Manny to The White Sox

For the second year in a row, the White Sox have used the August waiver period to add a talented outfielder who has worn out his welcome with his current team. Last year, the White Sox took on the remainder of Alex Rios‘ contract, and while he struggled to finish out 2009, he has been one of their best players this season, and the move has certainly paid dividends. Will adding Manny Ramirez pay off as well?

There are a couple of ways to look at whether Ramirez will work out or not. The White Sox are a fringe playoff contender, with about a 13 percent chance of making the playoffs. Ramirez is a significant upgrade from their rotating DH platoon, a position that has been most frequently manned by Mark Kotsay and his .233/.307/.382 line. ZiPS projects a .292 wOBA going forward for Kotsay, which pales in comparison to the .400 mark projected for Ramirez.

Even if you bump up the projection a bit to account for the other guys who would rotate through the DH position, we’re still looking at a 100 point gap in wOBA in September, which is a huge number, and, over 100 plate appearances, it adds up to nearly an eight run difference. Even though it’s only for a month, replacing Kotsay with Ramirez should add almost a full win to the White Sox total.

Given their place in the standings, a one win upgrade could make all the difference in the world. It is certainly within the realm of possibility that Chicago ends the season within just one game of the Twins. Having Ramirez’s bat in the line-up could put them in the playoffs, and given how valuable that is, picking up his $4 million in remaining salary and not surrendering any talent is something of a no-brainer. The team gets significantly better in a playoff race and all they have to give up is cash. That’s the kind of move every fan should want their team to make.

But it does raise a question. If the White Sox had $4 million in their budget for 2010, why did they wait until August 30th to spend it? They gave Kotsay $1.5 million to occupy a fairly important roster spot, despite the fact that he’s been a replacement level player since 2006, and failed to make necessary upgrades to their offense over the winter. If they had the ability to throw another $4 million at this roster, couldn’t that money have been spent better last winter on a guy who would have been around for the whole year, rather than just the final month?

It’s a fair question, but the reality is that circumstances change and budgets are not static. I’d imagine, though I’m just guessing, that if Kenny Williams could have spent another $4 million last winter, he’d have done so, and probably made some different choices about what his team looked like. The uncertainty about a team’s overall performance is far greater in January than it is in August, and not knowing if a team will be a contender or not pushes teams to be somewhat conservative with their payrolls each off-season.

The team has information they didn’t have before, and Jerry Reinsdorf was willing to gamble some cash on a player who can upgrade the team in a playoff race. Perhaps that is cash he was not willing to gamble over the winter, not knowing what this team would look like come the stretch run. While it’s reasonable to ask Williams why he was willing to lean so heavily on Kotsay, I don’t think we can assume that the money that they just spent on Ramirez was available to him over the winter.

So, overall, kudos to the White Sox again. They made a bold, intelligent waiver claim last year with Rios, and they’ve done so again with Ramirez. I still think Minnesota wins the AL Central, but Chicago will at least make it interesting. Plus, Manny being managed by Ozzie Guillen? Let the comedy begin.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


60 Responses to “Manny to The White Sox”

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  1. Scott K. says:

    This article isn’t about Rios, but I was shocked when I just looked at his WAR and saw that it was almost exactly the same as it was when I looked at it in June. How disappointing.

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  2. odbsol says:

    With Thornton & Putz on the DL, how long can that bullpen hold it together before imploding? I wouldn’t put much faith in Jenks stepping up his game. Overall though this looks like a great move for the Sox this year although that roster is starting to look really old now.

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  3. Mike says:

    The reason that Kotsay was added to the roster instead of a better option is because Ozzie Guillen insisted. Kotsay performed at about league average in his short end-fo-the-season stint for the White Sox in 2009 and that convinced Ozzie that he needed to be added to the roster. This DH by committee was the brain child of Guillen and included Kotsay, Teahen, Vizquel and even Brent Lillibridge this season. Guillen insists that it is that flexibility that allowed them to be so dominant in their NL inter-league games this season.

    Kenny deferred to his manager and the results have been terrible. Now that it’s failed, the team is spending $4 million on a 38-year old ex-roider and hoping for the best. He can’t possibly be worst than what they’ve had and if they have the money, then great. But the situation existed because Ozzie wanted it to be that way.

