Last season Ozzie put together 126 different lineups over the course of the season. If recent rumors are any indication, the White Sox lineup will continue to be in flux this season.
As reported by Mark Gonzales, Ozzie has floated two ideas recently, both of which gave me the same knee-jerk reaction: “SERIOUSLY!?”
1. Batting Mark Kotsay THIRD against Right-Handed Pitchers
Now don’t get me wrong, I like having Mark Kotsay as a part of the White Sox. He’s an excellent utility player who deserves upwards of 200 at-bats this season. However, when I don’t love Kotsay is when he’s batting third and getting 400 to 500 at-bats.
Sure, Kotsay is having a good spring (.429 with 10 RBI in his last 10 games). And I understand Ozzie’s desire to split up the right-handed bats in the middle of the lineup. However, Kotsay is not an everyday player, no matter what side of the plate he bats from.
And as for those impressive spring training numbers, two words for you: Josh Fields. Fields hit over .400 last spring training but looked lost at the plate during the regular season.
2. Inserting Vizquel into the Leadoff Spot against Tough Left-Handed Pitchers
This idea is flawed in a few ways. The most notable being that Juan Pierre has a .304 average against left-handers. Add that to the fact that Omar Vizquel is not at the point of his career where he should be leading off any lineup.
I was fine with the Sox bringing Vizquel in to tutor Alexi and Beckham. And if Ozzie wanted to throw him out there every once in a while for his defense, I was OK with that too. However, Vizquel is on the severe downslope of his career, and giving him a role atop an already less-than-powerful lineup is a severe miscalculation by Ozzie.
If Ozzie implements these two ideas, is the season over? Of course not. But every decision Ozzie makes either helps the team move closer to a World Series title, or pushes them farther away from it. It seems clear to me that these two decisions would move the Sox in the wrong direction.