Dec 15th, 2009

Sox Deal Pair of Jo(h)ns for a Juan

By Dan Santaromita

Today, the Chicago White Sox made a move that seems to have solidified the end of Scott Podsednik’s second tenure with the team. The Sox dealt right-handed pitchers John Ely and Jon Link to the Los Angeles Dodgers for outfielder Juan Pierre.

Pierre will likely replace Scott Podsednik’s role on the 2009 team and leadoff hitter and left fielder. He brings speed and a decent on-base percentage to the team without giving up a top tier prospect or a piece from the Major League club. For more on the Pierre side of the deal check out our sister site, SoxNet, for their take on the trade.

With that said, we cover the minor leagues so let’s talk more about Ely and Link. For starters, both pitchers have a chance to contribute to the Dodgers this year, though Ely will probably have to wait longer. Ely was the 13th rated prospect in our postseason rankings and Link came in at 22.

We project Ely as a 5th starter type, but if you listen to Phil Rogers he is worth more than Pierre by himself. Ely had a great season, playing in the Southern League All-Star Game, earning a place on the league’s post-season all-star team and recently being named to our All-FutureSox team. Sure, performance isn’t everything in the minors and Ely doesn’t have top tier stuff as even Rogers admits. He has a great changeup, good control and his fastball and curve are decent pitches. He was a 3rd round pick in 2007 so clearly the Sox liked him then. This year was a bit of a breakout year for him, but his peripherals were slightly down from 2008 and he played in a pitchers’ park.

Link racked up the strikeouts in AAA this season, but struggled a bit in the second half. Control has been a problem for him at AA and above (4.3 BB/9 each of the last two seasons). If nothing else, he is consistent. The last two seasons he has struck out 66 and walked 27 in ~56 innings. His slider is his best pitch, but he has the stuff to be a decent Major League reliever. His fastball velocity is rumored to have dropped this past year so that’s a concern going forward. The interesting part of his inclusion in this deal is that the Sox appear somewhat thin in the bullpen even after signing J.J. Putz. This further opens the door for someone like Sergio Santos to slip onto the roster. Link had a good chance to make the 2010 White Sox bullpen and he should be at least competing for the same with the Dodgers.

Considering Pierre is a likely starter for the Sox and fills a need at the top of the order, it’s hard to complain about giving up a pitcher like Ely. He could have a long career in the Majors as a back end of the rotation starter, but Pierre might have more value in the short run. Link could be a wild card, but since Pierre wasn’t starting for the Dodgers and has a sizable salary it’s a trade that could pay off for both sides.

In other recent news, the White Sox Rule V Draft came and went without much news. They didn’t select anyone in the Major League phase and had no one taken from them. In the AAA phase Johnny Lujan and Arismendy Mota were taken from the Sox. Lujan, 25, repeated Birmingham in 2009 and walked too many batters leading to a 4.45 ERA as a reliever. Mota was way under our radar and is 22 without having pitched above the DSL.

Also, Jordan Danks was named to the Arizona Fall League All-Prospect team.

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One Response

  1. This makes three out of the last four Rickwood Classic starting pitchers to be traded. Tyler Lumsden in 2006, Gio Gonzalez in 2007 and John Ely in 2009.

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