In assessing what moves the White Sox can be expected to make this off-season, I figured the only way I could really lay it out clear is to write out the whole roster, and go from there.
Perhaps that's because there figures to be so few moves of consequence, or because the main task will be to purge the excess from the 25-man roster.
That's right, the 2011 79-83 squad has too many installed players returning. Now you understand the pessimism.
C A.J. Pierzynski
C Tyler Flowers
1B Paul Konerko
1B Adam Dunn
2B Gordon Beckham
SS Alexei Ramirez
3B Brent Morel
IF Eduardo Escobar
OF Alejandro De Aza
OF Alex Rios
OF Dayan Viciedo
OF Carlos Quentin
BL Brent Lillibridge
SP Jake Peavy
SP John Danks
SP Gavin Floyd
SP Phil Humber
SP Mark Buehrle
SP Chris Sale
RP Sergio Santos
RP Jesse Crain
RP Matt Thornton
RP Jason Frasor (apparently!)
RP Addison Reed
RP Will Ohman
RP Zach Stewart
RP Dylan Axelrod
- There are 27 players listed here; that's the primary issue to solve.
- Buehrle is in italics since he isn't actually on the team at the moment.
- The other 3 Sox free agents aren't listed at all because screw it, they're gone
- Brent Lillibridge is listed at 'BL', because he plays the Brent Lillibridge position. I would consider the White Sox going into the tank in mid-May, offering the possibility that Lillibridge gets 450 PAs, hits 35 HRs while striking out 45% of the time as "something to watch for"
- "Why is so-and-so listed above--" because the order doesn't particularly matter
There are only 13 position players listed, which is actually just fine, and one fewer than the White Sox entered Opening Day 2011 with (which of course prompted the oh-so-rare 1st week DFA of Lastings Milledge).
An acquaintance might look upon the rising of Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo and think that there's no full-time spot for Carlos Quentin. A friend would look upon it and say there's no full-time role for Alex Rios.
If say, the White Sox were equally win-now in 2012 as they were in 2011, an outfield of Quentin, De Aza, Viciedo could win out. Dunn would get the DH spot, or get shifted out for Quentin or Viciedo while Rios (or hell, Lillibridge!) earned a corner outfield spot, depending on who looked the most frisky.
This is of course, is a pipe dream of roster optimization--an unstable one at that--and is outside the general conception of what Quentin's fate is.
CQ is talented, injury-prone, and entering his final year of arbitration. He's only projected to get raised up to $6.6 million next season, making him more reasonable to hold, but his trade value will not get higher than it is now when he's available for a full season.
If he leaves, Lillibridge's role as super-sub increases while another back-up infielder or outfielder is brought in (possibly Ozzie Martinez or Jordan Danks?)
Just so long as they don't trade Quentin to inexplicably bring in Josh Willingham, it should be tolerable.
Zach Stewart gave up tons o' dingers in his 67.1 IP stint in 2011, Dylan Axelrod struck out 19 batters in 18.2 IP, and posted a sub-3.00 ERA. That said, Axelrod will probably be held in Triple-A to make the emergency spots starts that will inevitably arise as Stewart contributes to the pen. See! I'm not a slave to stats.
With only one of the Buehrle-Danks-Floyd triumvirate expected to depart, and Sale still expected to be moved up, there's no reason to push Stewart nor Axelrod beyond spot starter/reliever.
That would leave the sole matter of real debate with the staff whether Buehrle will be allowed to walk, or re-signed while Danks or Floyd is traded.
Of course, Kenny Williams is kind of a wild card, he did just pick up Jason Frasor's option after all.
Matt Thornton could be on the trading block, either on his own or packaged with Quentin/Floyd/Danks, which would probably necessitate the acquisition of another spare lefty arm. Pierzynski getting dealt would necessitate a back-up catcher, as well some other spare part being packaged would necessitate a corresponding spare part.
There doesn't seem to be much other major movement in line; saying goodbye to the last manager to deliver the franchise a World Series and hiring a guy out of announcing to replace him figures to be the story of the off-season.
But this is just the starting point. The off-season is long, buy-low candidates will plentiful, and past history teaches us to know better.
For reference, I'll put up the prospective Opening Day 2012 25-man roster on the nav bar, and alter it as things get screwy and twisted around.
It'll be fun! It will not be referred to as "rosterbation", because that's just kinda gross.
Tags: A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Dunn, addison reed, Alejandro De Aza, Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez, baseball, Brent Lillibridge, Brent Morel, Chris Sale, Dayan Viciedo, dylan axelrod, eduardo escobard, Gavin Floyd, Gordon Beckham, Jake Peavy, jesse crain, John Danks, Kenny Williams, Mark Buehrle, Matt Thornton, Ozzie Guillen, ozzie martinez, Paul Konerko, philip humber, Robin Ventura, Sergio Santos, Tyler Flowers, White Sox, Will Ohman, zach stewart