Ever since Theo Epstein arrived all I’ve heard about was how he was going to rebuild the Cubs farm system so they had a solid foundation to be competitive for years to come. He allegedly is an expert in this area however he has not done any major minor league improvements to the Cubs.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town the White Sox are putting together a stable of pitching prospects that will surely propel their farm system into one of the top rated systems in baseball. The Padres were so desperate for power they were willing to give up their 2009 minor league player of the year, Simon Castro, a 23-year old starter who has developed some mechanical flaws. Sounds like Dr. Cooper will be fixing another pitcher and turning him into a potential All-Star. The Sox also received another minor league starting pitcher, Pedro Hernandez, who struck out 94 in 18 starts in 2011 between Class A and Class AAA, for sending the oft-injured Carlos Quentin to the Padres. Williams and his staff believe both pitchers have the potential to pitch at the major league level this season.
Quentin leaving seemed inevitable with a crowded outfield that could see his power easily replaced by Dyan Viciedo, and hopefully Viciedo will avoided the injury bug that Quentin never could.
Kenny Williams didn’t stop there, he sent Jason Frasor back to Toronto on New Year’s Day for two more pitching prospects, Myles Jaye and Daniel Webb, both Single-A. Frasor pitched well out of the bullpen for the White Sox last season, but is 34-years old and was inconsistent at times.
Williams first move seemed more puzzling than any of his moves thus far, when he moved recently signed closer, Sergio Santos, to the Jays for another starting pitching prospect, Nestor Molina, who struck out 148 in 23 starts last season between Class A and Class AA.
The bigger news is that the recent moves have freed up money that Williams hinted will allow the the Sox flexibility to make moves if deemed necessary. That’s refreshing to hear since it seemed like they would not be signing any potential free agent upgrades.
If they move Gavin Floyd and/or Matt Thornton before all the pitching free agents are taken I would expect them to sign an available free agent with some veteran leadership to fill the void. Also, let’s not forget the signing of John Danks to a five year $65 million deal with a no-trade clause only in year one.
The White Sox seem to making calculated moves at the moment that could lead to solid nucleus for the future without giving away the entire enchilada. Unless things take an entirely new twist for Williams and the Sox they will be competitive in 2012.