Addition by painless subtraction | Bleader

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Addition by painless subtraction

Posted By on 12.04.08 at 07:59 PM

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The White Sox have been cutting payroll by ditching highly paid stars, but in marked contrast to how this process usually goes it's actually been welcomed by fans. Typically, a team cutting costs is greeted with complaints from fans and season-ticket holders angry to see popular favorites shown the door, something the Cubs have endured, on a mild level, with the departure of Kerry Wood. Yet the Sox have traded Nick Swisher, whom fans soured on due to poor performance in spite of his popular "Dirty 30" persona, and now Javier Vazquez, who wore out his welcome with fans even before he did with manager Ozzie Guillen, who tired of his gutless pitching performances down the stretch. Orlando Cabrera is almost certainly gone too, but he was apparently even less popular with teammates, thanks to his selfish, stats-oriented style of play, than he was in the stands. The only painful loss for the Sox this off-season has been Joe Crede -- an early critic of "Dirty 30" in a subtle dig as an understated team leader -- but health complaints made that relatively acceptable. Is general manager Kenny Williams cutting payroll in the most painless possible manner with the least popular players, or is he tactically reshaping the team to get younger, faster, and not coincidentally cheaper? Or, here's a concept, is it both? In other words, have fans sharpened up to the point where they sour on bad players at the same time senior management does? The Sox have plenty of lineup and rotation rebuilding ahead of them, but also ample time to do it this winter. All a Chicago fan can hope is that Jerry Reinsdorf's Bulls do the same as soon as possible with lousy, highly paid veterans Larry Hughes and Drew Gooden. 

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