Apr 28, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Jesse Crain (26) delivers a pitch during the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at US Cellular Field. Tampa Bay won 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
What do you think of the idea of the Chicago White Sox bringing 13 pitchers north for Opening Day?
The issue has been brought up by manager Robin Ventura at White Sox camp, and it is a question that needs some more focus. Personally, I think it is a risky idea. Could it work? There is no question, but I still have my doubts.
If it were to work, both Gordon Beckham and Emilio Bonifacio would have to play literally everywhere on the diamond. Also, Conor Gillaspie would need to play more than just the corner infield spots at times this season.
Here is where everything becomes interesting, because the key to all of this is second baseman Carlos Sanchez.
Assuming Micah Johnson makes the roster as the starting second baseman, this will be harder to accomplish. Due to the fact that Sanchez can play second and shortstop, Beckham won’t have to play those positions as much. I am not sure how good of a shortstop Beckham would be due to his arm strength, even though he most likely would be serviceable.
Other than Beckham and Bonifacio, the other two bench players would be the backup catcher (yet to be determined) and Adam LaRoche as the designated hitter.
The main issue with LaRoche is that he can only play first base, and that he is getting up there in age at 35 years old. In a perfect world, a designated hitter would be able to play multiple positions; however, since LaRoche has been brought in for his bat (as most designated hitters are), he is limited in his defensive skill set, though at first base he’s a former Gold Glove winner in 2012.
Feb 28, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox infielder Adam LaRoche (left) poses for a portrait with son Drake LaRoche during photo day at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
American League teams, in my opinion, don’t need as deep of a bench as a National League team, due to the designated hitter … however, players still need off days.
As for having a potential 13 pitchers on the roster, another reason this might not work is the bench has a need for speed and defense late in games.
I believe Bonifacio (speed) and Beckham (defense) have that covered, but the question remains: is that enough bodies to have on an MLB bench, American League or not? Would a smaller bench hurt the White Sox in extra-inning games, due to having a lack of pinch hitters and runners?
A lot of this scenario depends on who the White Sox carry in their bullpen. Assuming Carlos Rodon comes north, or Jesse Crain (later in the year), this could actually work.
However, if they are just carrying average relievers, I doubt the White Sox would even attempt this. With a lot of options in camp, it may happen.
I personally would not do this due to the fact that players can get banged up for a couple of days, therefore missing games. A lot has yet to be settled, but this is good fodder to talk about in the early part of camp.
Give us your opinions on what you believe the White Sox should do with the pitching staff and bench.