Analysis: White Sox offseason trades just don't translate to wins

Nathaniel Whalen

Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf recently said the past offseason was Ken Williams’ best ever as general manager of the White Sox.

On the subject of offseason trades, though, manager Ozzie Guillen said the deal that sent Brandon McCarthy to Texas for John Danks and Nick Masset isn’t even worth evaluating because both teams are in last place.

So, with less than a month to go in the 2007 season, how did the Sox fare with their four biggest trades of the past offseason?

The answer, as it usually does, lies somewhere in between the offseason being the “best ever” and “not worth talking about.”

The deal: Neal Cotts to the Cubs for David Aardsma and Carlos Vasquez

What the Sox got: Aardsma was dominant for the first month or so, then couldn’t get an out when he needed to. He’s closing for Triple-A Charlotte and has 15 saves. He could be called up today, when the Sox were expected to add a few more pitchers to the roster. Vasquez is 4-3 with a 3.10 ERA in 61 innings as a reliever for the Knights.

What they gave up: Cotts made the Cubs roster out of camp but struggled early and was demoted to Triple-A Iowa. They tried him as a starter, but he’s back in the bullpen and is 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA as a reliever.

Advantage: Push. The two main pieces both failed to pan out.

The deal: Freddy Garcia to the Phillies for Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez

What the Sox got: Floyd was the preseason favorite to be the fifth starter but lost the job to Danks and began the year in Charlotte. He’s 1-2 with a 6.92 ERA in 11 games - five starts - with the Sox. Gonzalez, meanwhile, may prove to be the steal of the Sox’s offseason. The left-hander is a Southern League All-Star, posting a 9-7 record with a 3.18 ERA and 185 strikeouts in 150 innings for Double-A Birmingham.

What they gave up: Garcia was 1-5 with a 5.90 ERA for the Phillies and made just 11 starts before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery Thursday.

Advantage: Sox, big time. Though neither Floyd nor Gonzalez has done anything noteworthy at the big-league level, at least the Sox didn’t pay $10 million and two prospects for one win from a free-agent-to-be.

The deal: McCarthy and David Paisano to the Rangers for Masset, Danks and Jacob Rasner

What the Sox got: Danks is the Sox’s fifth starter and, perhaps surprisingly, has been all season, going 6-13 with a 5.41 ERA. Masset was a disaster out of the bullpen, but the Sox see him as a starter. He is 0-3 with a 4.46 ERA for Charlotte. Rasner is 7-10 with a 6.45 ERA for Class A Kannapolis.

What they gave up: McCarthy is 5-8 with a 4.79 ERA but has battled injuries all season and has made just 19 starts. The right-hander is on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade. Paisano is hitting .213 in Class A.

Advantage: Sox. Who knows how the future will play out, but in 2007, Danks has solidified the fifth starter’s spot and pitched well enough, while McCarthy hasn’t been the pitcher Texas thought it was getting. Danks also has one more win than McCarthy, for what that’s worth.

The deal: Ross Gload to the Royals for Andrew Sisco

What the Sox got: Sisco was horrible with the Sox, walking 11 and allowing 13 earned runs in 14 innings. He’s trying to become a starter at Charlotte and is 3-6 with a 4.35 ERA after a Saturday performance in which he allowed no runs and one hit in 5 1/3 innings.

What they gave up: A cutup in the clubhouse, a solid utility player and a left-handed hitter who had put up a very respectable .298 batting average with six homers and 44 RBI in 79 games through Saturday.

Advantage: Kansas City. Gload has been more than solid for them. Sisco? Well, at least he has a cool tattoo on his back.

Conclusion

It appears the Sox got the best of two of their biggest four trades and pushed in a third. And what has it gotten them? A last-place team, once again proving that winning the battle on paper doesn’t translate to winning on the field.

Nathaniel Whalen can be reached at

nwhalen@dailysouthtown.com

or (708) 633-5956. Read his blog at http://blogs.dailysouthtown.com/whalen