Ah, the first feelings of panic and chagrin coming from the 2013 White Sox season. A twitter friend let me know after posting about John Danks last night that the Sox will be putting him on the 15 day DL to start the season, which makes the task of filling his spot and also having a fifth starter ready a priority. The good thing about the start of the season is that there are more off dates so a four man rotation is a possibility. Even so, who is the fifth, sorta fourth starter for the White Sox? A couple of names come to mind, or better said have been bandied about from the local media.
The regular fixture in the rotation even after Danks comes back is Jose Quintana. He pitched in 2012 and as a 23 year-old rookie he didn’t do too bad. He started out fairly well, but looking at his month to month splits, September was not kind to young Jose. Basically by the end of the season, he couldn’t get people out. After last year, hopefully he is prepared for the rigors of a full MLB season and can bring some stability to the back end of the rotation.
With Danks out someone else needs to be brought in and Dylan Axelrod or Hector Santiago have been mentioned. Neither one exactly inspires confidence. I lump Quintana in this group because if he falters these are the next two on the fodder line. Axelrod had seven starts in 2012 and it wasn’t very impressive. He had a 5.03 ERA in those starts, being hit pretty hard with a .292 BAbip, amazingly, he was even worse as a reliever.
Santiago was initially thought to be a closer in 2012. The Sox even had a intro video made up for him by the time of the home opener. That experiment didn’t really workout, as it seemed like every game he entered as a closer he gave up a home run. or two. Eventually he was tabbed for spot starts and accrued four last season. He wasn’t too bad, even with the small sample size. Santiago had a 1.86 ERA and had a .262 BAbip. If he can continue that trend while Danks is recovering, then things should be ok. If Danks is out beyond May, my guess is the White Sox will be using some kind of combination of Axelrod and Santiago and that probably won’t bode well.