Chicago White Sox: Something Has to Change at Third Base

Chris MurphyAnalyst IJune 21, 2011

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

It would seem as though the Brent Morel experiment at third base for the Chicago White Sox can be dubbed a failure.

Perhaps people listened far too much into White Sox announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson's exaggerations regarding Morel's defense.

Hawk? Exaggerate? That never happens.

No matter how the myth of Morel's amazing defense was spread, it is a complete fallacy. He's decent at third base and that certainly does not make up for his inability to hit.

Last season, in 164 innings at third base, Morel had a minus-1.0 UZR, which means his defense cost the White Sox a run. His UZR/150, which measures ultimate zone rating per 150 games, was minus-8.4.

This season, in 418.1 innings at third base, Morel has a 1.3 UZR and a 5.9 UZR/150, which is decent.

What isn't decent is the fact, in 165 at-bats, Morel is hitting .248 with a .262 on-base percentage, one home run, 14 RBI, 15 runs and two stolen bases. He has walked one time.

What's worse is the White Sox seem content with sticking Omar Vizquel or Mark Teahen at third base, while Morel struggles. Neither are a real upgrade.

Once again, someone tell Hawk to stop making people think Vizquel is some kind of Godsend. He can't hit for power, has a minus-3.4 UZR and a minus-44 UZR/150 this season in 111.2 innings at third base and a -0.7 UZR and a minus-11.8 UZR/150 in 83.1 innings at second.

It is amazing he can still play baseball at his age and he's perfect to teach shortstop Alexei Ramirez how to play the position, but no contending team should have to start or depend on Vizquel.

Vizquel is just another instance of manager Ozzie Guillen and GM Kenny Williams putting their obsessions, no matter how past their prime they are, ahead of logic.

Teahen has a minus-0.7 UZR and a minus-9.7 UZR/150 in 105.2 innings at third base. 

Clearly, defense at third base is not a priority for the White Sox, so perhaps the team should bring up a third-base prospect with some potential at the plate, since neither Vizquel (.284 avg, .314 OBP, no home runs, 10 runs, eight RBI in 104 plate appearances) or Teahen (.197 avg, .301 OBP, one home run, six runs, four RBI in 76 plate appearances) are viable options to replace Morel in the lineup as well as the field.

In 285 plate appearances, Viciedo is hitting .330 with 11 home runs, 34 runs and 49 RBI in AAA. More importantly, for the guy who walked 13 times between 343 at-bats in AAA and 104 at-bats in the majors last season, Viciedo has walked 16 times this season for an on-base percentage of .372.

Viciedo just turned 22 in March, can't hurt you any more than Teahen, Morel or Vizquel in the field and will require a lot of garbage to be as ineffective at the plate as the trio.

Seems like a pretty easy answer, right? It never is with Guillen and Williams.