White Sox Sign Andruw and Omar, Consider Coco

GM Ken Williams clearly has fond memories of days gone by.  This week, that fondness was exposed as the White Sox announced the signing of Andruw Jones to a 1 year contract for $500,000, and Omar Vizquel to a 1 year contract for $1.375 million.  Coco Crisp?  Yeah he’s on their radar as well.

Remember when Andruw Jones was a 22 year old up and coming player for the Atlanta Braves?  He had just finished the 1999 season by hitting 0.275/.365/.483 with 26 HR, 24 SB, and an OPS+ of 113.  He won the 2nd of 10 straight Gold Glove Awards that season and was in the middle of a 3 year run with a WAR above 7.

Remember when Omar Vizquel had almost worked himself into the conversation of best AL SS joining Nomar, Jeter, and A-Rod?  1999 proved to be one of Omar’s best seasons as he hit 0.333/.397/.436 with 42 SB and an OPS+ of 110.  He won his 7th of 9 straight Gold Glove Awards and finished the year with a 6.6 WAR.  It was the only season in his career where his WAR topped 4.0.

Ah the good old days.  Memo to Ken Williams; I’m still a huge fan, but those good old days were over 10 years ago.

Andrew Jones is “just” 32 years old, but in baseball years he’s pushing 40.  His skills have dropped off significantly across the board.  After a -0.9 WAR in 2008, he “bounced” back in 2009 to post a 0.8 WAR.  At this stage, Jones represents nothing more than a replacement level player, if that.  I’m not sure he’s even worth $500,000 these days.

Omar Vizquel isn’t pushing 40, he’s actually 42, but he still brings an excellent glove with him when he steps on the field.  Similar to Jones, Vizquel had a negative WAR in 2008, -0.4 to be exact, but bounced back in 2009 to post a WAR of 1.2.  He was signed for defense, and his UZR/150 at SS the last 3 years has been 20.6, 13.1, and 32.6.  He’s a leader and a defensive whiz so even if he couldn’t hit a lick, he would be a solid signing for any team.  His presence should help Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez significantly, but on top of the quality defense and the ability to teach and mentor, Omar isn’t completely worthless with the bat in his hands.

One of the biggest problems with the 2009 version of the White Sox, in my opinion, was the advanced age of the roster relative to the other teams in the AL Central.  Despite the departures of Thome, Dye, and Contreras it seems like the composition of the roster will have the same problem next season.

Advanced age or not, their rotation will feature Jake Peavy, Mark Buehrle, John Danks, and Gavin Floyd.  You’d be hard pressed to find a better top 4 in any rotation, and they will be more than capable of covering up some roster deficiencies.  With 2 LHP and 2 RHP their rotation is very balanced and very dangerous.

Rumors are also out there that the team is interested in signing 30 year old Coco Crisp.  I’d rather he play for the White Sox in 2010 than the Royals, so I am pulling for this particular rumor to become reality.

(Wally Fish is Kings of Kauffman’s lead blogger.  Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)

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Tags: AL Central Andruw Jones Baseball Chicago White Sox Coco Crisp MLB Omar Vizquel

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