If you told me the White Sox would be in first place after the opening week of baseball, I probably would have laughed in your face. Opening on the road at Cleveland followed by Detroit? Considering what they looked like last year, I would have said they'd lucky to fininsh 2-4. But it's apparent with the on-the-field product what everyone is starting to say: These aren't your 2007 White Sox. Granted, it's only seven games in, but even the players and coaches are acknowledging it,
"I don't know if I ever seen a team fighting this hard in every at-bat. They're getting after it". - Greg Walker
So far, the Jon Garland-for-Orlando Cabrera swap is paying off for Kenny Williams, as Garland got his ass lit up by the Texas Rangers in last start: 5 IP, 8H, 7 ER, 2 HR's. Now, he did pitch well in the first game: 8 IP, 6H, 1ER; but he only has 2K's thus far. While I'm not totally sold the deal is going to pay off in the long run considering Cabrera is 33, there's no question he makes the Sox better both defensively and offensively.
As for the Swisher trade, you can consider that one an official raping of Billy Beane. Swisher is hitting his peak at 27, and has this remaining as his contract:
- $3.5 million in 2008,
- $5.3 million in 2009,
- $6.75 million in 2010 and
- $9 million in 2011.
- The club holds a $10.25 million for 2012, with a $1 million buyout.
In other words, locked up for dirt fucking cheap through 2012. What about Gio Gonzalez and Fautino De Los Santos? Gonzalez is at AAA Sacramento, where is 0-0 with a 3 ERA after one start. De Los Santos is in High A at Stockton, where he's 0-1 also with a 3 ERA after pitching 6 Inn. The trade kinda reminds me of when the Sox dealt a package that included their top outfield prospect, Jeremy Reed to get Freddy Garcia from the Mariners. Where's Reed? AAA Tacoma hitting .273 along side former Sox first basemen Greg Norton.
The point is this: It sucks to trade away your young talent, and eventually it will hurt you, but trading for proven commodities is something that will usually go your way. All of the Jeremy Reeds, Joe Borchards and Royce Ring's usually don't amount to jack shit. Garcia was crucial to the Sox winning in 05'. Swisher is crucial in OBP, and providing a little something in the clubhouse that was missing last year: Accountability.
Yes, these Sox needed a fucking wake-up call from the lackluster summer before to remind them that this club can still get the job done. And it's needs to do so sooner then later. While I'm still realistic that it's an aging ballclub that could fall apart at any time, it's nice to finally have something that hasn't shown up in at least year in this, our Chicago sports scene: Hope.