With all the players the Chicago White Sox acquired this offseason who can play multiple positions, they have certainly put themselves in a position (pun intended) to succeed.
The most notable versatile athletes the club has added are Emilio Bonifacio, Gordon Beckham, and J.B. Shuck. Those players, coupled with Carlos Sanchez who ended last year with the White Sox after making his major league debut in July, will allow White Sox manager Robin Ventura to switch lineups due to fatigue and matchups as he pleases.
A simple look at the White Sox official depth chart on WhiteSox.com finds most of these players names scattered all over the place, which leaves no doubt as to why these men were targeted by the team’s front office.
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Versatility is key for teams that wish to play deep into October.
The issue with these aforementioned players is where they fit in to the White Sox plans in 2015. Bonifacio seems like he will be the super-utility member of the club with the ability to play all three outfield positions as well as everywhere in the infield minus first base.
That is the kind of flexibility that allows the coaching staff to play defensive substitutions, matchups, and sleep at night. Beckham has great defensive abilities at second as White Sox fans know, as well as being more than capable at third and his most natural position shortstop should Alexei Ramirez ever need a day off.
Shuck can do things like this in the outfield, and gives the team a prototypical, defensive-first, fourth outfielder.
All three of those players should be in line to make the Opening Day roster, with only Beckham being at risk of getting nudged back down to the minors for the first time since his rookie year due to the presence of Sanchez, who has the same profile as the University of Georgia product.
The other major depth issue for the team at 35th and Shields in Chicago is wondering who will back up Tyler Flowers at catcher.
Mar 10, 2015; Surprise, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox catcher Geovany Soto (58) at bat in the fourth during a spring training baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports
Geovany Soto currently looks like he has the job locked up, with waiver claim Rob Brantly recently getting optioned to AAA Charlotte, and last year’s Rule 5 Draft pick up Adrian Nieto who received Brantly as company after getting optioned 10 days ago.
Soto’s main competition left in camp is major league veteran of seven teams, George Kottaras. The Canadian backstop has never played more than 85 games in a season and split ’14 among three franchises and a meager 18 games.
Soto simply has more upside and experience than Kottaras and offers a better insurance policy should Flowers falter and a better player off the bench.
The White Sox have added much needed depth this offseason in addition to their major moves which sets them up for a successful ’15 season because of the flexibility and depth that has been awarded to Ventura and the rest of the coaching staff.
Who will be the biggest impact “depth” signing for the White Sox from this offseason? Let us know what you think.