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Vsahajpal
02-03-2002, 03:29 AM
Phil Rogers

MLB Report: Sox dealing for the future

February 3, 2002

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On its own merits, the Chris Singleton trade was a small bit of business.

But as a precursor of the changes that lie ahead for the White Sox, its significance becomes large.

Singleton was traded to Baltimore not just to open a path for Kenny Lofton but also because general manager Ken Williams believes younger players can be more productive in center field Aaron Rowand in the short run and switch-hitting slugger Joe Borchard over the long haul.

Similar transitions appear in store by 2003 at second base, third base, catcher and possibly left field.

Ray Durham, Royce Clayton and Sandy Alomar Jr. are eligible for free agency after the upcoming season.

It is possible the Sox will re-sign one of these three former All-Stars, but it's just as conceivable none will be retained.

After an influx of young pitchers in recent years, the White Sox have several position-player prospects nearing the threshold of their big-league careers.

The '03 lineup could include the 25-year-old Rowand along with four players who would be 24 Borchard, third baseman Joe Crede, catcher Miguel Olivo and an either/or proposition with second basemen Tim Hummel and Willie Harris.

There's a large potential upside to this turnover.

The minimal salaries of these young players, coupled with a pitching staff on which only Keith Foulke and Todd Ritchie will earn more than $5 million in '03, could allow the Sox to be a player in next winter's free-agent market.

Cliff Floyd, Ivan Rodriguez, Scott Rolen and Darin Erstad are among the players the Sox could sign or possibly even trade for at some point in '02.

Here's a thumbnail look at players who could cause a shift change at several positions:

Second base Hummel, a second-round pick in the 2000 draft from Old Dominion, is a classic No. 2 hitter with a .380 career on-base percentage and emerging power. He moved from shortstop to second last season and is considered a solid fielder.

Harris, a switch-hitter acquired from Baltimore for Singleton, is speedy and has leadoff potential.

Both will play for Triple-A Charlotte, with Harris also getting time in center. Former Anaheim Angel Justin Baughman, a skilled fielder who hit .302 in Triple A last year, comes to camp as a non-roster player.

Third baseWith Clayton at short, Jose Valentin probably will be the regular at third this year. But the Sox appear prepared to move Valentin back to short at some point, opening third for Crede.

He's a dependable fielder and has proved himself as a hitter at every level except the big leagues.

ShortstopThe Sox haven't had much luck developing players here, with Bucky Dent the last homegrown regular. Valentin projects as the replacement for Clayton. But 1997 first-round pick Jason Dellaero is such a gifted fielder that he is a 40-man roster fixture despite a career .214 average.

He has one more season to see if he can become a .240 hitter. Danny Sandoval, who had a good winter in Venezuela, should play at Double A.

CatcherThe strong-armed Olivo, who was acquired from Oakland for reliever Chad Bradford, is coming off a 14-homer season at Double A and a good showing in the Arizona Fall League.

He'll play at Triple A this year but soon could be a platoon partner for Mark Johnson, if not the regular.

Switch-hitter Lee Evans, who was part of the Ritchie trade with Pittsburgh, doesn't have a high ceiling but could beat Olivo to Comiskey Park.

Left fieldThe Sox hope a two-year contract allows Carlos Lee to regain his swagger, but Jeff Liefer may take away some at-bats this year.

A trade is possible to open left for a defensive upgrade such as Rowand or Borchard or a left-handed-hitting replacement like Floyd, Erstad or Texas' Frank Catalanotto.

Less likely is that Mario Valenzuela, who like the 1997 version of Ordonez is considered a sleeper, will hit his way into the picture.

Daver
02-03-2002, 03:36 AM
Good stuff Vic,I think Valenzeula was invited to ST to showcase his skills for a trade,he has no future in the Sox system.

Chisox_cali
02-03-2002, 03:58 AM
Originally posted by daver
Good stuff Vic,I think Valenzeula was invited to ST to showcase his skills for a trade,he has no future in the Sox system.

Good Stuff Indeed.

I like the idea of Harris in Center Maggs in left LTP in Left. Also Hummel at 2nd. Crede at 3rd(obviously) and Manos back to SS

RichH55
02-03-2002, 10:07 AM
Originally posted by Chisox_cali


Good Stuff Indeed.

I like the idea of Harris in Center Maggs in left LTP in Left. Also Hummel at 2nd. Crede at 3rd(obviously) and Manos back to SS


if LTP isnt in CF, doesnt he then turn into a RF?

czalgosz
02-03-2002, 01:00 PM
Good stuff Vic - You can put Bucky Dent into the "We had him when he was young but we lost him" category.

That was yet another bonehead move by Bill Veeck & co. Oh well, at least we got a couple good years out of Lamarr Hoyt.