Chicago White Sox: Who's Going to Texas Come Opening Day?
The White Sox currently entertain 51 guys in big league camp after last week's roster cuts.
If I'm not mistaken, that number is bound to be sliced in half come Opening Day.
On March 14th, six major league hopefuls were sent down by manager Robin Ventura and the White Sox coaching staff. RHP Gregory Infante and OF Delwyn Young were the only names on that list that sounded the least bit familiar.
That is, unless you're more of a White Sox buff than me and regard RHP Jacob Petricka, C Damaso Espino and OF Brandon Short worth mentioning. In that case, I'm sorry.
Nevertheless, decisions have to be made as to who will be gearing up with the big club on Opening Day.
While the dreams of some may be postponed, the game of baseball is one loaded with both opportunity and disappointment.
Who's Going to Salvage the Open Bullpen Spots?
After watching the 11-pitcher experiment fail miserably last season, the team has to be inclined to bring 12 pitchers to Texas.
Heck, the combination of Elvis Andrus, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton might warrant 14 pitchers.
Unless, Robin Ventura is okay allowing Brent Lillibridge to take the bump.
Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain (presuming he's healthy), Addison Reed, Will Ohman (Oh my) and Zach Stewart seem to be locks for the Sox pen. So, who gets the nod for the two other vacancies?
Luckily for Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper, the duo have a plethora of luxurious options to select from. (I decided to turn down Coop's offer.)
While Infante and others are no longer part of the equation, the likes of Nathan Jones, Dylan Axelrod, Eric Stults and Brian Bruney are still hanging around.
The challenge for each of them: compete against one another for a chance to go up with the big club.
But, perhaps these guys aren't the slouches that I perceive them as?
Their spring training numbers are actually quite impressive. Don't listen to me, check them out for yourself.
Yes, it's spring training. Nonetheless, the month of March must count for something. For guys like Eric Stults and Brian Bruney, spring training can be career changing.
When all is said and done, Stults and Bruney are my picks to be on the White Sox charter to Arlington, Texas.
Even if their roles are to limit the damage that the hard-hitting Rangers are likely to create.
The Battle of the Bench Bats
I'm an accounting major, so let's see if I can successfully add. If the Sox have a 25-man roster and are set on taking 12 pitchers, that leaves 13 spots left for the offense.
Of those 13, eight represent projected White Sox starters.
For those playing at home, the list includes AJ, Paulie, Beckham, Ramirez, Morel, Viciedo, De Aza, Rios and Adam Dunn.
So who's left to claw for the final five roster spots?
First, the locks: Brent Lillibridge, Tyler Flowers and Kosuke Fukudome. In my estimation, there's really no debate as to whether this group will be heading down to Texas.
Now, here's where the situation gets a bit interesting. Two spots for a chance to fight for the pennant.
Seriously, there's actually not that much of a race for the last two spots. Journeyman Dan Johnson and the mighty Eduardo Escobar seem like they are the best options. If it was 1994, Michael Jordan would certainly be on this list.
Keep in mind Jordan Danks and Jared Mitchell couldn't hit even if baseball was played with a volleyball.
Talk about a race to the finish.
Let me tell you, I'm biting my nails over this crucial decision in White Sox history.
What to Look for in the Next Couple Days
But seriously, I liked the acquisition of former first-round pick Greg Golson. While the "slugger" was 3-19 with the Royals before yesterday's trade, I always like potential.
Who knows, maybe the mighty Jeff Manto and company can fix the flaw in his swing and transform him into the perennial All-Star he was destined to be in 2004.
(Sorry, my computer just got hijacked by an optimistic Cubs fan.)
All in all, the moves White Sox management will make in the near future won't have the legs to make national headlines. Unless they sign Magglio Ordonez or Vladimir Guerrero to be batboys.
I hear they're looking for jobs.