I don't mean to alarm you Sox fans, but it's now been nine days since the Sox last came home with a 'W.' Monday's loss to the Mariners, which saw the Sox scratch out only three hits and no runs over the first seven innings, dropped Ozzie's crew to 9-16, good for last among American League teams this spring.
So is this the "intensity" Ozzie was pining for?
In reaction to his club's losing streak Ozzie said: "Every time we don't play good, I let them know right away. That's how we're going to do it this year. I don't like how they play the last couple of games, and I say it in the paper and then I have a meeting."
What started out as a mission of intensity meant to wipe out any memories of a dismal 2007 has turned into a typical spring of sub-.500 ball in the Ozzie Guillen era. Tucson wins and losses are meaningless, but Ozzie and his "spring serious" mentality can't be happy with the mounting losses that are already making their way into the daily box scores.
GM Ken Williams is frustrated as well, commenting the other day that he "expected" to make at least one, probably two or three trades this spring but has found dialogue scarce and potential trade partners apathetic.
"I've had very few conversations this spring," Williams said Friday. "But it takes two to tango, and there's nothing you can do about it. You give your own assessment of your own team and you picture matchups in your head and you think there might be a need elsewhere. But in their minds, they would rather go in a different direction, whether it be for talent purposes or economic purposes or both."
Translation: Nobody wants Joe Crede or Juan Uribe.
The frustrating situation Williams finds himself in is somewhat ironic. After declining to pay Torii Hunter and Aaron Rowand the monster salaries they received in free agency, Williams was praised for fiscal responsibility. But here were are one week from Opening Day and several of the Sox big league roster spots are being assured to players whose salaries are similarly out of line.
Juan Uribe and Jose Contreras will combine to make $14.5 million this year, but Williams couldn't give them away if they tried (and believe me, he's tried). Joe Crede and Mike Macdougal represent $7 million more that Williams is, at the moment, stuck with. And Pablo Ozuna and Toby Hall, while combining for only about $3 million, are guaranteed roster spots that could go to younger, cheaper, better players.
Adding all the up, it's about $24 million in dead weight on the Sox payroll, and it's blocking the likes of Josh Fields, who could start at third base, Danny Richar, who would outperform Uribe at second base if healthy, Ehren Wassermann, who's a far surer bet than Macdougal, Alexei Ramirez, who looks like he'll make the team anyway but would make Ozuna unnecessary, and Paul Phillips, who can run circles around Hall defensively.
It's also tying the Sox to a bulk of the players that lost 90 games last year, when they should be bring in new blood for a fresh '08. But of course money talks, and so that $24 million is not going to waste! Will the sunk costs sink the Sox?