White Sox

The All-Chicago Team: 1960-2011

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The All-Chicago Team: 1960-2011

By Tony Andracki and JJ Stankevitz
CSNChicago.com

This spring, we at Cubs Talk and White Sox Talk have decided to unify Chicago's two baseball teams into one in an effort to pick out the best players to grace each side of the city over the last 50 years. Each Wednesday during spring training, we'll roll out a different All-Chicago team, with today's version being the best Cubs and White Sox players from 1960-1969. Be sure to check out our 1960-69, 1970-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999 and 2000-2011 teams if you haven't already.
JJ: We cannot emphasize enough that this list only takes into account stuff that happened after 1960. We had to make that a hard cutoff date so we couldn't fudge anything -- and because of it, Mr. Cub got left out of the starting lineup. From 1960-1971, Ernie Banks hit .260.315.464 (a 111 OPS) with 284 home runs. From 1988-2000, Mark Grace hit .308.386.445 (a 122 OPS) with 148 home runs while winning four Gold Gloves. For comparison, Paul Konerko has hit 389 home runs since joining the White Sox in 1999 with a 123 OPS. While the main debate will be over leaving Banks off, the most vigorous one should be about Grace vs. Konerko.

Tony: I agree. It's tough to discount anything Banks did while in a Cubs uniform but it's not hard to see why Grace is the option here over the man affectionately known as "Mr. Cub." Konerko is one heck of a player and a fantastic leader so it's hard to leave him off as the starting first baseman, but Grace's defense takes the cake here.

JJ: There were plenty of easy position player calls here: Pudge, Sandberg, Santo, Williams, Sosa and Thomas. There could've been an argument made for Ozzie Guillen over Luis Aparicio based on longevity, but Aparicio was the superior hitter and defender even though he only played six years with the Sox after 1960. Center field was the toughest call -- we went with Chet Lemon, although as you'll see below, there's plenty of debate over that pick.

Tony: My idea to help quell some of the CF debate was to put Sammy Sosa in center, pushing Andre Dawson to right. Sosa played 158 games in center in a Cubs uniform, but as JJ pointed out, he wasn't very good there and that's not much of a sample size. When people think of Sosa, they think of him in right field. It would have been a loophole to place him in center, and would have created a whole other debate.

JJ: When I first suggested Carlos Zambrano for the rotation, Tony was a little apprehensive -- which I'm guessing is pretty indicative of Cubs fans given the starter's ugly departure from Chicago. But in his prime from 2003-2008, Zambrano had a 3.39 ERA and finished in the top five in Cy Young voting more times than Rick Sutcliffe (of course, Sutcliffe won the award, which is worth noting). Nasty breakup or not, Zambrano deserves a spot on this roster.

Tony: Yeah, I initially balked at the idea of Zambrano on any list besides the All-2000 roster. But JJ and I discussed it and I wound up conceding. This whole feature has been about the numbers and statistics and not about sentimental value. By numbers, Zambrano is a no-brainer. His longevity is a huge reason why. By sentimental value...well, he left a bad taste in Cubs fans mouth. I still cringe at seeing his name on this list, but I don't want to take away anything he did on the mound in a Cubs uniform.

JJ: There were plenty of good bullpen names to choose from, and those we left off -- Keith Foulke, Bobby Thigpen, Terry Forster, Sean Marshall -- deserve a mention. So here it is.

Tony: There were so many good relievers to choose from. We even had to leave off Bobby Jenks, the World Series-winning closer of the White Sox, along with the four guys JJ listed. Point is, there just weren't enough spots for all the quality guys. The same can be said across the entire roster. Thank God we expanded to 25 guys, otherwise these debates would have gotten downright nasty.

