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Kenny Williams enters the winter meetings with a number of positions in flux, made all the more fluxier by his fixation on versatile players. His last four non-pitchers acquired — Mark Kotsay, Mark Teahan, Omar Vizquel and Andruw Jones — average better than three positions among them.
The only problem is that none of them can lock down one position among them. So despite acquiring a handful of players, Williams still has his hands full.
Pre-meeting coverage asks a lot of questions, but the answers are in short supply — so much so, that this is what an early look at the White Sox batting order:
- A.J. Pierzynski
- Carlos Quentin
- Paul Konerko
- Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham, Mark Teahen
- Andruw Jones
- Alex Rios
- Omar Vizquel, DH
I’m only half-kidding about that last one. Ozzie Guillen suggested that Vizquel could both serve as designated hitter and leadoff man. I just prefer to keep the top spot cleared because the Sox still don’t have anybody to play the leadoff position. That’s a problem about which Williams doesn’t seem too concerned:
‘We won’t forfeit the spot,” Williams said. ”We’ll still put nine out there.”
But Guilen could make up for it with multiple hitters at one spot in the bottom half of the order. In reaction to the idea of batting Beckham first, Ozzie Guillen said he’d rather bat Beckham sixth or seventh.
I wouldn’t take that literally, as it’s more likely an effort to prevent Beckham from experiencing the pressures of increased expectations. The sixth spot is more a state of mind for Guillen, a place where you don’t have to worry about working counts, bunting or hitting and running, and you can instead focus all your attention on the vaunted “good at-bats.”
In other highly premature lineup talk:
*Guillen says Jones has a shot at being an everyday player, which is a possibility everybody should be prepared for. Jones is as good a bet as any other in-house corner outfielder right now to play opposite Quentin, and even if the Sox acquire a true Jermaine Dye replacement, somebody will have to fill in for Quentin when he finds a new way to hurt himself.
*Tyler Flowers will still likely start the year in Charlotte, but Williams has informed Flowers that alternate plans are possible:
“If it turns out we want to put Tyler in [the backup catcher role], the move comes with expectations that he will grow into the role similar to a young backup quarterback in the NFL. He’ll be learning as he goes, but also losing development time. After the season, that would mean he would have to continue going out and playing somewhere, whether it’s the Fall League or down in Winter ball.”
And there’s another reason to root against Flowers when it comes to the 25-man roster. Forcing a young player to participate in winter ball has been where seeds of discontent are sown in the White Sox organization.
*Joe Cowley says Jim Thome isn’t walking through that door, as the Sox want their designated hitter to be able to play a position.
*The Sox are so low on trading chits that Scott Merkin’s third choice for expendable Sox is… Brent Lillibridge.
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*I”ll be dropping old Christmas cards on Facebook throughout the next two weeks.
*J.J. is dropping names of players the Sox should think about traidng for, starting with Matt Lindstrom and old friend Willie Harris.