Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fuzzy Math
The Update can't make the White Sox depth chart add up. There are too many players and not enough positions to go around.
The team's official website lists five starting pithcers -- Buehrle, Vazquez, Contreras, Danks and Floyd -- which we buy. Whether Danks and Floyd actually turn out to be the No. 4 and No. 5 starters when the season starts, there will have to be five. As for relievers, the website lists seven -- Jenks, Dotel, Linebrink, Thornton, Logan, MacDougal, and Wasserman. The names may change, but the number, or at best one fewer, seems about right. The site also identifies Thome as the one and only DH, also logical. So that's 13, or maybe 12, if you decide to go with only six relievers, a dicey proposition given the inexperience of Danks and Floyd, who likely will need someone to pick up innings if they falter.
That leaves room for 12, or tops, 13 position players on the 25 man roster. Pierzynski and Hall are the catchers, assuming you go with only two. Konerko's going to be at first base barring a trade, which would likely include another first baseman, I presume. No one else on the roster (other than Thome before he became a statue) is a first baseman. There are others who could play there, but not who do play there. Richar's going to get a shot at second after receiving an extended audition last year. No way Cabrera is not the shortstop so long as he's not injured. You don't give up Jon Garland to get a guy who isn't going to play. And at third, you've got Crede and Fields. Crede might be traded once he shows he's okay in Spring Training, but to solve the roster problem, you'd have to get only minor leagues for him. That's another seven guys, and we haven't even mentioned Uribe (just re-signed, but maybe trade bait if he doesn't win the second sacker job from Richar; Ramirez (we know he's not going back to Cuba); and Ozuna (supposedly healthy after his broken leg last year). Maybe one of those three is on the trading block, but you need someone to fill in for you infielders when they take a day off. So that accounts for nine of the 12 or 13 remaining slots.
In the outfield, there's Dye and two other guys the Sox just traded for, Swisher and Quentin, so you'd think all three of them are safe. Owens is on the roster too, if for no other reason than he's the only base stealing threat on the team. Ozuna and Ramirez, just mentioned as infielders, can also play the outfield, giving Ozzie a little flexibility. So that's either just enough or one too many if you keep seven relievers instead of six. It looks like Brian Anderson, one of the relievers, and whoever comes back to the Sox in the Crede trade are out of luck. It will be interesting to see how Kenny and Oz solve this math problem.