Dayan Viciedo made his long-awaited 2011 debut on August 28 in Seattle. As Viciedo jogged out to right field you could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from White Sox fans everywhere. In Spring Training GM Kenny Williams said Viciedo was the “most dangerous hitter on the roster.” The five-foot-eleven 22-year-old went two-for-four on that night against the Mariners with a home run and three RBI. Unfortunately that was the only home run he’d hit through twenty-nine games at the top level.
2011 seemed to be the Season of Disappointments for the White Sox and the outfield was no exception.
With the state of Alex Rios‘ talent being what it is and with Juan Pierre‘s contract coming to an end it’s tough to project what our 2012 outfield could look like. Alejandro de Aza was a solid ballplayer for the last two months of the season and you could always depend on Brent Lillibridge. Throw in the enigmatic Carlos Quentin and you have the 2011 version of our outfield.
At the trading deadline the Atlanta Braves were going hard after Carlos Quentin with the Philadelphia Phillies hot on their trail. I don’t think a deal was ever close to going through but teams out there do want him. We’ve seen in the past that he can be a dangerous hitter and all joking aside we’ve seen that from Rios as well. There are pro’s and con’s to dealing or keeping either of them. The pro’s being production like we’ve seen from them in the past, the con’s being production like we’ve seen from them in the past.
Alex Rios is earning too much money to just sit on the bench so our only option is to play him. Rios’ 2010 season was a good one (.284/21/88), the kind of season people in Toronto were expecting the lanky-yet-deceivingly-powerful outfielder to have, but his 2011 output left a lot to be desired. Other than him, though, our outfield looks okay. (Emphasis first on the word “looks” then second on the word “okay.”) If Kenny is comfortable with benching $12 million – after all, he sat Adam Dunn and his $14 million for a while – then maybe Quentin could move back over to left field and we could have a Quentin-De Aza/Lillibridge-Viciedo deal. Should Juan Pierre not return to the White Sox in 2012 our outfield may look something like that.
Dayan Viciedo undoubtedly has the strongest arm on our outfield depth chart, Alejandro de Aza has the most speed and mobility, and Brent Lillibridge is talented enough to get the job done anywhere. Of course you can always swap in Quentin and Rios when/where needed. Does that outfield, from left to right, look all that bad? I don’t think so. We’ve seen more interesting combinations of outfielders before. After all, Joe Borchard, Timo Perez, and Pablo Ozuna all played here once. (Yeah. I went there.)
We know nothing of the managerial style of Robin Ventura and won’t for another four and a half months. It would be easier to speculate the formation of the outfield if Ozzie Guillen were still the skipper on the South Side but we’re starting with a clean slate in 2012. We don’t even have minor league tendencies to look at from Ventura – this is his first gig. It’s up to him.
My thoughts and prayers go to Robin as he racks his brain trying to figure out what to do with this team.