And now, to the roster:

C: Carlton Fisk
1B: Mark Grace
2B: Ryne Sandberg
SS: Luis Aparicio
3B: Ron Santo
LF: Billy Williams
CF: Chet Lemon
RF: Sammy Sosa
DH: Frank Thomas

Bench: Robin Ventura
Bench: Paul Konerko
Bench: Ernie Banks
Bench: Andre Dawson

SP: Fergie Jenkins
SP: Mark Buehrle
SP: Carlos Zambrano
SP: Rick Reuschel
SP: Greg Maddux

CL: Bruce Sutter
RP: Lee Smith
RP: Wilbur Wood
RP: Hoyt Wilhelm
RP: Carlos Marmol
RP: Matt Thornton
RP: Roberto Hernandez
The final word
Chuck Garfien: Ernie Banks is Mr. Cub and he is sitting on the bench?? He and Luis Aparacio are both in the Hall of Fame and belong in the starting lineup. Banks actually played more games at first base than shortstop. Put him at first. Mark Grace should be a reserve.

My all-time favorite White Sox player is Chet Lemon, but hard to believe you have him as the best centerfielder on either side of town in the last 50 years??!! I know there haven't been too many exceptional CFs, but there is one. Two words: Lance Johnson. He ranked first in triples every season from 1991 to 1994, led the American League in hits in 1995, was an awesome leadoff hitter, quick defender, and had a great nickname: 1-dog. Not sure how you guys missed him.

Carlos Zambrano and Rick Reuschel had long careers on the Cubs. They both had exceptional games, but none of them ever won a Cy Young Award. Lamar Hoyt did for the White Sox in 1983. I know he didn't last long, but he needs to make the team just for that achievement alone -- and also because he was in the trade that brought Ozzie Guillen to the White Sox.

And no offense to Matt Thornton and Carlos Marmol, but have they ever saved 57 games in a season? Bobby Thigpen did in 1990. He's gotta be in the bullpen.

Chris Kamka: First things first, at first base, Paul Konerko is my starter. Mark Grace was a fine player, and I'm aware that his WAR was better, but WAR is something to use in the argument; it's not the entire argument. I strongly disagree that Grace was more valuable to the Cubs than Konerko was, and is, to the White Sox. For me, Grace just wasn't able to produce the power numbers a first baseman should produce (no 20-HR seasons, no 100-RBI seasons despite hitting 3rd or 4th 74.9 of his career). Konerko was the main offensive cog of the Sox' World Series winning team, and could quite possibly retire as the Sox franchise leader in HR and RBI. Grace is certainly deserving of a spot on this roster; I'd just put him at one of the bench spots.

Another spot I'd make a change would be center. In another move that goes against the statistics, I'll take Jim Landis, whose numbers took a hit during an offense-suppressed era. Landis won five Gold Gloves (1960-64), and I once read a quote from the late Jerome Holtzman where he recalls a conversation with Ted Kluszewski in which they both agreed that Landis was a better center fielder than Willie Mays. I do like Chet Lemon a lot though, his offensive numbers are sort of similar to Carlos Quentin, with an OBP inflated by a large total of HBPs, only with a better contact rate (Lemon would also fit in nicely with Ozzie's 2011 Sox -- he had 45 SB and 48 CS while on the Southside).

Jack McDowell vs Greg Maddux is air tight. Maddux has the wins (133 to 91) and BB9IP (2.4 to 2.8), but McDowell has a better win pct (.611 to .543), ERA (3.50 to 3.61), ERA (117 to 112), H9 IP (8.4 to 8.8), and K9 IP (6.1 to 5.8). Can't really go wrong either way, but I felt it necessary to mention how close they are.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comment section below or tweet @CubsTalkCSN or @WhiteSoxTalkCSN. Be sure to check back next Wednesday for the current All-Chicago team heading into the 2012 season.

Sox Drawer Q&A: Is this the White Sox 'Jon Lester' offseason?

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USA TODAY

Sox Drawer Q&A: Is this the White Sox 'Jon Lester' offseason?

Back for another round of questions here in the Sox Drawer. Let's go.

