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Congratulations to Sergio Santos. Just one year ago, he was giving up hopes of becoming a major-league shortstop. Today, he’s made an Opening Day roster as a major-league reliever.
If he doesn’t pull a Larry Yount, Santos wins a White Sox prize pack including…
*A major-league salary! With per diem and perks.
*A major-league nickname! I can see the front-runner being “SERGIO!”
We already have RAAAAAAAANDY! , but then again, we could treat it as a matching set for the Sox’s least-valuable left-handed and right-handed relievers.
Personally, I like “Shabba Doo” or “Ozone.” The latter one works best for me, because if he walks two batters and hits another in his major-league debut, we can call him “No-Zone.”
*A eulogy in White Sox Outsider 2011! Something every player cherishes.
Oddly enough, though, Santos doesn’t change the complexion of the Opening Day roster in comparison to the 2009 version. Just about everything else does.
More than half of the players who broke camp with the White Sox in 2009 aren’t around this year, and when you remember what that Opening Day roster looked like, that’s a good thing.
Here are the major changes, and by and large, the Sox are better off than they were at this point last season. The edge is in bold, and capital letters means it’s a big advantage:
|2B||Chris Getz||GORDON BECKHAM|
|3B||Josh Fields||Mark Teahen|
|Corner OF||JERMAINE DYE||Juan Pierre|
|CF||Dewayne Wise||ALEX RIOS|
|Fourth OF||Brian Anderson||MANDRUW KOJONES|
|Backup C||Corky Miller||Ramon Castro|
|Backup IF||Brent Lillibridge||Jayson Nix|
|Backup IF||Wilson Betemit||Omar Vizquel|
|Starter||Jose Contreras||JAKE PEAVY|
|Starter||Bartolo Colon||Freddy Garcia|
|Setup man||Octavio Dotel||J.J. Putz|
|Second lefty||Clayton Richard||Randy Williams|
|Last man||Mike MacDougal||Sergio Santos|
I think we can call MacDougal and Santos a “push.” As excited as I am to watch him pop ‘n’ lock, he could be an equally big disaster.
There’s plenty of reason to worry about the offense, but the fact that Kenny Williams is starting from a better position helps take the edge off. Now he has to concentrate on finding that second wave of talent. He had a pretty good run last year, with Garcia and Scott Podsednik off the scrap heap and Beckham from the minors, and he’ll be hard-pressed to duplicate it.
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*Scott Linebrink sounds like a man running out of rationalizations. Ozzie Guillen said two unintentionally funny things about him (in bold).
“If Liner does what he’s supposed to do, I think our bullpen is going to be a lot better. It can be dangerous.”
*Mark Buehrle finished his spring with five scoreless innings and says the off-season shoulder conditioning might be helping. Bobby Jenks closed it out with two of his own, and Randy Williams retired four batters to keep his spring ERA at 0.00.
*Lisa Winston takes stock of the farm system on MLB.com.
*Joe Posnanski likes the pitching.
*Andrew makes a few insanely specific predictions for the 2010 season.
*J.J. isn’t necessarily opposed to expanding Randy Williams’ role.
*Oral Sox is back! I listened to their first podcast of the season at work, and so should you.
*Larry’s back with the first weekly minor-league thread of the season at SSS.
*A new White Sox blog: Sabermetrically-oriented The Pale Hose Pariah. Check it out as well.