Chris Sale has worked exclusively out of the bullpen through his first two seasons, establishing himself as a top-notch setup man, but White Sox general manager Ken Williams revealed yesterday that the left-hander will be moved into the starting rotation for 2012.
Sale was drafted as a starter and the White Sox have indicated all along that they viewed the rotation as his eventual home, so with Mark Buehrle looking less and less likely to re-sign it makes sense for the switch to happen now.
Sale has a 2.58 ERA, 111/37 K/BB ratio, and .199 opponents’ batting average in 94 career innings as a reliever, so it’s no doubt tempting to leave well enough alone, but Chicago is smart to see if he’s capable of thriving in a 200-inning role before locking him into a 70-inning role at age 23.
Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:
“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.
“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”
Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.