Despite the fact that the Chicago White Sox are officially in rebuilding mode, and despite the fact that more trades are sure to come as part of this process, one thing has been established as the team gets ready for Spring Training exhibition games…. The team will rotate designated hitters in the lineup this season. Rick Renteria made that official during the teams workouts in Arizona this week. The good thing is the Sox have a few solid candidates to fill that role.
Outfielder Avisail Garcia was the primary DH in 2016, he’ll be called upon to fill in this role again this season. Garcia struggled to some degree last year (.245/.307/.285 slash line, 12 home runs, 51 runs batted in), and it’s because of those struggles that he won’t carry the load by himself. First baseman Jose Abreu will also pitch in as a way to give his legs a rest during the course of the season. Although the 30-year-old (.293/.353/.468, 25 home runs, 100 RBI’s in 2016) isn’t a fan of the designated hitter, he said he accepts the fact that he’ll be called upon to do just that on occasion in 2017.
“I don’t like to DH. But the season is a long one. There are days you need to be a DH. There are days when you need to take a rest. I am good with that. Rick (Renteria) is the boss. We must follow his lead,” Abreu said in an interview with CBS Chicago earlier this week.
Third baseman Todd Frazier, who’s currently battling an oblique injury, is also expected to see some at-bats in the DH slot. Frazier, who’s a possible candidate for a trade at some point during this rebuild, had an up and down year last year (.225/.302/.464, 40 home runs, 98 RBI’s). But he’ll be ready to go once he heals from his current injury.
“”It’s something I’ve dealt with before,” Frazier told CSN Chicago. “But at the same time, from what I’ve heard they’re not anything to mess with. So let’s take a couple days and see how it is after a couple days and go from there.”
Outfielder Melky Cabrera showed some flashes at various points last year (.296/.345/.455, 14 home runs, 86 RBI’s). It’s unknown as to how much longer he’ll wear a Sox uniform, but he’ll alternate as the DH in 2017 as well. And earlier this week it was reported that reserve third baseman Matt Davidson will also get a look in this role. The Sox traded for Davidson back in 2013 and he spent most of his time in the teams farm system since then.
He finally got his chance to play for the big league club back on June 30th, only to suffer a broken foot after his first at-bat. But heading into this season he has a solid chance to make the 25-man roster now that he’s healthy. While most of these players may be shipped out as part of the rebuilding process, it’s good to know that manager Rick Renteria has a plan to use them while they’re still around.