Eight-man rotation? Not likely
I have to give credit to Mark Gonzales, my esteemed White Sox beat writing colleague and friend from the Chicago Tribune, for coming up with a funny image following Sunday’s 5-1 White Sox victory over Detroit.
Gonzales was talking about the picture from the 2005 White Sox World Series championship run that had all the starting pitchers holding baseballs with their arm outstretched in a group shot. He suggested if the White Sox took that same picture at this point this year, there might be eight guys in the picture.
Let’s see, there’s Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Jose Contreras. Then, there’s Bartolo Colon and Clayton Richard, and don’t forget Freddy Garcia getting back into pitching form with Class A Kannapolis, and Carlos Torres looking pretty solid in his one start for the White Sox. Even Aaron Poreda started for Charlotte after being optioned down, so his time can’t be too far away.
Has any Major League team ever gone to an eight or nine-man rotation? With the way Ozzie Guillen likes to match up out of the bullpen, there’s no way the White Sox will go one short in relief and even have a six-man starting staff.
But with two straight strong outings under his belt, I don’t see how Richard can be moved back to the bullpen. Some would argue how Richard has been great for two starts, but where was he the eight prior to that one? He could be just as helpful as the second southpaw in relief. In this sort of tight division race, though, you have to ride the hot hand.
So, who becomes the expendable piece? I would say Colon, with all due respect to the highly successful veteran right-hander. He looked sharp on Friday, but I think you can get what he provides from Richard or even Garcia down the line. The problem for Colon is he can’t work in relief, and I’m not sure if the White Sox are ready to cut ties with him.
It should be an interesting call to make. Then again, Richard’s trade value probably never will be as high as it is right now.
Having too many quality starters certainly is a good problem to have.