Sports

By Marek Makowski
Huntley

With winter meetings starting next week, baseball’s off-season is in full swing.
However, the Sox and the Cubs need to make some fixes. Neither teams looks like a candidate to win the Fall Classic in 2012, but they can take important steps for the future.
I’ve put together wish lists for both teams, just in time for last-minute Christmas shopping.

Cubs
Mark Buehrle. If Buehrle rejects the Sox’s arbitration offer, he’ll be up for grabs, and he would be just what the Cubs need. The Cubs have neither a solid left-handed pitcher nor a veteran starter to complement Ryan Dempster. Buehrle eats up 200 innings a year, consistently wins Gold Gloves and has a career ERA of 3.83. If this doesn’t work out, the Cubs would be more than happy to pick up C.J. Wilson.

Aramis Ramirez. Theo Epstein will be a very happy man if the Cubs’ third baseman accepts his Type B arbitration offer. Ramirez has proven himself as one of the most consistent bats in the North Siders’ lineup the past eight seasons. If the Cubs lose their only solid third basemen in the organization, it’ll just be another hole to patch for Epstein.

Get rid of Alfonso Soriano. Sometimes the best part of Christmas is the act of giving. We all know how far Soriano has fallen since he came to the Lovable Losers in 2007. After hitting nearly .300 that season, his batting average has dropped to .244 this year. He’s also one of the worst defenders in the National League. One of the only ways to be free of Fonzie is to sweeten a trade deal. Unless the Cubs want to throw away millions of dollars through 2014, they have to put up a prospect or two and finally trade Soriano.

White Sox
Mark Buehrle. Both Chicago teams have this gem on their lists. It’s like a scene in a movie where there is just one popular toy left and two shoppers race to get it. The Sox are entering a rebuilding phase and they surely need Buehrle to return.

A batting practice schedule for Adam Dunn. Dunn’s momentous downfall last season can only be mitigated with more and more practice. The Sox need to see to it that Dunn is constantly in the cages and working with actual pitchers.

Better prospects. Now this vague gift can be attained with some of the ready-to-go pieces the Sox have. Catcher Tyler Flowers has shown that he might be ready to take over the load for A.J. Pierzynski. It may be time to ship off A.J. for some up-and-coming players. The Sox also have Carlos Quentin to trade. Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro de Aza can take over if the Pale Hose part ways with Juan Pierre and Quentin. Knowing Kenny Williams, the Sox can then re-gift these prospects for potential superstars.

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