Chicago White Sox

Mark Teahen's Return to Chicago White Sox Means Awful Decision Coming

CHICAGO - AUGUST 01: Dayan Viciedo #24 of the Chicago White Sox hits the ball against the Oakland Athletics at U.S. Cellular Field on August 1, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Athletics 4-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Chris MurphyAnalyst IAugust 3, 2010

Mark Teahen is set to come back in about a week from his minor league stint in Triple-A Charlotte after recovering from a fractured middle finger in May—not that anyone in the organization has noticed his absence with the White Sox on a tear without him. 

A question, which I'm certain manager Ozzie Guillen and GM Kenny Williams will answer incorrectly, looms.

Who do the White Sox send down for Mark Teahen?

Almost certainly the White Sox will send down either Brent Lillibridge or Dayan Viciedo, although the answer is clear that Mark Kotsay deserves the demotion.

I understand bringing up Teahen.

He can play third, second, and the outfield, and he can run. He's a nice cushion for the inevitable fall of Omar Vizquel's bat, which has been solid, especially with his impressive glove at third. 

The fact the White Sox paid Teahen for some reason may come into play in that decision.

Bringing him up makes sense, but starting him does not. That, I believe, Guillen will make the right call on.

Who Teahen replaces, however, smells like an awful decision.

After his pinch-hit home run in the first game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers Tuesday, Viciedo, the 21-year-old prospect, is hitting .328 with three home runs, seven RBI, 13 runs, and a stolen base. He's shown no patience, however, walking zero times in 67 at-bats.

The White Sox feel Viciedo should be used against lefties, which is why they continue to bat Kotsay and Jones over Viciedo at DH, yet his numbers have come with 33 at-bats against righties and 34 at-bats against lefties. 

Viciedo is batting .273 with a home run, three RBI, and six runs against righties. Viciedo signed a four-year, $10 million contract with the White Sox, and rather than letting him play every day in the minors, the White Sox are platooning him at DH with more experienced hitters who aren't hitting.

Kotsay is hitting .215 with six home runs, 21 RBI, 23 runs, and a .298 OBP in 237 at-bats. Considering he is 0-for-20 against lefties, I would say he is hitting righties a bit better, but only because he can't get worse.

Viciedo is creeping in on Kotsay's numbers with one-third of the at-bats. 

Kotsay's mediocre-to-bad glove at first base is not worth his awful hitting. Enough of this complaining about bad luck for Kotsay.

So his average would rise to about .230 if he had some balls drop.

Is that better?

Viciedo can play first base if Konerko needs a rest. Viciedo is your future, and you're starting an old guy who doesn't even have a past.

On the other side, you have the 26-year-old Brent Lillibridge. Lillibridge is your best option as a pinch runner, can play the entire infield if need be and center field, and is batting .406 with one home run, 13 RBI, eight runs, and two stolen bases in 32 at-bats.

Keeping Andruw Jones, even though he's batting .201 with a .309 OBP in 224 at-bats, is okay because he does have 15 home runs and nine stolen bases and can play every position in the outfield.

Starting him every day doesn't make sense, but keeping him around for versatility does.

Kotsay can only play a serviceable first base and is not hitting.

There is no reason to send down one of two young, more flexible players to make room for a designated hitter who can't hit, but Guillen and Williams have been avoiding the obvious choice all season.

Prove me wrong, Kenny and Ozzie.

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