Casper Wells could be the vaguely capable bench bat you’ve always wanted


Casper Wells was designated for assignment by a Mariners team giving outfield time to Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay and Endy Chavez.

Casper Wells was designated for assignment by a Blue Jays team that’s willfully playing Rajai Davis and has already conjured up 113 plate appearances for Melky Cabrera and his .298 slugging percentage.

Casper Wells was traded by an Athletics team that actually has a lot of good of outfielders and had exhausted their use for Wells on their roster, but the point remains.

Let no one say we entered into this deluded about the capabilities of the White Sox’ newest traded acquisition.

But this would be the rare case where we can be thankful for the presence of Dewayne Wise on the White Sox roster. With Wise and his whopping .234/.269/.403 career batting line against right-handed pitching hanging around, it really sets a low bar for even the situational offensive utility of White Sox reserve outfielders. Can Casper Wells be more valuable than a guy who can’t hit a lick even with the platoon split and whose defensive utility is completely redundant on the roster? I am bold enough to suggest he could be.

At 28 years-old and with the best successes of his career had while a being a tad old for whichever minor league level he was crushing at the time, no one’s calling on the White Sox to be the first team to answer the question of “what would happen if Casper Wells got 500 PA’s,” but a .261/.345/.482 career line against left-handed pitching (with much of that coming in places like Seattle and Detroit) suggest he very much could serve some purpose for the worst offense in the league.

The immediate uses, with the lineup beset by injuries, are numerous.

  • Hey, guess who doesn’t have to start two left-handed outfielders against every left-handed starter anymore?!
  • Guess who doesn’t have to sit idly by while opposing managers line up LOOGY’s against Conor Gillaspie and Alejandro De Aza!?
  • Guess who could make the occasional appearance in center field if necessary?!?

Answers: Robin Ventura, Robin Ventura, Casper Wells

It’s not as though an acquisition such as Wells needs to have a long-term purpose and any real optimism about the White Sox and Wells is contingent upon Ventura & Co. throttling down their open displays of faith in Dewayne Wise. Yet in the long-term–which in this case means “through the month of August”–a successfully lefty-mashing (or at least, lefty-troubling) Wells would allow the Sox to try to aggressively platoon their way out of some of their offensive troubles as well as provide some insurance for Dayan Viciedo if he struggles with his health or spirals into further, heartbreaking ineffectiveness.

Of course this all assumes optimal usage and Casper Wells being everything his statistical record suggests he can be and not a diminished shell of himself that three teams have taken a gander at and moved on from. He could breeze in, sit on the bench and be a source of indignation, and roll right out of town in under a month. That’s often how these things go, actually.

For the moment, I’ll allow myself to be optimistic about Wells, since there’ll be plenty of time to wail in agony over the next five months.

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan