Sox Drawer: Jeter in White Sox stripes?

325902.jpg

Sox Drawer: Jeter in White Sox stripes?

Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010
12:18 AM

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

Of all the needs the White Sox possess this off-season, finding a new starting shortstop ranks near the bottom, somewhere between another KennyOzzie feud and a second Disco Demolition.

In Alexei Ramirez, they have one of the games brightest, and for the moment cheapest stars. Hes not going anywhere.

But then came the stunning news this past week out of the Bronx: Derek Jeter is available. Arguably the greatest shortstop in a generation, maybe more, has been told by Yankees GM Brian Cashman to test the market after Jeters camp was baffled by the teams three-year, 45 million offer. His agent is reportedly asking for a four-to-five year deal at 23-24 million per season.

Mickey Mantle never made more than 100,000 a year. Times have obviously changed.

Most assume the two sides will eventually come to their senses, and reach an agreement. The Yanks need Jeter, and vice-versa, like human beings need air, food, water and cable TV.

But what if they dont?

What if the Yankees look at Jeters age (36), his career-low batting average in 2010 (.270), the money needed for free agents in 2011 and 2012 like Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Albert Pujols and Jimmy Rollins (yes, even the Yankees have a budget); and conclude that its 45 million or bust for Jeter, opening the door for their longtime captain to walk?

Dont think the Yankees havent discussed the possibility. Why else would they offer him a pay cut of over 7 million a year? Clearly they believe that Jeters best days are behind him.

Or what if Jeter feels so disrespected by the Yankees, and tired of being in the financial shadow of Alex Rodriguez, that he calls the Yankees bluff and spurns them for another team? Jeter has some Joe DiMaggio in his blood. Like Joltin Joe, he can hold a grudge.

Red Sox anyone?

These are questions to consider, especially if youre an American League GM, who by signing Jeter can strengthen your team, while weakening the hated Yankees.

Its the dream scenario.

Jeter did struggle in 2010, but for him that still meant 111 runs, 30 doubles, plus intangibles as a leader that remain at the top of the MLB charts. Considering his competitive drive, plus a burning desire to prove the Yankees wrong if he left, Jeter could have a career renaissance for his new team.

Which leads us to the White Sox. Would Kenny Williams contemplate rolling the dice on Jeter?

Out of wild curiosity, I texted Williams to see if he would bite on the Jeter scenerio. He didnt respond. Wasnt expecting him to.

But honestly, going after Jeter seems right up Kennys alley. Its the kind of headline-grabbing move that has defined the Williams era on the South Side. Kenny likes going after the big fish: Ken Griffey Jr., Manny Ramirez, Torii Hunter, Roy Halladay, Jake Peavy, Miguel Cabrera...even if he swings and misses.

Jeter might be past his prime, but hes still a great white shark. Would Williams just sit there with a player of Jeters caliber available and not see if hell take the bait? Any bait?

On the surface, Jeter on the Sox doesnt seem like a logical fit. For one, Ramirez is locked in at shortstop.

But what if Jeter was willing to play third base? No team has ever won a pennant with a 36-year-old shortstop, let alone 37, which hell be next October. Think the Yankees are concerned about that? Theres even been talk in New York about moving Jeter to left field. Jeter cant play shortstop forever, a switch is coming, it's just a matter of when.

The Yankees captain did win a fifth Gold Glove in 2010, but he's lost a good chunk of his range. Plus, the award is a popularity contest, and we in Chicago know who really deserved the award: Ramirez.

And if A-Rod can move to third, why cant Derek? Then the question is this: Can the White Sox afford him?

Considering their payroll, Williams would seemingly need Bart Conner, Mary Lou Retton, and Nadia Comaneci for the financial gymnastics needed to make room for his salary. Thats a major stumbling block, and extra moves would be an absolute necessity. Plus, Jeter needs a major dose of reality, because hes certainly not worth 23-24 million a season - nowhere close.

Judging by the Sox pursuit of Victor Martinez and Adam Dunn, there is money to be spent. They lost out on Martinez, there's plenty of competition for Dunn, what if they strike out there? Personally, I'd rather have Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski back than take a stab at Jeter.

But the future Hall-of-fame Yankee is out there, his market value has taken a hit - although he doesn't seem to realize it yet.

Derek Jeter to the White Sox?

It may not be as far-fetched as you think.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox sluggers Frank Thomas and Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

Preview: White Sox open series with Royals tonight on CSN

Preview: White Sox open series with Royals tonight on CSN

The White Sox open a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals tonight, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

Coverage begins at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Tonight's starting pitching matchup: Jason Vargas (3-0, 0.44 ERA) vs. Miguel Gonzalez (2-0, 2.84 ERA)

Click here for more stats to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

White Sox snap skid by forcing, capitalizing on Indians' mistakes

White Sox snap skid by forcing, capitalizing on Indians' mistakes

White Sox force, capitalize on Indians' mistakes 

The White Sox haven't had many opportunities to capitalize on mistakes from their opponents lately because they haven't been in a position to force them. 

But in their 6-2 win over the Cleveland Indians Sunday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field, the White Sox put the pressure on the defending American League champions and reaped the results. 

Two plays stand out, both of which came in the sixth inning. After Omar Narvaez drew a leadoff walk, Jacob May put down a well-placed sacrifice bunt between the pitcher's mound and first base line. Indians first baseman Carlos Santana charged in and turned to underhand a toss to second baseman Michael Martinez, who was covering first. 

But the speedy May was hustling down the line, which forced Martinez to awkwardly stretch for the ball. He dropped it, allowing May to reach. 

"Anytime you you have players that are forcing defenses to complete plays you can put them in an awkward position," manager Rick Renteria said. "I don't know that that led to that in particular but he busted his rear end down the line."

That error paid off for the White Sox three batters later — after Tim Anderson and Tyler Saladino struck out — when Melky Cabrera singled to left. Narvaez was aggressively waved home by third base coach Nick Capra (a common practice with two out) but looked to be easily out at the plate on Brandon Guyer's throw. Again, though, forcing the issue paid off: Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez dropped Guyer's throw, allowing Narvaez to score. 

"That's kind of what we've been stressing in spring, play with your hair on fire," Anderson said. "That's definitely something that we've been working on and that's something we can control, that energy level and the way we hustle."

The White Sox were sparked by a three-run first inning, which ended a stretch of 23 consecutive innings without scoring a run. Anderson began with a double off Indians starter Danny Salazar and, after Saladino singled, scored on Cabrera's sacrifice fly. 

Jose Abreu followed with a line drive to right, which fell in front of outfielder Abraham Almonte and skipped past him for a two-base error, allowing Saladino to score. Leury Garcia later delivered a two-out single to score Abreu. 

"Everybody knows how good this Cleveland pitchers are, especially the first two games with (Carlos) Carrasco and (Corey) Kluber," Abreu said through an interpreter. "Our offense was silent. But today we had more life against Salazar. We know him and we did our job."

The White Sox cruised behind that three-run first inning and a solid start from left-hander Derek Holland, who allowed one run over six innings. Holland's only mistake was a third inning hanging curveball to Francisco Lindor, who launched it for a solo home run. But he came back two innings later and struck out Lindor with the bases loaded on another curveball, ending Cleveland's best scoring threat of the game. 

"Just because something happens you got to turn the page and not worry about those kind of things, and get ready for the next one," Holland said. "He may have got me that first time but I got him the second time. So those are the kind of things, you never let something take you away from your game."