Bizarre ideas for ideal 2011 Pale Hose roster

317213.jpg

Bizarre ideas for ideal 2011 Pale Hose roster

Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010
4:39 PM
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

Imagine if Trader Kenny strikes out and is unable to turn a starting pitching surplus into better roster flexibility, opts not to move Carlos Quentin or decides a 120 million budget works for the team. The White Sox can still get stronger just by shuffling what they already have. Heres how:

Modest Proposal No. 1: Outfield Shift

Juan Pierre is continually maligned as a left fielder because of his weak arm. However, he was the White Soxs strongest fielder last year not named Alexei Ramirez there simply wasnt a ball hit to left field that Pierre couldnt track down. His weak arm was mitigated by his position, and its clear that the speedster stole away more bases in making catches and filling gaps than he did by allowing base runners to sprint home without recourse. As great as Alex Rios was last season, hes not even on the short list of baseballs outstanding center fielders. And Carlos Quentin in right? Yeesh.

Presuming Andruw Jones doesnt return to take the reps in right field away from Quentin, theres a simple way to patch the hole: shift the outfield.

Pierre is a career center fielder who has proven he can chase anything down and what he lacks in strength he makes up for with accuracy. Rios in right field can take any ball in the gap, mitigating Pierres weaker arm. Both Pierre and Rios can shade toward left due to their outstanding speed. Quentin, whose fielding range and arm accuracy are shoddy, moves back to left field, where hes historically done less damage.

Of course, the best remedy in the outfield is to re-sign Jones, install him in right field and make Quentin the teams regular DH.

Modest Proposal No. 2: Six-Man Rotation

A squeeze for starts might never occur: Jake Peavy might not be healthy in spring training, for instance. However, the White Sox are traditionally the healthiest team in baseball and there could be more starting arms than the team knows what to do with. What if neither Peavy nor any of the other five White Sox starters (Mark Buehrle, Chris Sale, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Edwin Jackson) miss significant time in 2011? Barring a trade, the White Sox have six outstanding arms for five rotation spots.

Pitching on five days rest isnt a legitimate option unless the White Sox opt to use a starters work day off in actual game competition, and thats not recommended. So given this bounty, its time to expand our minds.

As fans, were used to thinking about a fifth starters role as an inning-eater; Freddy Garcia in 2010 is a great example, as a guy who ate some innings, had some effective outings and made less headaches for manager Ozzie Guillen.

With the talent the White Sox have in the rotation, they can aim higher than that, with a true shutdown crew. If a hitter is slumping, he sits for a start or two, but what about a similar merit system for starters?

Say the White Sox enter the season with a six-man rotation of Buehrle, Peavy, Floyd, Danks, Jackson and Sale, and that the first starter to falter is Peavy, banged up in the seasons second game. That means Sale slips into Peavys spot, and Peavy is the next starting sub.

An additional bonus of a six-man rotation would be having the No. 6 (idle) starter work in a game instead of doing his side work only in the bullpen. Day two after a start is usually reserved for bullpen side work what if day three or four becomes an occasion where the idled starter can work in a real game for a couple of innings?

Using a benchmark of a poor start as a game score of less than 40 (with 50 considered a quality start), in 2010 Buehrle would have had 10 starts that would have bumped him from the rotation, Peavy six (of 17 starts), Floyd eight, Danks seven, Garcia seven, and Jackson just one.

Think that this is mere stat geek meddling? Well, consider that the White Sox had 39 total poor starts in 2010 and 20 of them happened consecutively for example, Peavy had a total of six poor starts, two in a row in April and three in a row in May. That would indicate two main slumps in his season, both of which were likely needs for additional work on mechanics or mental approach. In the case of Buehrle and Floyd, both of whom suffered poor streaks in September, perhaps slumps were born of sheer fatigue.

At any rate, this utilization of a six-man rotation could shorten or perhaps eliminate starters slumps entirely. In case of an injury, the White Sox would remain in a five-man rotation, with no sixth-man sub. But six healthy starters shouldnt necessarily force Jackson out of town or Sale into the bullpen or the minors. The White Sox have the opportunity to have their starting rotation carry them into the 2011 postseason, and by letting merit rule in a six-man rotation and would push the unit that much closer to doing so.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.

Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — If Carlos Rodon starts on the disabled list as expected, the White Sox won't turn to any of their vaunted top prospects in the interim.

The news on Rodon has been encouraging so far as no structural damage has been discovered. Still, the White Sox won't clear Rodon until after he receives a second opinion on Monday. While the length of Rodon's absence won't be determined for several days, the White Sox are certain of one route they won't take — they don't want to disrupt the development of their young starting pitchers. Were a DL trip for Rodon necessary, the White Sox would likely select either Saturday's starter, Dylan Covey, or minor leaguer David Holmberg over their top prospects. Covey made a strong impression on Saturday afternoon with 3 2/3 scoreless innings pitched and the White Sox rallied for a 10-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Ballpark.

