinsdorf. The Cardinals are said to be interested in bringing Osuna back, which could potentially create a bidding war for his services though this could just be conjecture dropped by his agency to up his price.

With not much OF help available in the free agency pool in 2021 (other than Mookie Betts, and if you think the Sox will be in on signing him, I’ve got a wall in Colorado to sell and build for you) and not much in the way of assistance coming from the farm system anytime soon it would seem that Ozuna is the best option for the Sox via the open market. I’m not really interested in Nick Castellanos (even though Wes did a pretty good job of selling him to me) as he’s not an OF long term and the Sox have plenty of first baseman. Yasiel Puig could be an option, but I don’t think him and Renteria are gonna get along very well. That leaves us with Marcell, and you can do a ton worse if he’s your right fielder for the foreseeable future.

Get it done, Rick.

 

 

Baseball

vs.

RECORDS: Cubs 24-14   Reds 18-23

GAMETIMES: Tuesday-Thursday 5:40pm

TV: NBCSN Tuesday and Thursday, WGN Wednesday

THEY ACTUALLY EAT THAT CHILI: Blog Red Machine

PROBABLE PITCHERS

Kyle Hendricks vs. Tanner Roark

Yu Darvish vs. Sonny Gray

Jose Quintana vs. Luis Castillo

PROBABLE CUBS LINEUP

Jason Heyward – CF

Kris Bryant – RF

Anthony Rizzo – 1B

Javier Baez – SS

Kyle Schwarber – LF

Willson Contreras – C

Daniel Descalso – 2B

David Bote – 3B

PROBABLE REDS LINEUP

Nick Senzel – CF

Joey Votto – 1B

Eugenio Suarez – 3B

Jesse Winker – LF

Yasiel Puig – RF

Derek Dietrich – 2B

Jose Iglesias – SS

Pitcher

Tucker Barnhardt – C

 

After swatting away their closest competitor over the weekend, the Cubs head to the bouncy castle that The Great American Ballpark is to face the NL Central’s wooden-spooners. But this isn’t the normal Reds team you might be accustomed to, and you might not need to prep for the normal diet of 12-10 games that we got on the reg on the river in the past.

For one, the Reds can’t hit for shit, and the main story is that Joey Votto has been a baseball succubus. It’s almost inexplicable. Votto is hitting .206 with a .293 wOBA and a 79 wRC+. He’s walking less than he ever has and striking out more. More worryingly is his line-drive rates and hard-contact are down as well. He’s actually hitting infield pop-ups, which he literally never did before. Judging by his anemic numbers against change-ups and curves, one might get the impression he’s cheating more and more on fastballs at 35. But he’s not even doing that much with those. He could be carrying an injury, and Reds fans are going to have to hope so because he only has 74 more years left on his contract. Still, this is Joey Votto. He’s only a season removed from a 131 wRC+ and two from a 164. You’re going to have to show us more than just six weeks of bad Votto before we believe Votto is bad now.

It wouldn’t be so glaring if the Reds were getting any help from anywhere else, but only Derek Dietrich and Cubs-murderer Eugenio Suarez have bothered to remember to take a bat with them to the plate. Yasiel Puig, who we were all convinced would show up in the NL Central and torture us for a good few years because of course, has been eaten by the BABIP Dragon and is hitting .226. Jesse Winker has been ok, but only that. They were never getting much offense out of short or catcher, and it’s caught up to them. They’ve gotten prime prospect Nick Senzel into center for now, but he’s still got a huge learning curve to manage. They are decidedly pop-gun.

The Reds would be total shit (and then spread on spaghetti as is their way there) if they’re rotation hadn’t been glittering so far, but lucky for them that part of the machine has kept them within touching distance of .500. Luis Castillo, whom the Cubs get on Thursday, has been everything they could have hoped. When you’re striking out 31% of the hitters you see and getting nearly 60% grounders on the contact you do give up, you’re going to slap some motherfuckers upside the head. So has been the tale. Sonny Gray was perhaps just happy to get out of New York, as in terms of FIP he’s been just as good as Castillo. He’s getting far more grounders than he did in pinstripes, and hasn’t seen every fly ball he gives up land in Vinny from Queens’s beer hey yo. Gray has also gone to a cutter far more often this season with his top class curve. Tyler Mahle doesn’t walk anyone, Tanner Roark does but somehow dances around it, and Anthon DeSclafani is striking everyone out. This is not an easy negotiation.

In the pen, Raisel Iglesias hasn’t been terribly happy with his usage, but is still striking out a ton of hitters though been a bit homer-happy. You’re probably not maximizing Iglesias by not using him in something of a Hader-method as they have before, as he’s been a straight closer so far. Amir Garrett and David Hernandez have been heavy K/heavy walk style as well, but have barely given up anything. The uber-jacked Michael Lorenzen and his tight pants are still here as well. The pitching has saved the Reds and if they ever discover someone else who can actually not pass out at bat they could make a serious move in the division. They’re not ready to contend yet, but you can see where they will be one day soon.

For the Cubs, they’ll hope Anthony Rizzo‘s one-day backiotomy is just that. They’ll try and get Darvish to throw strikes against a team that can’t hit, but that didn’t work last time. Getting though on Gray and Castillo the last two games here is going to be a real trick, but that’s what’s ordered.