Monday, December 28, 2015

What would the White Sox's 25-man roster look like if the season started today?

Today is Dec. 28, so there still is a long way until the White Sox open the season April 4 in Oakland. But, some offseason moves have been made, and we're a little less than two months away from pitchers and catchers reporting. So, let's take a look at what the 25-man roster might look like if the season started today, which, of course, it does not:
Todd Frazier

Starting pitchers:
1. Chris Sale
2. Jose Quintana
3. Carlos Rodon
4. John Danks
5. Erik Johnson

Relief pitchers:
1. David Robertson
2. Nate Jones
3. Zach Duke
4. Zach Putnam
5. Jake Petricka
6. Tommy Kahnle
7. Dan Jennings

1. Alex Avila
2. Dioner Navarro

1. Jose Abreu
2. Todd Frazier
3. Brett Lawrie
4. Adam LaRoche
5. Tyler Saladino
6. Carlos Sanchez
7. Leury Garcia

1. Adam Eaton
2. Melky Cabrera
3. Avisail Garcia
4. J.B. Shuck

The catching situation and the infield look a lot better than they did at the end of last season. Avila and Navarro figure to be upgrades over Tyler Flowers and Geovany Soto.

If Frazier comes anywhere close to duplicating the 35 home runs, 43 doubles and 13 stolen bases he posted with the Cincinnati Reds last season, he's a huge upgrade at third base for the Sox. Heck, if he does even half that, he's a huge upgrade. Lawrie's defense could be hit or miss, but his bat will almost certainly be an major improvement over Sanchez at second base. Right now, it looks like Sanchez and Saladino will compete for the starting shortstop position in spring, unless another move is made.

What do the Sox still need? Well, they need outfield help. Another middle-of-the-order bat is required. Frazier will help provide protection in the lineup for Abreu, but the Sox need another guy to help them push the declining LaRoche to the bench and to the margins of the roster. There has been talk of the Sox being interested in free agent Alex Gordon, who is an elite defensive outfielder, but he's probably not a solution as a middle-of-the-order bat. Two other free agents, Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton, are power-producing outfielders, but it's unclear if the Sox are willing to open the pocketbook for a home run hitter this offseason. They better, if they are serious about winning in 2016.

One other thing the Sox need to do: Add an innings-eating veteran to help the rotation. It's been exciting to watch Rodon's development over the past year and half since the Sox drafted him, but he's still never thrown 200 innings in a big-league season. He'll probably still have an innings limit in 2016. Johnson also is unproven, so it would behoove the Sox to have a fallback option who can make spot starts and work in long relief. There's no need to look for a high-priced pitcher or an ace, just someone who can be signed on a one-year deal. Some pitchers who fit this profile might include Doug Fister, Ross Detwiler, Bud Norris, Kyle Kendrick and Colby Lewis.

We'll see what other moves the Sox might have in store as the calendar turns to January.

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