Monday, March 24, 2014
A look at the White Sox' weekend roster moves
Third baseman Matt Davidson, outfielder Jordan Danks and pitcher Jake Petricka were optioned to Triple-A Charlotte. Pitcher Dylan Axelrod was reassigned to minor league camp, and pitcher Mitchell Boggs was placed on waivers for the purpose of granting him an unconditional release.
We've discussed the third base scenario frequently on this blog, and things played out as we expected. The 22-year-old Davidson is going to Charlotte to refine his game. The Sox hope he develops into a long-term solution at the position. In the meantime, Conor Gillaspie is a reasonable placeholder on a rebuilding team.
Danks has to be frustrated about being sent down. He did everything he could to make the club. His spring slash line was a robust .333/.378/.738. He hit five home runs and totaled 10 RBIs. Unfortunately for him, the numbers game didn't work in his favor. The Sox are only keeping four outfielders, and he's the fifth guy behind Avisail Garcia, Adam Eaton, Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza.
There has been plenty of speculation -- including here on this blog -- about the Sox possibly trading one of Viciedo or De Aza. It doesn't look like that is going to happen, at least not initially. Perhaps the Sox couldn't find a deal to their liking.
Word on the street was the Sox were wanting to trade one of their left fielders, and sometimes when that happens rival GMs think they can acquire the player who is on the trading block with a low-ball offer -- mistakenly believing the trading team is desperate to make a deal. The Sox don't *have* to trade Viciedo or De Aza, so there was no reason to make a trade just for the sake of making trade. The loser in this whole scenario is Danks, who has to start the year in the minor leagues. But frankly, the Sox don't have much outfield depth in their organization once you get past those first five guys, so it might not be the worst thing in the world for the team to stand pat there.
Petricka is a guy we could see in the majors again if there's an injury in the bullpen. As for Axelrod, thank goodness the Sox aren't going into the season with him as the fifth starter again. We've seen that movie before, and it's not a good one. Axelrod is fine for organizational depth, but it would be foolish to count on him for 150 or 200 innings at the big-league level.
Boggs was coming off a bad season, and the Sox were hoping he would regain the form he showed in 2012 with the St. Louis Cardinals. It just didn't work out. He looked awful this spring, posting a 12.79 ERA in 6.1 innings. At least the Sox had the good sense to cut ties with him now. Sometimes, you sign a guy like this and you allow him to blow five or six games the first month of the season before you realize you made a mistake. It's better to cut your losses before that happens.
Quintana gets five-year extension
In other news Monday, the Sox signed starting pitcher Jose Quintana to a five-year contract that could be worth as much as $26.5 million.
If Quintana stays healthy for the life of the contract -- always a big if with pitchers -- that's a real team-friendly contract.
The Sox now have both Chris Sale and Quintana inked to reasonable long-term contracts. There's always a risk in committing to pitchers over the long haul, but considering what Sale and Quintana have done to this point in their respective careers, that risk is worth the potential reward for the Sox.