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One thing that is certain for the White Sox outfield next season is that newly acquired Avisail Garcia will be a part of it. After that, it's up in the air.
Alejandro De Aza has been up and down this year. He has seemingly been solid at the plate with a .271 batting average to go along with 14 home runs, 53 RBI and 74 runs from the lead off spot. However, his 122 strikeouts is an alarming number for a leadoff hitter. According to Fangraphs.com, his strikeout to walk percentage is almost three to one (21.4 percent to 7.4 percent). In addition, De Aza has been surprisingly bad on the base paths making all kinds of mental mistakes and has committed seven errors in the outfield.
He is arbitration eligible at the end of this season and it will be interesting to see what the team decides to do with him. The White Sox do have several outfielders in their minor league system with big league potential, but it's questionable whether any of them are ready to contribute at this point.
Another issue is that left fielder Dayan Viciedo may make the move to first base next season if Paul Konerko departs. If that's the case, then it's likely that Viciedo would split time at first base and DH with Adam Dunn. However, this would mean that there would be two openings in the White Sox outfield if De Aza isn't back.
Jordan Danks is one option for an outfield spot and, although he has played well as of late, it's still not clear whether he is ready to be an every day player. If it turns out that he is ready, that would be a big boost for the White Sox.
Other options include promoting one of the outfield prospects, such as Trayce Thompson or Brandon Jacobs, and/or making a deal to get a veteran. In his recent article that projects what the White Sox lineup will look like next season, fellow B/R writer Matthew Smith discusses the possibility of acquiring Shin-Soo Choo in the offseason to fill a hole in the outfield.
Smith does make a solid case for Choo citing the fact that he is a left-handed leadoff hitter (who could replace De Aza) that hits to all fields and has a career .386 OBP, which is much better than the .339 career OBP of De Aza. Choo is also a great defender and runs the bases well—two areas where De Aza has struggled this season.
However, as a free agent, Choo will more than likely be sought after by several other teams so it may not be something the White Sox can do financially unless there are some corresponding moves to free up more money (i.e. trading Alexei Ramirez). Again, that remains to be seen.
Whatever is done this offseason, it certainly appears that the outfield will look much different on opening day 2014 than it did when the 2013-14 season started.
And that's probably a good thing.