Saturday, March 8, 2014
Random White Sox thoughts for this week
But, in looking over the box scores from this week, the White Sox player who has stood out the most has been center fielder Adam Eaton.
We said earlier this week that spring training numbers mean nothing, and they don't. But it's worth noting Eaton has played well thus far, reaching base in 10 of his first 14 plate appearances. He's 6 for 10 and has also drawn two walks and been hit by a pitch twice in five spring games.
Barring injury, Eaton will be leading off and playing center field when the Sox open March 31. Both the leadoff spot and center field have been a revolving door for the Sox over the past several seasons, so it would be huge if Eaton plays well enough to lock down those two roles.
De Aza on the block?
There's been some talk this spring about the Sox possibly trading second baseman Gordon Beckham. I doubt that will happen. If there's a trade to be made before the team breaks camp, it might involve outfielder Alejandro De Aza.
De Aza has been the Sox' leadoff hitter and center fielder the past couple years, but he's going to be supplanted by Eaton. The question is whether the Sox want to hold on to De Aza and platoon him in left field with Dayan Viciedo, or ship him elsewhere.
Rumor has it the Twins might be interested in De Aza, who will make $4.25 million this season and has a movable contract. The Sox would probably rather not pay De Aza that money to be a part-time player, especially when Jordan Danks can serve as a fourth outfielder for cheaper.
Some of this depends on how much the Sox still believe in Viciedo, who has been a disappointment both with the bat and in the field. However, Viciedo is still only 24, so there may be some untapped upside. De Aza, on the other hand, is what he is -- an league average 29-year-old outfielder.
For a rebuilding team like the Sox, it makes more sense to hang on to the younger guy with upside and see what happens.
The White Sox beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 in a spring game Friday, but there was a brutal defensive play that drew the ire of manager Robin Ventura and his staff.
Catcher Tyler Flowers was charged with an error when he threw to second base to try to cut down a steal attempt by Cincinnati's Brayan Pena. Neither Beckham nor shortstop Alexei Ramirez covered the bag. The ball sailed into center field, and Pena easily advanced to third.
This is the kind of garbage we saw way too much of last season. Poor defense was huge factor in the Sox' 99-loss disaster in 2013. Ventura says he addressed this mistake immediately. Good, because these kind of errors are inexcusable for veteran players.
It's about time
Reports indicate reliever Ronald Belisario has finally cleared up his visa problems and is scheduled to report to Sox camp. It's about time, now that Opening Day is just over three weeks away.
The Sox bullpen depth could be tested early in the season. Both Nate Jones (glute) and Matt Lindstrom (oblique) have yet to pitch in a spring game due to nagging injuries, and obviously, Belisario hasn't been around. In addition, reliever Daniel Webb has been away from the team due to a death in the family.
The battle for the closer's job has yet to materialize, because the none of the players involved in the competition have been on the mound.