Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Part II: AL Central Amnesty

Jorge Says No! introduced amnesty earlier and we are happy to present to you our AL Central picks. Which contract would your team want to waive at the end of this season? Lets take a look:

White Sox:
To me, there is only one option for the White Sox. 1B Paul Konerko, 32, has been a huge disappointment this season (.244 average with only 16 HR) and is owed another $24 mil until 2010. Konerko's power has never been an issue, but Konerko only has 33 extra base hits for the entire season. Obviously that is way too low for a middle of the order bat. Furthermore, the Sox have Nick Swisher who could play 1B, which would open up a spot in the OF for either Brain Anderson or Jerry Owens. Get younger White Sox!

I have to give the Twins credit. Yes, they do make stupid signings (Livan Hernandez, Mike Lamb, Craig Monroe), but the difference between the Twins and most of the other teams in the MLB is that they actually cut these guys when they don't perform. The Twins don't give out many bad contracts (especially big ones) so I don't think they have any true candidates for amnesty.

Even though he has been a quality starter, the Indians would love to rid themselves from the 2 years/$22 mil that is owed to SP Jake Westbrook. Westbrook, 30, has been a mediocre pitcher at best for the Indians even at his prime (4.31 lifetime ERA). Westbrook only appeared in 5 games this season for the Indians before undergoing Tommy John surgery, which could cost him most of the 2009 season. Finally, the Indians only have a $78 million dollar payroll and they cannot afford to have 1/7 of that committed to a mediocre pitcher coming off a major injury.

While this one might be controversial, I'm going to go with OF Jose Guillen here. And I'm deciding on Guillen not just because he has underperformed this season and is not worth the $12 per season he is owed, but because he is a head case and a cancer in the clubhouse. Guillen has proven that time and time again. I would hope that with the money saved, GM Dayton Moore would invest the money smarter in either free agents or the draft.

There are so many options here. On the pitching side, we can go with SP Nate Robertson or SP Dontrelle Willis because they have both been massive disappointments. Robertson, who is owed $14 mil over the next two seasons, has been horrible this season with his 6.08 ERA and was actually moved to the bullpen during the season. But at least he's been in the bigs unlike Willis, who has actually spent a majority of the season in the minors. Between injuries and a mysterious lack of control, Willis, 26, has gone from ace to disaster as he has struggled to simply throw strikes. Between the $20 mil the Tigers have invested in him and the prospects they traded to get him, the Tigers have too much invested to give up on Willis right now.

On the hitting side, the Tigers would love to get rid of a declining Gary Sheffield, who at 40 is only hitting .222 with 17 HR. Sheffield is not only taking up a spot that could be better used by Jeff Larish or Matt Joyce, but he has continued to be a head case for the Tigers. The Tigers have another year at $14 mil invested in him, so he is definitely a candidate. You can also make a case that 3B Carlos Guillen could be a good candidate considering the $36 mil owed to him and his frequent injuries, but I still think he can perform well for the Tigers.

To me, the best choice for amnesty is Nate Robertson. There is no doubt that the Tigers need all the pitching they can get their hands on, but Robertson is definitely not the answer. He has only had one good season and has continually produced an ERA in the high 4s. The Tigers can do better and they would be helping themselves by cutting their ties with Robertson.

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