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    • BB says:

      There isn’t a person on the planet who agreed with Ozzie’s choice then… considering the “other option” was Jim Thome which would have a)been more productive and b)cheaper in the long run. As a White Sox fan, The Club was a very enjoyable show, but that part talking about not resigning Thome was much more aggravating then what it was in the off-season, all in hindsight.

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      • Daniel Andrews says:

        I’ll just say this once. Once Thome left that lineup, Paul Konerko blew up. I know there is no evidence about who bats around you helping or hurting you, but Konerko had Thome and Dye around him or in front or behind him for what happened to be an eternity it seems. Two things jump out, Konerko might not walk as much this season and he might set a career high in BA. People who can steal bases move infielders more towards second base, you can’t always play double play depth with PK batting anymore and thus more groundballs become singles.

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      • James says:

        a) I don’t think you can assume Thome would have been significantly more productive, he was declining in 2008-2009… at the time, available evidence pointed to him being worse in 2010 than he was in 2009.

        b) You don’t know Thome would have been cheaper… Guys rarely take massive pay cuts to come back to the same team (I can’t recall any analogous situation)…. You can’t assume Thome would’ve signed the same deal with the Sox.

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      • dirk says:

        James:

        I’d agree, but at the time when Thome signed with Minnesota, the reports out there were that he basically told the Sox, “Hey, I’ve got this deal out there w/ Minnesota, but I’d prefer to come back to Chicago.” That implies to me that the Sox could’ve signed him for the same deal if not less than what Minnesota paid him.

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      • Jeffrey Gross says:

        “Declining” Thome was still a top tier DH. He was top 3 in WAR last season amongst DH. “Decline” just means from .400 to .370-80.
        oohhhhhh

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  4. johng says:

    I don’t believe it’s a fair question to ask why they’re spending $4 million now instead of the offseason. Manny for a year would have cost 5 times that, and a prospect or two. And beyond Thome, seriously, what was out there in January?

    I know some, here, thought Milton Bradley was the greatest pickup in the history of the game, but players of his high calibre were gone by the time the White Sox decided to solve their DH problem.

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    • MikeS says:

      Another reason it’s not fair is that KW has been trying to spend that money for a while now – at least a month. He looked into Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt and the same Manny Ramirez at the trading deadline when they all would have cost him more in money or prospects. Even in the offseason, the failure to add a high profile/high cost DH was more about this year’s misguided philosophy over-emphasizing roster flexibility and athleticism at the expense of slow guys who could hit better but couldn’t go first to third or wear a glove. I wouldn’t have put it past them to give another four million to the likes of Teahan, Kotsay, Jones and Vizquel if that’s what it took to get them. That’s the direction they wanted to go this year – shore up the defense, pick up more than one base at a time on a single or walk, limit singles off the wall and rely on the pitching.

      You can accuse the White Sox, Ozzie and Kenny of a lot of things and yes, they have a budget but even remotely implying that they are cheap is taking the easy way out.

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      • johng says:

        I am intrigued by going first to third on a walk.

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      • Bernard says:

        MikeS: The point I believe Dave Cameron is making is less that they waited to spend that 4 million until August as opposed to July but that the 1.5 million they put into Mark Kotsay could’ve been combined with the 4 million they’ll pay Ramirez and turned into a player like Vlad Guerrero, Hideki Matsui, Jim Thome or (assuming health) Nick Johnson to have for the entire season. The basic idea being Matsui for 6 months > Kotsay for 5 and Ramirez for 1.

        Johng: I believe MikeS is referring to a player walking and then stealing a base – not a popular team building strategy around these parts…

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  5. this guy says:

    KW wins again. Best GM in the game.

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    • Mark says:

      We’re talking about the same guy who traded Daniel Hudson away for Edwin Jackson right?

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      • James says:

        That trade isn’t as bad as the Gio Gonzalez trade or most of his other deals…. Hudson is on his first time through an inferior league, he’ll regress to more normal numbers.

        He’s also the same guy who traded Brandon McCarthy for John Danks… He’s not the best GM (I’m not a fan of his style), but he’s had some success.

