Nothing forced for No. 1 hitter, No. 2 catcher

The fact that free agent Chone Figgins appears close to signing a multi-year deal with the Mariners, as reported by FoxSports.com on Friday, doesn’t really impact the White Sox plan to fill their leadoff spot.

Sure, the White Sox long have had interest in one of the game’s best No. 1 hitters. But this projected four-year, approximately $36 million deal left Figgins out of range where the White Sox currently were able to spend. So, where do the White Sox stand in regard to a leadoff man?

General manager Ken Williams presented a somewhat tongue-in-cheek answer to this particular inquiry during a Friday afternoon conference call.

“We won’t be forfeiting the spot in the order. There’s going to be someone under the ‘No. 1′ in our lineup,” said Williams in a call to discuss the 2009 Winter Meetings, beginning Monday morning in Indianapolis.

Williams once again used the example of a leadoff hitter running against the pure speed prototype by pointing to the team’s usage of Orlando Cabrera during the 2008 American League Central championship campaign. Gordon Beckham, who had a .347 on-base percentage as part of his 2009 rookie season and would add extra-base punch at the top, a la Derek Jeter, would be an in-house leadoff candidate if the White Sox don’t make any further additions.

Judging by Williams’ comments above, he doesn’t seem worried about going to Spring Training without that de fact offensive force at the top.

“As much as 90 percent of the other teams in the league that don’t have the ideal leadoff guy,” Williams said. “You look at some of the teams that are around that have been successful. They don’t have the ideal guy.”

Jordan Danks’ chances to make the Opening Day roster also appeared to get a December boost, although Williams didn’t mention the younger brother of starter John Danks by name. With the top-notch pitching staff in place, beginning with a starting rotation as strong on paper as any American League group, Williams stressed how tightening up the defense in the outfield, going along with the changes already made in the infield, remains a priority.

Danks, 23, was deemed to be ready defensively in 2009. So, the White Sox could take a chance on him as the third outfielder, with the support of veterans such as Andruw Jones and Mark Kotsay.

This same school of thought could lead to Tyler Flowers breaking camp as the team’s backup catcher, although Williams admitted to asking around and having some talks about the spot.

“We don’t see it as a situation where we have to do something if it doesn’t fit overall,” Williams said. “We do have options, and not just Tyler.

“If it turns out we want to put Tyler in this sort of situation, the move comes with expectations that he will grow into the role similar to a young backup quarterback in the NFL. He’ll be learning as he goes, but also losing development time. After the season, that would mean he would have to continue going out and playing somewhere, whether it’s the Fall League or down in Winter ball.

“It’s not something that’s a pressing issue,” Williams said. “We will continue to survey the landscape, but where we sit right now, the way we are designed, we don’t have to make a move that’s uncomfortable or inconsistent to our overall plan.”

4 Comments

There is no excuse for not signing Figgins! 4/36? The addition of Figgins would have made the White Sox a serious contender! Now the plan is to rely on Teahan as a starter? Is Kenny expecting 3 rookies to round out his roster… and make them competetive? Please Kenny, sign Glaus to play 3rd, keep Teahan as a sub. I’m ok with Gartrell and Flowers rotating in and out of the starting lineup, but now it appears Jordan Danks will be as well.

I hope they are all ready

Very disappointing

antiochrob, if you thought the White Sox were going to be able to sign Figgins and if you think the White Sox will not be contenders without him, you do not pay attention. Next season, the Sox will be more athletic, with more options off the bench and lineup, with an extremely talented starting staff (Buehrle, Peavy, Floyd, and Danks; and I didn’t even mention a solid number five in Garcia or Hudson), and a solid bullpen whose core members are still there. Whether or not they have a great speedster at the top of the order, as long as whoever fills that spot can get on base and put the pressure on the pitcher and defense (which they have options who can do that), they will be just fine. And, if Mitchell progresses like everyone hopes and believes he will, then a lead-off hitter more dynamic than Figgins is just another year away. Pay attention to what the White Sox are doing, look at how they are building their team for now and the future, and stop acting like Cubs fan in thinking bigtime free agents will make everything perfect.

Adding Vizquel,Kotsay, and Jones doesn’t make the team more athletic,maybe more experienced(older)!Getting rid of Getz also doesn’t make the team better!Making Teahan a starter on a team to contend with the Yankees,Red Sox and Angels is laughable.The bullpen has lost Dotel and is now relying on Linebrink,Carrasco, and Pena to get to Thornton/Jenks.Doesn’t exactly strike fear into anybody! Now lets add a rookie to CF and leadoff…now that sounds like a Cub fan hoping for next year!Oh and another rookie to rotate as the backup catcher and DH…or lets look at what a “serious contender” could have done. Sign an elite leadoff man, with excellent defensive skills at numerous skill positions, at under market value. Seems like a no brainer to me. Other than looking at the bright future, can you name names of these players that are going to fill the voids and make the White Sox serious contenders for something a little bit more than the Central Div?

Figgins is undoubtedly one of the premier leadoff men in the league, and therefore 4 years at 36 million is a steal. But, if the Sox don’t have the money, we can’t be upset about not signing him…I mean, we just added Peavy and Rios…both of whom should be capable of being allstars this year. There are very few ideal leadoff hitters in the MLB, and just because we don’t have one on the Southside does not mean we won’t compete!

Also, please stop accusing each other of acting like Cubs fans! You both seem like knowledgeable Sox fans…Cubs fans would be talking about trading Jeff Samardzija for Sebathia or bringing back Sammy Sosa! They wouldn’t even know who Chone Figgins is, let alone if he’s necessary to give their team the missing link.

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