This is Sean Deveney. Doesn't he just look like a complete asshole? Well believe me, beneath the man-bangs and evil grin, there's a man with an exceptional propensity to spew irrelevant puffery. I guess what I'm trying to say is, Deveney really sucks.
Swisher should give life to glum South Siders
New acquired outfielder is exactly what the White Sox needed
We're going to write down a list of things that a new player must bring to his team to make them better. We'll call it "Sean's Ten Commandments for Newly Acquired Players."
There are, to the naked eye, five chains around the neck of Nick Swisher and a tangle of charms resting on his chest, visible beneath his South Beach-slick opened collar.
One is an Italian horn. There is an eagle. There are two Christian crosses.
Commandment #1: New player must have lots of neckwear. Must have five chains that apparently only have four charms between them. Must be a Christian. No heathens.
He's chatting in a banquet room at the Palmer House hotel in downtown Chicago during the White Sox's offseason fanfest, his hair slicked back with enough product to wallpaper a living room. He laughs and declares, "I'm a funny guy! I got a big mouth, but I am a funny guy!" and adds that he spends 80 percent of his life smiling.
"What about the other 20 percent?"
"Sleeping," Swisher says.
Commandment #2: New player must be "a funny guy". Must repeat himself a lot.
Commandment #3: Must sleep an unusually low amount.
This has been a gloomy winter for White Sox fans, who, after a lifeless 72-90 season in which just about everything went awry, listened hopefully as general manager Ken Williams promised them a "big fish." He then failed to land Torii Hunter. Or Kosuke Fukudome. Or Aaron Rowand. Williams has taken a pummeling in the local media and from those fans. But, spend even a few minutes with Swisher and you can't help mentally posing this question to South Siders: "Why so glum?"
We could start with BP's 77-85 projection for the season. After their 72-90 projection from last season was spot on, no Sox fans should exactly be encouraged by this.
Swisher might be exactly what this team needs —chains, hair, big mouth and all. The dude has personality, in a way that core Sox player don't. He's endlessly entertaining.
Commandment #4: Player must have large mullet-ish hair. No buzzcuts. Got an afro? Join the fucking NBA dude! He must "endlessly entertain" by doing such things as batting with his legs while performing a handstand. Also, he must have a personality, unlike core Sox players like A.J. Pierzynski, who is a lifeless asshat. Finally, his arrival must cue Sporting News columnist Sean Deveney to write the sentence "The dude has personality, in a way that core Sox player don't", which shows no care for editing.
Believe it or not, the acquisition of Nick Swisher by the White Sox is the only MLB acquisition in history to satisfy Commandment #4. I'm not even joking.
For example, there has been a long-simmering — but bogus — Internet rumor that Swisher began dating model Danielle Gamba after he saw her in a magazine. "Really, I never even met that girl," Swisher says. But with a guy like Swisher, it seems somehow plausible. Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko — they're not exactly the type to be the subject of model-dating rumors.
Commandment #5: There have to be rumors of him dating a model to bring up the interestingness level of a team that otherwise contains model-less teammates after the departure of Scott Podsednik. Said model is worth at least 6 wins.
Manager Ozzie Guillen says one of the Sox's problems last year was the lack of attitude, something Swisher can fix. "Swisher, he is a guy I hated," Guillen says. "Every time we play them and he is taking pitches and making our pitchers work, I would turn and say to the bench, 'I hate this guy.' I am not gonna hate him anymore. I am gonna love him now."
I'm sorry, Sean, but did you just reduce useful things like taking pitches and making pitchers work to something irrelevant like eliminating a "lack of attitude"? That isn't a good thing to write! And if you didn't mean that, you shouldn't have confused the world by juxtaposing the two in the same, brief paragraph!
Swisher has swagger, but what folks in Chicago haven't recognized is that he qualifies as Williams' big fish — perhaps a bigger fish, even, than Hunter, Rowand or Fukudome.
Commandment #6: Player must have "swagger", a word that means absolutely nothing in the context of baseball.
Commandment #7: Player must be a "big fish" or also acceptably a "bigger fish" to qualify as the player that his new GM mistakenly promised the world was coming.
Now Sean talks briefly, almost footnote-esque about stupid and pointless things like OBP and HR and moving from a bad hitter's park to a good hitter's park. Whatever dude, BOOOOOORRRIIINNNGGG! Get back to the commandments!
No question, Rowand and Hunter are top-shelf center fielders. Swisher is not. But he can be an average defender out there. And the White Sox would be thrilled to have Jerry Owens win the job in center this spring, to bring the speed and on-base percentage he showed in the minors to the big leagues. If he does, Swisher will move to left. If he doesn't, the defense will survive.
Ugh. You're going to go make me grab my issue of "Baseball Prospectus 2007" now. Great.
At Triple-A, Jerry Owens had a .330 OBP. Not indicative of good things. Double-A, a very batting average inflated .393. And in A-ball, he had a .365 OBP, which is totally uninteresting.
He is projected to have a -2.4 VORP in only 30% of the playing time this season. Jerry Owens is terrible at baseball, and no team should be "thrilled" that he wins a starting spot.
Owens, Swisher and new shortstop Orlando Cabrera could revamp a bone-dry offense.
One of those three players is notably good at offense. One is mediocre, the other is awful.
It's unlikely Dye and Konerko will endure the slumps that sunk last season
We're almost done with the non-puffy section of the article, I promise.
The pitching is still a major question, but let's remember the White Sox were World Series champions in 2005 and won 90 games in '06. Maybe last year was the aberration, and maybe '05 and '06 are better indications of how good this team can be.
2005 and 2006 are better indications of how 2008 should go than 2007??????
You've got to be fucking kidding me. Seriously.
Okay, enough of Deveney being wrong. We're getting back to him being puffy and stupid now.
Last season, once the slumps started spreading, no one in the locker room snapped the White Sox out of it. "Our guys, our best players, are all nice," Guillen says. "Too many nice guys. We needed someone to go and kick some butt."
Commandment #8: New player must be a "butt-kicker." No nice guys. Must be a proven cure for "the slumps", a made-up contagious disease that has an appearance caused by variance and luck and people not noticing just how often things are average.
That's where Swisher comes in. He is gritty on the field
Commandment #9: Player must resemble David Eckstein in dumbass media speak.
not afraid to speak his mind off it.
Commandment #10: Must be a good candidate to appear on MTV's "The Real World".
For those of you who didn't endure the torture of reading Sean Deveney to find these commandments (you're WELCOME, jerks), I'm going to reprint them all here. Yahoo!
Sean's Ten Commandments for Newly Acquired Players
#1: Thou shalt wear lots of neckwear.
#2: Thou shalt be "a funny guy".
#3: Thou shalt not sleep very often.
#4: Thou shalt have long hair, be entertaining, and have entertaining hair.
#5: Thou shalt have rumors circulating about you dating a model.
#6: Thou shalt have "swagger".
#7: Thou shalt be a "big fish" or "bigger fish".
#8: Thou shalt be a "butt-kicker".
#9: Thou shalt be gritty.
#10: Thou shalt act like you're a character on MTV's "The Real World".
So as you can see, under this set of commandments, Nick Swisher is basically Jesus. Rejoice, South Side, your season is saved!
(On a side note, I actually do think that Nick Swisher is a total badass, and want to meet him if and when I make the trek to Arizona this spirng.)
(But Deveney still sucks.)