Some of the scuttlebutt in baseball circles has centered on the White Sox's desire to add a lefthanded hitter to balance the everyday lineup, especially with the departure of A.J.Pierzynski.
Of course, getting the right player isn't as easy as it seems. With Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn, it won't be a first baseman or DH. Even though the Red Sox's Jarrod Saltalamacchia appears to be available, it presumably won't be at catcher as the Sox look to entrust the position to Tyler Flowers and a lefty backup, which looks like Hector Gimenez. Second base? there's Gordon Beckham. Shortstop? Alexei Ramirez. Third base? Unless there's a change of plans, newly-signed Jeff Keppinger will hold down the fort.
Then there's the outfield of Dayan Viciedo, Alejandro De Aza and Alex Rios, which is where the change would most likely be made with one or more of these three used to obtain that lefthanded hitter. This is all speculation, of course, but let's take it a step further. Who's realistically available?
At the top of he MLB food chain are the virtually untouchables: Josh Hamilton is now an Angel; Joey Votto is the star in Cincinnati as Matt Kemp is with the Dodgers; the A's will certainly hold on to Josh Reddick; Curtis Granderson's increasing propensity to strike out wouldn't fit in the same lineup as Adam Dunn; free agent Michael Bourn is asking for too much and is he that much better than De Aza?
So, here are three to consider:
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies: He hit .303 in 2012 with 22 homers, 85 RBIs and a .371 on base percentage. While he'll make $7.5 million next season, his escalating contract will pay him him as much as $20 million in 2017--a year before he hits free agency. And his agent is Scott Boras. Verdict: Nada, too pricey.
Andre Ethier, Dodgers: With all the changes with the new ownership there was some talk about L.A. moving Ethier. His numbers last year were 20 homers, 89 RBIs, a .284 BA and .351 OBP. He is also signed through 2017, making $13.5 million next season and rising to $17.5 during the last year of his contract. Verdict: Same as Gonzalez.
Jason Kubel, Diamondbacks: Well known to Sox fans from his Twins' days, there have been whispers that this would be the Sox's best option if they can swing a deal with the D-backs. He smashed 30 homers and drove in 90 for Arizona last season, but hit only .253 and struck out 150 times. That said, while Kubel will be making $7.5 million in 2013, it's the last year of his deal and he'll be a free agent after next season. Verdict: Maybe the best option, but he would be likely be a one-year rental--and those Ks are a concern.
So, there's some food for thought. Rick Hahn, it's in your court. I look forward to seeing your next move. And, for the record, Hahn did say he wouldn't make a move for a lefty over a righty hitter, whether they're currently on the roster or not, if it didn't improve the overall team.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see.