Will Lincecum become the White Sox fifth starter?

Will Lincecum become the White Sox fifth starter?
Former Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum at a showcase on Friday. (MLB.com)

After the White Sox cut veteran lefty John Danks, the fifth spot in their rotation opened indefinitely. Let's take a look at the five men vying for the spot behind Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon and Mat Latos. Fortunately, they're all right handed.

1. Miguel Gonzalez

  • Acquired: Gonzalez was signed just as the season began to serve as insurance for John Danks, a role he has already served this year in a spot start against Toronto.
  • Experience: The five-year vet has pitched well in the major leagues until last season, leading to him getting cut from the Baltimore Orioles at the beginning of the season. This season he was tagged for five runs in five innings against the Blue Jays and didn't look too hot doing it.
  • 2016 minor league results: So far this year Gonzalez has a 2.65 ERA in Charlotte and a WHIP of 1.176. The Blue Jays were a tough opponent to face, so maybe Gonzalez can transfer some of his AAA results to Chicago.
  • Will he get it?: I'd say as of right now, Gonzalez can be seen as the early favorite, albeit on shaky ground.

2. Erik Johnson

  • Acquired: Johnson was drafted by the White Sox in the 2nd round of the 2011 MLB Draft.
  • Experience: Johnson has been up and down with the team the past four years. He was the team's number one prospect in 2013 when he got called up to the show an impressed. Then he faltered for all of 2014 at the major league level and in AAA. Then in 2015 he impressed again, regained his stuff and was the favorite for the fifth spot coming into the spring before Latos was signed. Then he failed his audition on Thursday as he gave up four runs in five innings on eight hits and three walks.
  • 2016 minor league results: In four AAA starts Johnson has a 3.74 ERA and a WHIP of 1.400.
  • Will he get it: Probably not. The team has shown little confidence in Johnson after he lost a rotation spot in 2014.

3. Jacob Turner

  • Acquired: The former top prospect was selected off waivers in October from the Cubs before he was signed to a $1.5 million deal. 
  • Experience: Still only 25, Turner could stand to benefit from the 1-2 punch of Don Cooper and Herm Schneider as injuries have derailed his career. Turner's last MLB experience was with the Marlins and Cubs in 2014 where he got rocked around across 18 starts.
  • 2016 minor league results: In five starts Turner has a 3.04 ERA and a WHIP of 1.238.
  • Will he get it: Turner will likely get a shot if Gonzalez fails to impress today.

4. Chris Beck

  • Acquired: Beck was drafted by the Sox in the second round of the 2012 MLB Draft.
  • Experience: Beck has one major league start, a spot start last year before he succumbed to injury issues. He gave up four runs in six innings, while allowing ten hits.
  • 2016 minor league results: The team's No. 11 prospect has a 5.40 ERA this year and a 1.590 WHIP in five starts.
  • Will he get it: As of now, no. Beck's coming back from an injury plagued 2015 and hasn't shown his previous AAA success. He'll likely be on call in a worst-case scenario.

5. Tim Lincecum

  • Acquired: Currently a free agent. The White Sox are expressing interest, have an opening and like Turner, Lincecum could greatly benefit from Don Cooper and Herm Schneider. The Sox, Giants, Angels and D'Backs are all expressing interest. The White Sox can offer a starting spot on the best team in the American League, the Giants (the only team Lincecum has ever known) are offering a bullpen spot and the Angels and D'Backs are both under .500.
  • Experience: Lincecum is a four-time All-Star, two-time Cy Young award winner and three-time World Series champion. His resume needs no introduction. He missed half of last year with a hip issue that he needed surgery for and he threw in a showcase for teams on Friday, with White Sox VP Kenny Williams in attendance.
  • Will he get it: If the Sox sign Lincecum, he'll be named the fifth starter, guaranteed.

Want to read up on the White Sox farm system and stars of tomorrow? Check out Future Sox.

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