"When you have an opportunity to stabilize action or movement for players it serves them better," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "They get a little more comfortable where they're at. They get comfortable with the staffs they're working with and the information they're gathering, being in a routine. It is a little disruptive going from team to team to team. It happens, but it's not the most conducive (to learning)."

The White Sox are all about development this season. Therefore, they have no plans to call upon Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer or Michael Kopech unless they're A) ready and B) throwing every fifth day in Chicago. Renteria's comments Saturday reiterated Rick Hahn's earlier message, saying the club doesn't want to disrupt the development path.

That puts Covey, a Rule 5 draft pick in December, with a decent opportunity to make the club out of camp. Covey commanded the strike zone on Saturday only hours after Renteria said he hoped to see the young right-hander replicate an Arizona Fall League performance that initially warmed the White Sox up to him.

Aside from a two-out walk in his final inning, Covey was sharp the whole way. He allowed three hits and struck out three.

"My last couple of outings I was definitely feeling the stress," Covey said. "I was kind of pitching a little passive, pitching to not make a mistake instead of just going right after guys. So today and yesterday I just thought I'm just going to throw every pitch with conviction and see what happens. I got a lot of weak contact today and some swings and misses, so I felt good."

Covey threw 44 pitches, 27 for strikes. He potentially could stay in Arizona on Thursday and make an additional minor league start to build arm strength, which would get him to roughly 60 pitches before the regular seasons started.

The White Sox don't officially need a fifth starter until April 9 and they're off the following day. That break could allow the White Sox to start Covey as part of a bullpen day. Covey said he recently changed his mindset after lackluster results in relief this spring. The right-hander has a 6.94 ERA this spring in 11 2/3 innings.

"Obviously my last two outings out of the pen I wasn't getting crushed, but I just wasn't commanding the ball or commanding the count as much as I would like to be," Covey said. "The mistakes get hit a little harder when you're falling behind in the count. Today I wanted to have the mindset of attacking hitters, throwing everything down in the zone and going right after them, and it worked out."

The White Sox blasted six home runs in the contest, including a majestic, go-ahead grand slam by first baseman Danny Hayes in the top of the ninth inning. Hayes is hitting .351/.400/.595 with two homers and is tied for the team lead with 13 RBIs this spring. Jose Abreu, Nick Delmonico, Cody Asche, Everth Cabrera and Jacob May also homered for the White Sox. 

White Sox: Carlos Rodon feels reassured after clean MRI

White Sox: Carlos Rodon feels reassured after clean MRI

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While he still has a second opinion ahead and is likely to start 2017 on the disabled list, a clean MRI has Carlos Rodon feeling relieved after a bizarre Thursday.

The White Sox pitcher described Saturday the strange experience he’s had the past few days dealing with soreness in his left bicep.

In the span of 48 hours, Rodon -- who will receive a second opinion on Monday -- went from feeling good enough after a midweek bullpen session to request that his first start be moved up to likely landing on the DL. As he prepares to navigate the rehab process, Rodon is more at ease after an MRI on Friday showed no structural damage.

“(Thursday) was a weird day for me,” Rodon said. “I wasn’t very happy with it. I got that checked out, trying to figure it out.

“I feel better. It’s reassuring.”

“(Your arm is) your tool. It’s concerning. But that’s why you go get those things checked out and make sure everything is ok. That’s what we did.”

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Rodon, who went 9-10 with a 4.04 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 165 innings in 2016, has one more checkup before he’s all clear. He travels to Los Angeles on Monday for an appointment with Dr. Neal ElAttrache. General manager Rick Hahn said Friday that a second opinion is “protocol.”

Though he has already been reassured -- the club’s diagnosis was he had no structural issues after a physical exam and then the clean MRI -- Rodon wouldn’t mind more confirmation. The left-hander said he hadn’t experienced the kind of tightness he suddenly felt in his biceps tendon before Thursday. He could lift his arm above his head, but Rodon said his stuff wasn’t the same. After he informed them, the White Sox determined to be cautious.

“It’s pretty tight up there,” Rodon said. “I’ve never really been that tight. I couldn’t really step on some balls I wanted to throw to get that arm going. So, I had to get it checked out. It didn’t feel too good.”

The White Sox already had Rodon on a delayed schedule where he needed to hit every mark to be ready for the regular season. They did so in hopes of helping him avoid the fatigue he experienced last summer and also reaching the 200-inning mark this season. Now it appears Rodon will begin the season on the DL, according to Hahn.

Though he’d like to start the season on schedule, Rodon wants to make sure he’s physically good to go.

“Just trying to be healthy man,” Rodon said. “You don’t want to go the start of the season and be behind the best guys. You are a tick down from the best guys in the world. It’s not fun pitching when you are not feeling too good. I want to be 100 percent when I’m out there. That gives our team the best chance of winning.”