Sox get through all of 5 games before carrying six outfielders becomes a bad idea

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Well, this is awkward // Christopher Hanewinckel, Chicago Tribune

When the Sox decided to not decide between Lastings Milledge and Brent Lillibridge at the end of Spring Training, while I was certainly quizzical of whether they'd be smarter to stock up on bullpen depth due to the fact that one of their starters is Phil Humber (or not Phil Humber somehow), it was a lot more puzzling what kind of juggling act Ozzie would have to pull to find at-bats for Lilibridge, Milledge and positional nomad Mark Teahen.

Well, mark me down as wrong on both accounts.

Through a bizarre combination of blowouts, extra-inning games,
pinch-running opportunities, and Adam Dunn's impromptu appendectomy
(pretty much the only type of appendectomy), the Sox found a
surprising amount of time for all their understudies, but also due to
this bizarre combination, they had pretty much exhausted their entire
bullpen against the two worst offenses in the division.

Given the situation, Thursday's pregame announcement to designate Spring
Training wonder Lastings Milledge while promoting reliever Jeff Gray to
come pitch at replacement level for the big club doesn't register as
the most illogical decision ever.  However, it certainly makes the entire decision process that led to this look mighty
foolish.

Instead of going to Triple-A Charlotte, like he would have if cut at the
end of Spring Training, Milledge was placed on waivers, and seems
unlikely to return.  The Sox instead retained Brett Lillibridge, who
provides better defense and speed but negligible upside.

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Perhaps we should just admit that anyone who tries to take Lillibridge's job is doomed to a grisly fate // Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune

In fairness, if you can play outfield badly enough to merit being cut
after one start, Milledge might very well have done so.  If the front
office was really struck with the immediacy of their bullpen crisis,
it's not hard to imagine management siding with the guy who can field
his position on first instinct.

If keeping Milledge on the 25-man roster was the team being too tempted
by his talent to not have him immediately available, then the failure to
protect him seems like they gambled on not needing an extra pitcher and
had the gambit blow up in their faces with comical immediacy.  A true "I immediately regret this decision!" moment.

Screwing yourself out of a fourth outfielder by not playing the options
correctly--and not exactly a gold glover at that--isn't a significant front
office blunder, just a discouraging one.  More significant would be
trading for Vernon Wells' contract, or deciding to win every off-season
bidding war by offering one more year to each target than the rest of
the league is willing to, or getting into a bidding war for A.J.
Pierzynski at all (between his on-base skills and his inability to hold
runners, are we paying him for anything that is measured statistically
anymore?).  Those are the type of moves that actually sidetrack seasons or hint front office incompetence that will manifest itself in future unfortunate ways.
 

Forcing Ozzie to tell a player to pack to his bags t just over a week after he made the team is merely sloppy.  Unnecessarily so.

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  • Didnt Lastings clear waivers, and end up at Charlotte? Talk about things blowing up in your face with comic immediacy. In line with your sage analysis on AJ (his defense, his ability to handle pitchers, his performance in the clutch, leadership abilities?), and your veiled reference to the Alex Rios pickup (unless you flat out blew this and erroneously brought up Wells instead of Rios). So why does Chicago Now allow you to hang onto the White Sox gig?

  • I was referring to Wells, and how we're better off having a front office that doesn't makes mistakes of that magnitude. I don't regard the Rios acquisition as a mistake at all, but you're right, that isn't very clear.

    A.J.'s defense has thrown out all of 0 out of 10 basestealers this year and allowed 2 passed balls, but I guess his ability to handle pitchers and explain why this isn't a problem is irreplaceable.

    I wish you could have explained to me that it was a done deal that every major league team would pass on Milledge at the time, so I could have avoided such an inane piece on how it was an unneccessary risk rather than wait till 6 days later and talk from complete hindsight. Instead I'm hanging out in the breeze with this crazy post where I concluded that it wasn't that big of a deal. Better late than never I suppose.

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