Due to Adam LaRoche’s sudden retirement, the White Sox have some decisions to make. LaRoche was going to be the team’s primary designated hitter, however now that role is up for grabs mid-way through spring training. The big question is how will they fill it?
I personally wouldn’t be against an internal solution. Matt Davidson is having a big spring, and I am wondering if he could fill the vacated designated hitter role. There is a small problem with this plan, that being Davidson is a right-handed hitter, and it is likely the Sox would prefer a left-handed hitter to replace LaRoche. Another idea would be keeping five outfielders (Cabrera, Eaton, Jackson, Garcia, and J.B. Shuck). The major issue with this idea would be a major lack of power from Shuck. I don’t think the White Sox really want to replace LaRoche with Shuck, at least in the lineup.
One way to settle all of this would be not to worry about the whole righty/lefty issue (which would be my preference) and just rotate the four main outfielders (Eaton, Jackson, Cabrera, and Avisail Garcia). Keep in mind that Garcia has struggled defensively, and with the other three to play the field most nights it would be an ideal fit for Avisail to avoid playing defense while still getting his at bats.
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If Matt Davidson proves that he can hit at the major league level, I really don’t care if he bats from the right side. I just want a guy that can hit. Assuming Davidson has figured it out (given all of his success is based on Spring Training), it would make sense to put his bat in the lineup from time to time. Davidson has good power, and was brought over from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for closer Addison Reed a couple years back to be a building block. Davidson has had his ups and downs over his time in the minors with the Sox, however still brings the potential for power to the table. That is something Shuck doesn’t.
All in all, I would have no problem giving Davidson a shot at the major league roster. Considering the fact that no one is really sure what is available regarding external options, not to mention what they would cost he might not be a bad idea. Travis Ishikawa could be someone the Sox look at as well, however I don’t know exactly what he could give to a team as a designated hitter. My big concern with having Davidson on the big league roster is that he strikes out way too much, meaning MLB pitchers would be able to take advantage of him. But his power might be a good option considering DH is a power position. Garcia is my first choice to be the DH, but Davidson might not be a bad 25th man. Regardless of who they replace LaRoche with, the Sox will be replacing one question mark with another. Hopefully the one they end up with performs.