Last week, during what was thought to be a two team race between the Rangers and Yankees to sign Cliff Lee, a mystery team emerged at the eleventh hour to nab him. That team of course was the Phillies.
Now, in another perceived two team race, the Angels and Rangers (we think) are battling for 3B Adrian Beltre's services.
I think it's time another mystery team appeared: the Chicago White Sox.
Using last year's numbers as the basis, a lineup with Beltre on the South Side projects to score more than five runs per game, something only two teams in all of baseball were able to accomplish last year. It would be a righthand-dominant lineup, but moving AJP in front of Carlos Quentin would split the three lefties nicely throughout. It might look like this:
Juan Pierre, LF
Gordon Beckham, 2B
Paul Konerko, 1B
Adam Dunn, DH
Alex Rios, CF
AJ Pierzynski, C
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Mix in a rotation that has the potential to be the best in the American League (don't laugh, see below), and the White Sox are dangerous:
Interesting 2009 stat: US Cellular had the highest HR Factor in all of baseball but their pitchers gave up the 24th fewest long balls.
Only Jerry Reisndorf and Kenny Williams know if they can afford Beltre, but payroll concerns aside, the improvement from Mark Teahan/Omar Vizquel to Adrian Beltre could be worth six wins to the White Sox (Teahan's career WAR: 3.5, Vizquel's 2009 WAR: 0.3, Beltre's WAR in 2009: 7.1), a team that won 88 games last season despite this lack of production from their third basemen and a down first half from Gordon Beckham.
Can Adrian Beltre lead this mystery team to a World Series? My money says yes.
Jerry, give it a shot and make my 30:1 longshot gamble look savvy.
And Adrian, you've done the West Coast thing and the East Coast thing without much team success (one postseason appearance in 13 years). Why not see what the Midwest is like?