White Sox 2014 Questions

This season was Flowers first chance at being the every day catcher, and he has also disappointed. Flowers was part of the Javier Vasquez trade to the Atlanta Braves a few years ago, and at the time, was a highly touted prospect. But, Flowers has fought through mediocrity ever since his acquisition. He has since hurt his shoulder, and will miss the rest of the 2013 season. While Tyler Flowers continued to struggle this season, the Sox called up catching prospect Josh Phegley from Triple A Charlotte in July.   Flowers is Arbitration Eligible in 2015 - and under team control until 2018

This season was Flowers first chance at being the every day catcher, and he has also disappointed.Flowers was part of the Javier Vasquez trade to the Atlanta Braves a few years ago, and at the time, was a highly touted prospect. But, he has fought through mediocrity ever since his acquisition.  Flowers has since hurt his shoulder, and will miss the rest of the 2013 season.
While the young backstopper continued to struggle this season, the Sox called up catching prospect Josh Phegley from Triple A Charlotte in July. Flowers is Arbitration Eligible in 2015 – and under team control until 2018.

By ‘White Sox Correspondent’ Brian Madsen 


As a very disappointing 2013 season winds down for the Chicago White Sox, several questions arise heading into 2014. Who will be the starting third baseman?

Who will be the starting catcher? Who will be in center field? Who’s at first base? And, maybe even, who will be the White Sox manager?

Let’s start at third base. Jeff Keppinger was signed during the 2012-2013 offseason with the expectations of being the every day third basemen, and a quality bat in the lineup.

A career .281 hitter, Keppinger has disappointed in 2013. While he’s come around the passed month or so, he’s hitting just .244, well below expectations.

Jeff Keppinger Highlights

The Sox could address all of the above mentioned positions via free agency or even trades. As it stands now, the Sox payroll is lower than it has been in many years. With the trades of big $ salaries this season, and others coming off the books, the Sox will have money to spend. There aren't any sure-thing superstars on the market, so Rick Hahn may have to get creative in the trade market. One thing is for sure, the Sox have young, quality pitching, and some of those pieces could be moved in the off-season to acquire positional players. Who's likely to be moved? Only time will tell.

. As it stands now, the Sox payroll is lower than it has been in many years. With the trades of big $ salaries this season, and others coming off the books, the Sox will have money to spend. There aren’t any sure-thing superstars on the market, so Rick Hahn (and Kenny Williams) may have to get creative in the trade market. One thing is for sure, the Sox have young, quality pitching, and some of those pieces could be moved in the off-season to acquire positional players. Who’s likely to be moved? Only time will tell.

Conor Gillaspie turned heads in Spring Training, both at the plate and defensively. When Gordon Beckham broke his hand early in the season,

Keppinger was moved to second base, and Gillaspie became the third baseman. Beckham’s injury seemed as almost a blessing in disguise, allowing the young Gillaspie to show what he was capable of doing.

While Gillaspie had a promising start, he’s come back to reality since. He’s hitting just .251 on the season, and as of late, has been a liability defensively at third base.

It appears (at least to me), that Keppinger and Gillaspie are both role players. They could even be role players on a good team, but they are not everyday third baseman.

The next candidate at third is Marcus Semien.

Recently promoted from Triple A Charlotte, Semien has played well with the big league club. While spending most of 2103 with Double A Birmingham, Semien was moved up to Charlotte, and then was named the Southern league MVP.

Most thought that he would wind up as a shortstop or second baseman, but Semien may project as a third baseman. While big power may not be Semien’s forte, he hit 19 HR’s this season, and has a patient eye at the plate.

Now lets look at the catcher position. This has been a sore spot for many White Sox fans this year. The very popular AJ Pierzynski left for Texas in the off-season, and was replaced by Tyler Flowers.

Phegley came to the big leagues with high expectations, having hit .316 with 15 HR’s and 41 RBI’s in Triple A.

