Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010
By Brett Ballantini
With rumors, whispers, and team sources ever swirling through the offseason, turn to the BBQ to provide a bit of a reality check. Hey, have you heard the one where Chicago White Sox GM Ken Williams will consider putting second sacker Gordon Beckham on the trading block? Yeah, its a good one. Lets cut through the fat:
So let me get this straight, Williams wouldnt consider dealing Beckham at last years deadline for Adam Dunn, but now hes hanging a sign around the kids neck, inviting all interested to kick the tires?
Yeah at least according to Yahoos Tim Brown, who wrote that opposing clubs expect the White Sox to take offers for second baseman Gordon Beckham in his hot stove piece on Wednesday.
Who are these opposing teams, and what is wrong with their brains?
Thats an excellent question. But on an obviously slow hot stove day, MLB Trade Rumors listed 19 teams who would have interest in Beckham including, fatuously, the intradivisional Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals and the crosstown Chicago Cubs. So, in other words, Williams is not only expected to proffer up the position player with the most upside on his team, but to division and crosstown rivals to boot.
That would seem to completely contradict everything hes ever said about the importance of Beckham, right?
In addition to being a remarkably efficient unit, the White Sox brain trust shoots straight. Williams has made no bones about Beckham being an untouchable on his team he was direct on that at the 2010 trading deadline and is direct about that today. Natch, that always comes with a disclaimer that says that every player on the White Sox roster is available in the right trade. But Hawk Harrelson would sooner take over as GM than Williams would trade Beckham.
Didnt Bacon have a pretty rough sophomore season?
Absolutely. Changing positions again (from third base to second) and getting banged up at seasons end didnt help, but Beckham would be the first to tell you those arent excuses for his subpar play. Defensively at second he was adequate and showed great development on turning double plays as the season went on. Offensively, Beckham lost his gap power stroke (68 percent of his 2010 hits were singles compared to 58 percent in 2009, while his slugging percentage dropped 82 points to .378 in 2010) and failed to get on base sufficiently (an on-base percentage drop of 30 points, to .317), with an overall tumble in walks-per-strikeout (.63 in 2009 down to .40).
Yeesh, is Beckham still a good fit for the White Sox?
Certainly Beckhams third major league season will be huge. His step forward into at least minor stardom must happen in 2011. In the rarest of Chisox circumstances, the teams position player strength is up the middle Alex Rios in center field, Alexei Ramirez at short, and Beckham at second. Williams is well aware that Ramirez-Beckham could be a keystone combination fiercer than any the White Sox have fielded for 50 years, since the Luis Aparicio-Nellie Fox days.
So, no chance Beckham leaves town?
The only way Williams will involve Beckham in trade talks is in order to set up another prank on White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, his staff and Beckham, as he did at the trading deadline.
Yeah, that was hilarious really now, Beckham is in the Opening Day lineup for the White Sox?
Undoubtedly. Beckham is a foundation piece of the White Sox. Even with his atrocious season offensively, he ranked No. 7 on my list of most essential White Sox (and third among position players). He comes at a bargain-basement price and is among the teams hardest workers, the latter making him a consummate grinder, adored by Williams and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.
So you predict a big bounce-back season from Bacon?
Sure do. But dont take my word for it how about the 2011 projections by Bill James, an analyst immutably sharper than me, and a bearded one to boot. James foresees an offensive eruption from Beckham in his third year: career highs in doubles (41), homers (15), runs (81) and RBI (77). For perspective, those projections are generally superior to the numbers Ramirez put up in his 2010 Silver Slugger season.
BBQ Verdict: Blech
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.