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      • this guy says:

        His methodology is beyond your capacity. It’s not all that complicated actually, but it’s over your head nonetheless.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Yeah, the same guy that acquired Danks, Floyd, Jenks, for nothing. Literally, nothing.

        I odn;t want to get into a defending KW post, because it’s futile … because the only minds that can be changed, are those willing to be changed.

        KW has made many more good moves than bad. The real discussion is whether his good moves are above and beyond what any old GM could do, or whether his good moves pushed the team forward more than his bad moves pushed the team backward.

        The Hudson for Jackson move is rather stupid to bring up since it was a trade made in order to acquire Adam Dunn and fill their greatest need.

        At this point, i can’t tell what’s sarcasm and what’s not. “This Guy” could be using sarcasm, in which case we’re both idiots for taking the bait.

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      • this guy says:

        Deadly serious. He is the best in the game. He is running circles around all but the top GMs.

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      • James says:

        “The real discussion is whether his good moves are above and beyond what any old GM could do, or whether his good moves pushed the team forward more than his bad moves pushed the team backward.”

        Since 2005, his moves have pushed the team laterally at best. 1 playoff win in 4 seasons. I can’t recall a single deal where I thought he did anything exceptionally shrewd, and feel like he frequently outbids himself and overpays (hopefully he doesn’t do that with ManRam). I think Reinsdorf loves him, so he should be there for a while longer.

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      • Mark says:

        “His methodology is beyond your capacity. It’s not all that complicated actually, but it’s over your head nonetheless.”

        Don’t flatter yourself. I’m fully aware that KW has made some good moves. Danks, Floyd, Quentin, Rios among others. I never said that he was a bad GM, so no need to get your panties in a bunch because I don’t think your favourite GM isn’t the best in the game. Calling him the best in the game is vastly overstating things.

        I just wouldn’t expect the best GM in the game to trade a prospect with a 10K/9 in the minors for a guy like Edwin Jackson, who in addition to being significantly more expensive than Hudson, may not even be much of an upgrade right now. Let alone in the future.

        “The Hudson for Jackson move is rather stupid to bring up since it was a trade made in order to acquire Adam Dunn and fill their greatest need.”

        Maybe it’s me, but wouldn’t he want to wait until the Nationals agreed to trade Jackson for Dunn before giving up Hudson? I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with your logic, but why would you give up Hudson without being sure you’d get Dunn?

        By the way, they wouldn’t have had that need, if the GM had overruled Ozzie’s need to have a flexibile DH and had stuck with a guy like Thome who was willing to re-sign with them for virtually nothing. So they could, and should have had Thome from the beginning, and they could have still kept Hudson.

        “Deadly serious. He is the best in the game. He is running circles around all but the top GMs.”

        If he’s the best in the game, but he’s “running circles around all but the top GM’s”, then he’s not the best. You said it yourself. If he was the best, you wouldn’t need to add the but to clarify the statement. In essence, you said what I said in the beginning. He’s a good GM, but not the best GM.

        I don’t even know why you all assumed that I thought he was on Minaya’s level. I was poking fun at “this guy” for saying that Williams was the best GM, when I, and apparently “this guy” doesn’t believe he’s the best either. He’s made some solid moves, and he’s not a bad GM, but he’s surely not the best GM in the game.

        If I thought it would cause this much trouble I would have said “He’s a good GM, but not the best GM”. Jeez Louise.

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      • Mark says:

        I forgot to add – this is the same guy who traded for Juan Pierre. And let him bat leadoff for 510 of his 520 at bats. Maybe it’s just me, and I could be in the minority here, but giving Juan Pierre that many at bats in the leadoff spot with his 318 wOBA isn’t the brightest thing to do.

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      • macseries says:

        i dunno, aside from joe west’s malice, the edwin jackson deal is looking pretty okay so far. small sample size, i know.

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      • this guy says:

        @Mark
        Just becaue he isnt running circles around the top GMs, doesnt mean he isnt outperforming them you moron.

        Running circles around someone means dominating them. KW dominates the average GMs, and simply outperforms the top GMs. He’s the best. The vastly overrated Beane can’t hold a candle to K Dub. Beane wastes as much money as any GM in the game.

