The following is an exercise in overthinking a minor point. In the grand scheme of things, making marginal improvements on the 24th and 25th slots on the roster aren’t likely to make or break your season – particularly a season like this one where you’re already dead.
But here’s why the teams should constantly be trying to optimize their rosters: They have no reason not to. In a season like last year – where the margin between playoffs and not playoffs was so slim – why wouldn’t you do everything you could to improve? In a season like this year, it’s a chance to get marginal prospects some reps against major leaguers without any consequences. Unfortunately, the White Sox do not seem to be seizing this opportunity as fully as they could.
We’ve seen the White Sox fixate on and cling to players where overwhelming evidence demonstrated that they had nothing to contribute. Dewayne Wise has a career line of .228/.264/.381, which is unplayable, and yet the White Sox saw fit to give him a guaranteed major league deal for his age 35 season, and $200,000 above the minimum heading into this year. This is after making him a starter down the stretch last year due to injury, at times sticking him at the 3 or 4 spot in the lineup and even having Kevin Youkilis make his first career bunt attempt in front of him in one of the most pivotal spots of the season.*
In 2011, the White Sox merited the inference that they had no interest in correcting the flaws in the team. This was corroborated by the fact that the White Sox unceremoniously shipped out Ozzie Guillen and the stories leaked that he had basically checked out months previously. It wasn’t until the final nails were being pounded into the team’s coffin that they would allow Alejandro de Aza and Dayan Viciedo to come up to see what they could do. They rode out Juan Pierre to the very end.
In 2013, the White Sox are having another disappointing year – up there with 2011 and 2007 as probably the most frustrating seasons since the Reagan administration.
I understand that having too quick of a trigger or making reactionary decisions can be even worse than giving a guy too long of a look. The thing is, some of these moves the White Sox are making have zero upside whatsoever, and are being made at the expense of moves that have a chance – however small – of yielding benefits. Sure, Jordan Danks is probably not going to be a good major leaguer – but we know to 100% certainty that Dewayne Wise isn’t. So why not give Danks the 4th outfielder job instead of spending extra money on Wise?
We’re here again with Ramon Troncoso. I had gotten excited when the team finally gave up on Brian Omogrosso – and it took them forever to do it – but if anything Troncoso is worse. Omogrosso, believe it or not, had superior control and better stuff when compared to Troncoso. That didn’t stop the team from running Troncoso out for both games of a double header in extra innings. Until his 21 innings in Charlotte this year, Ramon Troncoso hadn’t posted an ERA under 5.00 since 2008 when he posted a 4.99 mark in Las Vegas. Currently he has 11 walks and 19 hits allowed in 16 innings pitched.
This is a team that gets to play a lot of meaningless innings. A few more losses aren’t going to kill them, and often they’re behind by an insurmountable deficit (for the 2013 White Sox read: any deficit). We’re probably already at the time to give mop up innings to marginal prospects to see if they can hack it at the major league level. They even went so far as to call up Simon Castro, but they let him rot and only used him for 6.2IP. Every inning that Troncoso is pitching is major league experience Castro could be getting – or, say, someone like Jake Petricka.
At the very least let some minor league organizational soldier who has been with the team forever come up and get a crack at it, like Dan Remenowsky. He’s got a wonky sidearm delivery and might be fun for fans for a little bit.
Sure, it’s a mop up role, it doesn’t matter per se, but giving these innings to Troncoso presents no benefit whatsoever.