Roster Roulette

So, Wednesday officially begins the Cactus League ledger for the White Sox, which means I will be in Las Vegas for the Cubs-White Sox games in one week. I’m actually going to buy a small suitcase as soon as I finish blogging.

For those not concerned with my travel plans or my future purchases at Target, which pretty much covers everyone, the contest between the Angels and White Sox also marks the start of numerous interesting position battles to be waged by the South Siders. Instead of going through the primary roster openings, let’s look at the roster as a whole.

If you assume Ozzie Guillen takes 12 pitchers, coupled with nine position player starters, then you are left with four open spots. One goes to a back-up catcher and one goes to a back-up infielder, probably Wilson Betemit, leaving Guillen with two roster openings. And then this equation becomes a myriad questions.

–Who is starting in center field? If it’s Brian Anderson, then do both Jerry Owens and DeWayne Wise make the roster or does Guillen take a second utility infielder and risk losing Owens or Wise?

–Who wins the job at second base? If it’s Chris Getz, then does Brent Lillibridge have an advantage for one of those two remaining roster spots because of his infield versatility, speed to burn AND his ability to play center? Remember, Wise, Owens, Betemit and Jayson Nix all are out of options.

–Will Guillen actually break camp with 11 pitchers, meaning only 20 roster spots are committed?

–Is there any chance Dayan Viciedo breaks camp with the White Sox?

–Can both Jose Contreras or Bartolo Colon be ready, health-wise, by the time the fourth and fifth starter’s slot comes up during the first week of the 2009 regular season? While there might be a target date for these veterans to pitch during Spring Training, Contreras just told me the other day as to how there isn’t a “Jose Contreras Comeback Day” set. When he’s ready and White Sox athletic trainer Herm Schneider and the rest of the team’s upper management agrees, Contreras will be out there.

Many questions to be answered, approximately 45 days to come to a decision. Tell me how you think this roster roulette shakes out.

6 Comments

It seems, from a whole team perspective, like the entire position roster is contingent on the results of the second base position battle. We have Lillibridge and Getz as the main competitors for the spot. Lillibridge has a ton of speed, as well as a high OBP in the minors. Getz is projected to be a high average hitter, with patience and a good batter’s eye, which tends to translate to high OBP. If one of the two of them emerge as a viable leadoff candidate, Owens becomes less important in the lineup. We have to have a leadoff man. At the moment, the only possible candidates for that role are Owens, Lillibridge and possibly Getz (although he is at a disadvantage as he is not as fast as the other two). Owens is not an entirely fantastic defensive outfielder, and having Anderson would be ideal from a defensive point of view, especially if he shows up ready to hit. I think it is unlikely that a rookie breaks camp as the lead off hitter unless they exhibit something freakish in spring training. I think you will see all four of Owens, Anderson, Lillibridge, and Getz on the roster. I think Owens starts in center at the beginning of the season. If whoever wins the second base job can show that he’s capable of leading off, and Anderson’s bat comes around, then Owens becomes the 4th outfielder, giving us speed on the bench. All that said, I think the opening day roster looks like this.

1/CF – Owens
2/C – Pierzynski
3/LF – Quentin
4/DH – Thome
5/RF – Dye
6/1B – Konerko
7/SS – Ramirez
8/3B – Fields
9/2B – Lillibridge

Bench:
OF – Anderson
IF – Getz
IF – Betemit
C – Lucy (complete guess)

Rotation:
Buehrle
Floyd
Danks
Contreras (I’m optimistic on these last two)
Colon

Bullpen:
Jenks
Linebrink
Dotel
Thornton
Richard
Carrasco
Russell

BTW: I love that you have a blog now. I’ve always loved your writing.

Later,
Aaron

Scott makes a good point…Nix, Bet, Owens, and Wise are out of options. This would indicate if all things play out equally, then Getz and Wise will have an uphill battle. Nix was considered a top prospect, and if like Thorton who I believe also was out of options, their was an upside if he performed equally to his competition of which had options. I can say as mentioned if all players play equally and there is no standout, then Speed wins. That being said, look to have Nix and Lillibridge aloung with Owens and Anderson on the roster. Wise and Getz …back to the minors. Of Course Wise would have to clear waivers.

Man…I my spelling leaves little to be desired…HAHAHAHA
There and Along..what a twirp!!!

My Line Up looks like this:
1/CF – Owens
2/SS – Ramirez
3/LF – Quentin
4/RF – Dye
5/DH – Thome
6/1B – Konerko
7/C – Pierzynski
8/3B – Fields
9/2B – Nix
Bench: C- Miller, Lillibridge, Bet, and Anderson
Opening Day Starter: DANKS
Five starters: Danks, Floyd, Buehrle, Colon, and Contreras
Relievers: Thornton, Dotel, Linebrink, Russel, Poreda, Carrasco, and Jenks

Scott,

We all care about your Target and travel plans. Remember, what happens in Vegas should end up on the blog. At least I think that’s how the old saying goes, right?

And remember, don’t pack your new suitcase full of $1 bills for your trip. Airport officials tend to frown on that, as a former White Sox exec now knows.

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