While Phegley started off strong and had a very promising first week, he too has come back to the pack. As of now, he’s hitting .212, and has Sox fans wishing Flowers was back (OK maybe not).

Center field will be another position of concern in 2014.While the recently acquired Avisail Garcia was predominantly a center fielder in the Detroit Tigers farm system, he has played right field for the Sox since Alex Rios was traded to the Texas Rangers. But, a move back to center is still a possibility.

Alejandro De Aza, a catalyst for the Sox in 2012, has really regressed in 2013, both in the field, and on the base paths. He could be moved to left field, and Dayan Viciedo moved to first base (considering Paul Konerko may retire and Adam Dunn will still be the DH).

But that seems highly unlikely, and the arrow seems to point De Aza out of town come season’s end.

The Sox acquired Leury Garcia from Texas in the Alex Rios deal, and he may have a shot at the center field job. His speed plays perfectly in the outfield, and he could also become the Sox lead-off hitter for years to come.

Who will play first base for the Sox next year? As I mentioned earlier, Paul Konerko may retire. That has yet to be determined. But if he does, Adam Dunn cannot be the everyday first basemen.

Well, he could, but lets just say that would not be preferred. Does Dayan Viciedo get converted into a first baseman? He’s certainly a liability in the left field, but does possess a very strong throwing arm.

Jeff Keppinger has had some spot starts at first this year, but again, not the best option. Keppinger does have 2 more years remaining on his contract, so expect to see him in a White Sox uniform next year in some capacity.

Will Robin Ventura manage the Sox in 2014? He’s under contract through next year. I’m not suggesting he’ll be fired, because I don’t believe there’s any way that will happen. 

But after the 2012 season, Ventura was offered an extension to his existing contract, and he turned it down. While Ventura has never been a very vibrant or emotional guy, even during his playing days, he often seems dis-interested, and was even hesitant to take the job in the first place.

fter the 2012 season, Ventura was offered an extension to his existing contract, and he turned it down. While Ventura has never been a very vibrant or emotional guy, even during his playing days, he often seems dis-interested, and was even hesitant to take the job in the first place.

This season has been difficult for all involved, and it seems to have taken it’s toll on Robin. I wouldn’t be surprised if Robin stepped down at season’s end, and Jerry Reinsdorf, Rick Hahn, and Kenny Williams had to find a manager.

But players like Hector Santiago and Addison Reed could certainly be attractive to other teams. As long as next season is better than 2013, we, as Sox fans, will take it.

The Sox could address all of the above mentioned positions via free agency or even trades.

Konerko is a 6 Time ALL-Star  and has finished in top 6 AL MVP Voting 2 times and top 22 Voting 3 other times (13,16 and 22 as well).  The last 3 seasons, prior to this one, he was productive at an ALL - Star clip, not like the .247/.317/.679 3 Slash Line that the 37 Year Old Has put forward so far this season.  Added to his bad totals, is 11 HRs and 51 RBI.

Konerko is a 6 Time ALL-Star and has finished in top 6 AL MVP Voting 2 times and top 22 Voting 3 other times (13,16 and 22 as well). The last 3 seasons, prior to this one, he was productive at an ALL – Star clip, not like the .247/.317/.679 3 Slash Line that the 37 Year Old Has put forward so far this season. Added to his bad totals, is 11 HRs and 51 RBI.  Konerko’s contract is up, and he may retire.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A big thank-you goes out to our ‘White Sox Correspondent’ Brian Madsen for preparing today’s featured article. Brian was born and raised in Chicago Heights, IL, a south suburb of Chicago.

He attended Illinois St. University, majoring in education/teaching. Brian now lives in Joliet, IL with his wife Suzanne two daughters, Abby, 9, and Grace, 4.

He has worked at The Little Guys Home Technology for 12 years as a salesman/system designer/custom integrator.

Brian is an avid White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, and Bulls fan.   

a brian madsen

Please e-mail me  at: mlbreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback. To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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Posted on September 15, 2013, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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