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    • Mike says:

      Circle Change- he didn’t really get Danks for nothing. He traded what was at the time a pretty nice piece in Brandon McCarthy for him

      I hated the trade for the Rangers as soon as they did it. Danks did way too many things well at the time to trade him for a talented strikeout pitcher with bad fly ball rates, but it’s a tad disingenuous to say McCarthy was nothing.

      Williams has done a lot of things right, he’s also fielded some fairly putrid offensive clubs too. He’s a good general manager, but you can’t ignore the relative crapyness of the White Sox farm system while he’s been in charge and the massive holes some of the white sox teams have had in recent years (DH in 2010, CF when they were throwing Anderson/Owens out there, 3b a couple of times).

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      • James says:

        McCarthy looked better than Danks in the majors at that time – McCarthy got hurt, Danks developed.

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      • johng says:

        I will agree that for a perennial contender like the White Sox, Williams does let 3B, CF, DH just fall to waste. I understand the concept of trying to plug in somebody like Teahan and getting a servicable 3B for a couple of years, but what he ran out there for CF the last couple of years wasn’t even horrible. It was a sad joke.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        I am operating from the consistent viewpoint of looking at trades from a hindsight perspective. Otherwise, Haren for Mulder starts to look decent for StL. JD Drew for Adam Wainwright looks outstanding.

        Lou Brock for Brogilio and Shantz, looked initially to heavily favor the Cubs. What they did after the trade, makes it one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history … kind like Haren for Mulder, even though Mulder was the much better pitcher at the time of the trade.

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    • BX says:

      They see me trollin, they hatin.

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    • Bernard says:

      Any fair conversation about KW’s virtues is incomplete unless it recognizes how poorly he did in the Nick Swisher-Yankees trade: one of Cashman’s best moves and one of Williams’ worst.

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      • this guy says:

        You’re too stupid to understand the odds that KW is playing. Additionally, Swisher’s numbers are inflated.

        Most of you are incapable of evaluating a sophisticated role like GM of a baseball team. It’s simply beyond your comprehension/intellect/capacity/education. Add the fact that he’s black, and there is no absolutely no way most of you would give him a fair shake.

        I don’t know what you guys know, but I know you don’t know shit about baseball.

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      • Bernard says:

        Hm… ‘this guy’ really is a dick. And a moron. My apologies to everyone else, I fed the troll.

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    • Mark says:

      “Just becaue he isnt running circles around the top GMs, doesnt mean he isnt outperforming them you moron.”

      He isn’t outperforming them though. He’s made some solid moves, but as others and myself have mentioned he’s left the team very weak at 3B, LF, and now DH. And it’s worth pointing out that there were better and cheaper alternatives available to choose from instead of using Kotsay, Teahen & Pierre.

      “The vastly overrated Beane can’t hold a candle to K Dub. Beane wastes as much money as any GM in the game.”

      Funny that I didn’t mention Beane as one of the top GM’s. I probably would have gone with Friedman to be honest. Much more impressed with the job he’s done over the past few years.

      “i dunno, aside from joe west’s malice, the edwin jackson deal is looking pretty okay so far. small sample size, i know.”

      Oh there’s no question Jackson has been good so far. But who expects him to be better than Hudson, especially given the money he’s going to earn over the next few years?

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  6. Sox2727 says:

    Here’s the persepctive I’m taking with this move. Is Manny a 1st ballot asswipe hall of famer…no question. Here’s my perspective: Manny should at worst given his career give you a .370 wOBA (I may be on the low end), which blows the current DH suckfest of Kotsay/Teahen/Jones out of the water. If the 3 games against Minnesota in September still have some bearing and the Sox have bases loaded with 1 out trailing by 1 run, I want Manny at the plate vs any of the aforementioned names or Quentin or just about anyone on the current roster. He may not have anything left who knows, but he gives them a better chance to catch the Twins just by his mere presence vs the current DH suckfest. All the hijinx aside, I will take 5 weeks of Manny knowing he has to produce to get money in the offseason vs the alternatives. There is no doubt in my mind that he is worth at least one more win vs the current options, I just fear I may be too little too late.

