If You Beat Them, Get Them to Join You

This week in White Sox baseball:

Rumors continue to fly about the Good Guys signing Torii Hunter, with the latest reports putting the figures at 5 years and $75 million, but the detail most reports leave out is that this is a terrible, terrible idea. Hunter is 32 years old right now, and has played the majority of his career on the turf of the Metrodome. Yes, he hits a lot of home runs at The Cell. Yes, he covers a lot of ground and yes, he makes highlight-reel catches with alarming frequency. You know who that sounds like? Andre Dawson, and look where those turf-beaten knees went right around his 33rd birthday.

Meanwhile The Sox re-negotiated their club option on SS Juan Uribe’s into a one-year deal worth $4.5 million. This was of course followed by the same lip service we’ve heard before regarding Uribe, this time with GM Kenny Williams saying “We didn’t feel the free agent market or the current trade possibilities were better than what we currently have in-house with him.” Which is funny, because there actually is a pretty good shortstop on the market…but I forget his name. So with the hole at shortstop plugged conceded, the Sox can start working on the rest of the so-called plan KW was talking about some weeks ago.

The bullpen, for starters, although ESPN is reporting the Southsiders are at least trying: before Brad Lidge was shipped off to Philadelphia, the Sox allegedly had a deal in motion to send Ryan Sweeney to Houston in exchange for RHP Chad Qualls, aka The Guy Paulie Hit The Grand Slam Off Of. All spitefulness aside, Qualls is actually one of the few proven middle relievers out there, and would’ve been an immediate improvement by leaps and bounds over the departed Ryan Bukvich and Mike Myers.

Then again, so would I.

It would’ve been nice, but it’s hard to get too down about it when suddenly names like Miguel Cabrera and Carl Crawford are being thrown around. Cabrera sounds like a lock for the west coast, but Crawford and his .300 average and 50 stolen bases? It could be sweet. . .

But while it’s true Crawford is on the trading block, it’s also true he was put up last year and the year before, and you know what? We won’t even torture ourselves by imagining the Sox land him. Even assuming the Rays wise up and move him, there are teams with better-stocked farm systems and less to lose by gambling on one big score of an outfielder – the Twins, for example, who have a wealth of minor-league talent and a gaping hole in the outfield to fill. Throw in the treasure trove the Twinkies can expect in return from whoever wins the Johan Santana lottery, and just like that it doesn’t matter if the Sox’ new CF is hitting 25 more homers than their old one, because lo and behold someone else found a smarter way to get things done.

And it’s hard to face ideas like that: they try to get a little better, but might instead just help someone else get a lot better a lot faster. God I hate this team.