Q: Do you believe this is the Sox "Lester" offseason where they make a large investment in a player for the future? Or are we still one year away from seeing this? — @BCurley3

CG: That's a question many White Sox fans are wondering about. And by the "Lester" signing, I assume you are referring to the likes of Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. I'd like to think that if the White Sox have a desire to sign a big-name free agent, they will make every attempt to do it now and not wait for the 2020 free agents, even if it's coming off a 100-loss season. As general manager Rick Hahn put it in his season-ending press conference, "You can't always control when certain players become available. You can say in 2020 or 2021 we expect to be this, and we know we are going to need X. You can't look at the projected free agent and say that player will be available, much less that player will be a White Sox when the time comes." It might turn out that the White Sox don't sign that marquee free agent this offseason, but going off what Hahn said, I believe they will go all-in when their targeted "Jon Lester" is available.

Q: If you had your choice, would the White Sox sign Manny Machado or Nolan Arenado? — @Dehhmac_

CG: I'll take either. Arenado gets the edge defensively. Machado has the advantage offensively. One stat about Arenado that gives me some pause is his career home/away splits. At Coors Field, he's slashing .320/.374/.609. Away from Coors Field, he's at .263/.318/.469. He's still a great player, but his numbers are inflated due to the higher elevation in Denver. If they don't sign him to a contract extension this winter, I'm curious to see if the Rockies listen to trade offers during the Winter Meetings like the Orioles did with Machado last year. The Rockies are much more competitive than the Orioles, so they might decide to go for it one more time with Arenado. If not, a crazy Winter Meetings just got crazier.

Q: I have long expected this to be the offseason when the Sox start signing free agents. However, lately, I've heard about possible big-name trade potentials. Do you expect trades this early in the rebuild or mainly acquisition through free agency? — @ToddHertz

CG: At some point, the White Sox will probably dip into their farm system to acquire major league upgrades where they see fit. Because there were so many injuries to prospects last season, I'm not sure they've seen enough to know exactly what they have to make those kind trades just yet. However, the one position in the minors where they seem very deep right now is in the outfield. That could be an area they could subtract from to add elsewhere. I think the White Sox timed their rebuild very well with free agency. Last year's lackluster free-agent class was a great time to be on the sidelines. The next two winters will have much better talent available. The White Sox don't have much on the books and will be in a good financial position to make upgrades.

Q: After Eloy comes up in April who's the next guy in waiting and when does he come up? —  @franknacchio19

CG: With two open spots in the rotation, we could see a few prospects compete for starting jobs in spring training. Jordan Guerrero, Jordan Stephens and Spencer Adams are possibilities. All three of them finished the season at Charlotte and could be close to knocking on the door. The next big name after that would seemingly be Dylan Cease, who if he continues to pitch like he did this past season will probably be on the Michael Kopech timeline to the majors, and Kopech came up in August.

Q: If the rumors are true and the Diamondbacks dismantle their roster, which player on their roster makes sense for this White Sox team long term? —  @mr_zablocki

Q: Who would you hypothetically trade for Goldshmidt? — @DaRealScaletta​​​​​​​

CG: Looking at the Diamondbacks' roster, there aren't many natural fits with the White Sox rebuild. Where's the All-Star third baseman on a rebuilding team with a four-year, team-friendly contract? I like Zack Greinke, but he's going to be 35-years-old and has three years and $104 million left on his contract. A 27-year-old Robbie Ray would be solid, but he's under team control for only two more years. Paul Goldschmidt is an all-world first baseman with three Gold Gloves, but he's a free agent after next season. Depending on what the White Sox do with Jose Abreu, who also has one year left on his contract, maybe they go after Goldschmidt next offseason if they don't re-sign Abreu.

Q: Tell a Yolmer story. — @NJBooth20

CG: Yolmer was wearing this cool T-shirt in the clubhouse this past season. On the front, it said "play hard" with a photo of him making Mickey Mouse ears. On the back it said "have fun," and there's the photo of him pouring Gatorade all over himself. I asked him if I could have one of those T-shirts. He said, "50 dollars." I countered with, "How about 30?" With perfect comedic timing, Yolmer came back with, "Make it 10." He might not be the best bargainer in the world, but Yolmer Sanchez is definitely one of the funniest people around.