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    • JH says:

      He’s hitting .300/.400/.500 right now. I think it’s safe to say he has something left. Even a declining version of Manny is still a pretty solid bat. If you can plug him in at DH, all the better.

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      • this guy says:

        Is that solid? Because Kenny Williams did not think a batting line like that was solid last year when he chose to use Kotsay at DH instead of Thome.

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  7. Baron Samedi says:

    Is pickibg up a $16mm/yr contract for a ~3 WAR player really an intelligent move?

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    • U-G says:

      When you’re only paying about 4.3 mil with a chance to make the playoffs (which give a revenue boost), yeah.

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    • DavidB says:

      Do you have a reasonable argument why it isn’t a smart move?

      If you read the article you might find some information to help answer your question.

      If the sox are upgrading on worse than replacement level DH production and are still a contender in late August, then Manny is worth more to them.

      Article says Manny could be worth 1 win in the upcoming month and they’ll pay him $4M (not $16M)

      Going rate for a win is a bit over $3M. It’s not a bad idea to pay a little more than that when they can reasonably hope to get hot and catch the twins.

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      • Baron Samedi says:

        Rios

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      • JH says:

        The yearly average of Rios’s deal from this year to the end of the contract is $12.03million. If you include the pro-rated salary he got last year (he played for Chi about 18% of the 2009 season), the average annual salary is ~$11.85 million. He’s certainly earned his $9.7 million salary this year, and he’s got a month to add to his current 2.9 WAR total.

        Rios was a pretty good pickup for a team who can afford him.

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    • DavidB says:

      Too slow!

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  8. sean says:

    but it’s not 16 million, and it’s not 4 million, it’s 1.1 million for the rest of the year with 3.3 deferred with no interest. can’t remember but i think that is 3.3 over two years. so a win for 1.1 million this year

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  9. Baron Samedi says:

    Uh, I was referring to Rios, not Ramirez.

    Actually, it’s 12-12.5 not 16. Still doesn’t seem like a great deal.

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  10. Mike says:

    the marginal cost of a win doesn’t matter here folks. If having Manny Ramirez is the difference between the White Sox winnings 86 games and 87, you do the deal- even if the pay doesn’t average out as optimal.

    They’re trying to make the play offs.

    I’m not the biggest Kenny fan in the world, but this deal is a no brainer. I still think they miss the post season but they’ve probably improved their odds by 5-10% with this upgrade.

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  11. Andrew says:

    Could the $4 million have come as Jake Peavy insurance money?

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  12. Don’t know if it was mentioned here, but I wonder how much attendance revenue will go up in the final month with Manny on the roster? And, of course I don’t know the figures, but I wonder how much of that 4 million can be offset by that EVEN IF they don’t reach the playoffs?

    I sure would be interested in going and seeing him play where I wouldn’t even have considered going and watching a White Sox game before. (I’m a Cubs fan)

    If anything, it should prove to White Sox fans that Kenny wants to win. Badly.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      everyone will tell you based on the research, that adding big names doesn’t bring in money or increase attendance … winning does. Just look at the TB Rays for example. Okay, maybe not.

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  13. KY says:

    What about the draft picks? Assuming they let him leave, I sure would, won’t he be Type A? They offset a lot of that 4 mill by getting another two top draft choices to use for future value.

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    • JonnyBS says:

      I don’t think it’s wise to offer a player arbitration when he likely will accept it. I just don’t see how a team will offer him a multi-years deal.

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  14. Kimo says:

    A good move for the Sox now, the real challenge will be saying “NO” to Manny in the off season.

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  15. Kenny says:

    Your logic is a bit flawed.

    I didnt add 4 million to the payroll this year I only added about a million. The rest isnt due to Manny this year.

    Could I have spent that million at the beginning of the year??…sure…but what difference maker could I have gotten for an additional million for the entire year?

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  16. Andrew says:

    Making the playoffs is worth ~$20million. DH has been absolute black hole for the White Sox…I think this is a pretty no-brainer trade especially since most of the Manny’s salary is deferred.

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  17. this guy says:

    I was just kidding guys. I am a retard who actually believes KW is the best GM in the game. I mean c’mon the guy chose Kotsay over Thome. Kenny Williams is a tard and so am I

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