Now that White Sox Manager Robin Ventura has said that he expects newly signed shortstop Jimmy Rollins to make the opening day team, who does that hurt the most? While many, including myself thought Tyler Saladino would be the team’s opening day starter at shortstop, what happens as far as depth pieces behind Saladino?
Many thought that either Carlos Sanchez or Leury Garcia would have a very good chance to make the team. It is likely that the Sox will carry six infielders, considering there is still a possibility that the team acquires an outfielder. Keep in mind that you have the starting four infielders, plus Adam LaRoche and now Saladino. Since Saladino can play three infield positions and will give the Sox more offensively than Sanchez or Garcia, he
is a heavy favorite for the Super Utility role.
Keep in mind the fact that I just mentioned a trade. Sanchez could be used as possible trade bait, and might be able to help acquire an outfielder. Garcia on the other hand wouldn’t have much value, however would be a very good option as a call-up in case of a possible injury. Sanchez could also be a call-up option in the event that he isn’t moved.
Personally, I think that both Sanchez, and Garcia are the two players that are affected by Rollins the most. While I realize it was all but a given that Rollins was going to be the starting shortstop when he was signed, the pecking order as far as the major league back-ups has been affected. Rollins still might have a little bit left in him, not to mention the fact that he will provide leadership for the young White Sox infielders. Here is one name I have yet to use that needs to be discussed: Tim Anderson. I doubt Anderson will be up early in the 2016 season, but if he performs well throughout the year in the minors don’t be shocked to see him in the major leagues this September.
Overall, Rollins as the White Sox starting shortstop means they are a better team. Tyler Saladino is a perfect utility infielder, due to his good glove, not to mention speed, and defensive versatility. However, he will struggle to be a good major league hitter, even for a shortstop. Rollins still can defend his position, not to mention he has more power than Alexei Ramirez does at his current age. Keep in mind that Rollins is no longer an MVP caliber player, however he can still be a league average shortstop, something the White Sox do not have without him
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. If the White Sox have one thing going for them infield-wise, it is power production. From third to first, everyone has good power for their position, considering the fact that Rollins can still go deep 10+ times. Since there will be three new starters, hopefully their run production ability will lead to more runs, and more wins. Get ready for White Sox spring training baseball everyone!