Q: Why did Nagy run the ball on 3rd and 4?? — @rypie182​​​​​​​

CG: Not sure.

Q: Can I leave a voicemail? Too drunk to tweet. — @HurriKayne26​​​​​​​

CG: Rough Bears game.

Q: Who will be the biggest surprise and/or the greatest improvement for next season's team? — @nicklicious33​​​​​​​

CG: Good question. If he's able to come back, I can think of one person in particular who would be quite an incredible surprise in 2019. That's Danny Farquhar. At home in California recovering from his near-death brain aneurysm, Farquhar is training with the hopes of pitching in the majors again, possibly as soon as 2019. I wouldn't put it past him. He's a special person who has been defying the odds since that horrific night in April. It would be great to see!

Thanks again for all of your questions. We'll do it again next week.

Sorry, White Sox fans dreaming of Patrick Corbin: His free-agent destination might already be booked

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USA TODAY

Sorry, White Sox fans dreaming of Patrick Corbin: His free-agent destination might already be booked

For the biggest dreamers among the White Sox faithful, here's how this offseason might be playing out.

Rick Hahn said the team will make some additions to the pitching staff. So for those dreamers, it's a rush to the top of the list of free-agent starting pitchers, right? Why not hook one of the biggest fish in the pond?

The top of that list looks like this: Clayton Kershaw (should he choose to opt out of his deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and seek a new, more lucrative one), Dallas Keuchel and Patrick Corbin. Some might even have those last two names flipped, with Corbin, coming off an All-Star season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, second only to one of the best to ever throw a baseball.

The White Sox might not be capable of outbidding baseball's biggest spenders, and that's without even mentioning that they might simply not be looking to ink a hurler to a long-term contract. After all, that's what all those talented prospects are for, right? Assembling the rotation of the future? Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are all already part of the 2019 staff. Michael Kopech, when he's done recovering from Tommy John surgery, will join them in 2020. And Dylan Cease was just named MLB Pipeline's minor league pitcher of the year. With all that in mind, any offseason additions to the rotation for 2019 might simply be one-year fill-ins.

But fans often like to dream big, and a lot of them have Corbin on their wish list.

That's not surprising when you look at his numbers. He threw 200 innings last season and struck out 246 batters while finishing with a 3.15 ERA, those last two numbers the best of his six-year big league career. He's 29 years old and a long-term deal would figure to have him in the starting rotation as the White Sox plan to shift from rebuilding mode to contention mode.

Just one problem: There's plenty of belief out there that Corbin's destination this winter has already been booked.

This has been a talking point for a while now, as the Yankees tried to bring Corbin to the Bronx via trade last offseason. They're expected to try to do so again, this time via free agency, as they've got a ton of money to spend. Corbin was quoted in the Nightengale story from April saying: "It would definitely be great to play there. I grew up a Yankee fan."

Sorry to burst your bubbles, White Sox fans. But don't blame me. Blame the Yankees, which seems to be becoming a frequent refrain. If Didi Gregorius' elbow injury means Manny Machado ends up in the Bronx this winter, too, White Sox fans might drop the Cubs as Public Enemy No. 1.

The White Sox have enough hurdles to clear in any pursuit of one of the game's top free agents: They have to compete with baseball's traditional big spenders, and they have to try and beat win-now pitches with a pitch of planned — though not yet arrived — long-term success. It's not like that hasn't been a winning battle before, though, as the rebuilding Cubs got Jon Lester to believe in their future and brought him in to help make their transition from rebuild to championship contention.

But throw in the hurdle of a history between a player and another team, and it makes it an even harder job.

The White Sox will be making some additions this offseason, though they might not be the ones fans are dreaming about. But not landing the winter's biggest fish doesn't mean the organization's biggest, most important dream of building a perennial contender on the South Side is going anywhere.