The season begins tomorrow, which is cool. I still can’t get a complete team roster anywhere. The active roster on the White Sox home page lists 24 players. Backup catcher Toby Hall is going on the DL, with unproven Gustavo Molina taking over, so there are two roster spots. I guess Jon Danks needs to be added, since he’s the fifth starter. The bullpen seems to be completely different. I expect Jenks to close and Matt Thornton/Mike MacDougal to be the set-up guys.
I’m almost content with the infield. Joe Crede is a gold-glove caliber third baseman who hit a career-high 3o taters last year. Like most White Sox players, he doesn’t like to take a walk. At least he doesn’t strike out much. I’d rather the Sox trade Josh Fields, the team’s top prospect, rather than let Crede, a free agent to be, go. I suppose Fields could make it as an outfielder, and the Sox will have plenty of openings there with Dye all but gone. Juan Uribe had an OBP of .257 last year. That’s bad. Since he made two spectacular plays to finish out the 2005 World Series, I can forgive him one sub-par season. Alex Cintron is his backup, although he’s actually older than Uribe. Tadahito Iguchi is a solid second baseman. Any time you can get 15/15 production along with solid defense, that’s good. Konerko is solid. He has 116 home runs the past three years. Last year’s .551 slugging was a career high. Kudos to Kong for getting the big bucks and still playing at a consistent level.
Jim Thome will be the DH. The Sox all but stole him in exchange for Aaron Rowand and a couple of prospects. The Sox got Gio Gonzalez, one of the prospects, back in the Freddy Garcia deal. I don’t know who will be the backup 1B. Pablo Ozuna can play outfield and most infield positions, along with Rob Mackowiak and Alex Cintron. A.J. Pierzynski used to be one of my most hated players until he joined the Sox. The signing of Toby Hall to be the backup was a good move, although Hall may need shoulder surgery. He’s going to try to rehab without surgery. If he can’t make it back, expect a heavy load for Pierzynski again.
I contend that Contreras/Garland/Buerhrle/Vazquez is a top four without peer in the major leagues. All four should rebound from 2005. The bullpen is deeper and younger. Heck, there are only two players on the team older than me.
The Sox can win with their current squad. I don’t know if they’ll be strong enough to contend in a very tough AL Central. Offseason moves give me more hope for 2008 and beyond.