Restoring the rosters: No. 25 – Chicago White Sox

Leave a comment

This is part of a series of articles examining what every team’s roster would look like if given only the players it originally signed. I’m compiling the rosters, ranking them and presenting them in a countdown from Nos. 30 to 1.
No. 30 – Cincinnati
No. 29 – Kansas City
No. 28 – San Diego
No. 27 – Milwaukee
No. 26 – Baltimore
The White Sox have a good chance of finishing at .500 or better for the ninth time in 10 seasons this year, but that isn’t well reflected here. The sterling class of position players developed in the 90s are fading now, with Frank Thomas and Ray Durham both out of the league, and the home-grown pitchers who helped the team at the beginning of the decade, such as Mike Sirotka, Jim Parque and Kip Wells, all flamed out quickly.
Rotation
Mark Buehrle
Brandon McCarthy
Clayton Richard
Josh Fogg
Gio Gonzalez
Bullpen
Jon Rauch
Matt Guerrier
Aaron Poreda
Chad Bradford
Brendan Donnelly
Josh Rupe
Kip Wells
The rotation consists of an ace and four fifth starters, but at least the bullpen should be able to eat innings with Rauch, Guerrier, Poreda and Rupe. One could make a case for putting Poreda in the rotation, but I think he’s a better bet as a reliever right now and he’d get a lot of work in close games as part of this group.
Also worthy of argument is going with Carlos Torres in the pen over Rupe or Wells. But we can let the two veterans duel it out for a month and then replace the weaker of the two.
Interestingly, of the seven relievers, only Wells had any sort of significant career with the White Sox. Guerrier and Rupe were dealt before reaching the majors. Donnelly’s White Sox career consisted of seven starts and two relief appearances in Rookie ball in 1992. Of course, he was released several times before injecting himself onto the Angels roster in 2002.
Lineup
CF Mike Cameron
2B Gordon Beckham
DH Carlos Lee
LF Magglio Ordonez
SS Alexei Ramirez
RF Aaron Rowand
3B Joe Crede
1B Josh Fields
C Chris Stewart
Bench
OF Chris Young
OF Ryan Sweeney
INF Chris Getz
C Mark Johnson
Well, that’s one possible lineup. Personally, I’d probably have Young in left field for the best possible outfield defense, Ordonez at DH and Lee at first base. So many of the guys have similar offensive profiles that there are a lot of different possible lineup combinations that would work. OBP is going to be a problem, of course, but it’d still be a solid group if Ordonez proves he has something left in the tank.
One thing that really stood out as I put all of these rosters together is that some teams seem to have a knack for developing catchers, whereas others can’t come up with anyone viable. Johnson was a legitimate 80-game-per-year guy at the beginning of the decade, but he’s long past his prime now, and Stewart has never been and will never be more than a No. 3 catcher.
Summary
The White Sox have had a better decade than any other team that will finish in the bottom 10 of these rankings. GM Kenny Williams deserves much of the credit thanks to a number of quality trades. However, he also should be blamed for some of the lousy drafts. His choices of reliever Royce Ring with the 18th overall pick in 2002 and upside-less right-hander Lance Broadway 15th overall in 2005 qualify as two of the worst selections of the decade. Then again, he’s had a top-14 pick only once since taking over after 2000 and he scored a big hit then by landing Beckham last year.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.