What Will the Sox Look Like on Opening Day?

It’s much too early to speculate on the 2011 White Sox opening day 25-man roster. Too much can happen during the remainder of the offseason and six weeks of spring training.

That said, I’m going to take a shot at it anyway. It’s what a blog is for, right? So, with a disclaimer that things can, and inevitably will, change from now until we face the Indians in Cleveland on April 1, here’s how I see the Sox as I sit here on January 12.

PITCHERS (11)

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Mark Buehrle
John Danks
Edwin Jackson
Gavin Floyd
Jake Peavy
Will Ohman
Tony Pena
Sergio Santos
Jesse Crain
Chris Sale
Matt Thornton
Although it may be a long shot, I’m counting on Peavy beginning the season in the starting rotation and Sale in the bullpen on an 11-man staff. If Peavy isn’t ready, Sale could begin the season as a starter and the Sox could add Lucas Harrell, Anthony Carter, another minor leaguer or someone now outside of the organization to the pen. One of those could also start the year in Chicago if the club goes to a 12-man staff.


CATCHERS (2)

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A.J. Pierzynski 
Ramon Castro
It’s very reassuring that A.J. is back and Castro is arguably the best backup catcher in baseball.

INFIELDERS (8)

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Paul Konerko
Adam Dunn
Gordon Beckham
Alexei Ramirez
Brent Morel
Omar Vizquel
Mark Teahen
Brent Lillibridge
Like most Sox fans, I’m not crazy about either Teahen or Lillibridge even in backup roles. But versatility is the key. Teahen can play third, first, right and left and Lillibridge can play center in addition to second, short and third. It is possible, but unlikely, that the Sox can move Teahen’s hefty contract, which would give Dayan Viciedo a shot to make the April roster. If that doesn’t happen, Viciedo–he of the electric bat–will have trouble making the team unless his defense has improved enough to beat out Morel (pictured above) or the Sox feel they can do without Lilli. Viciedo is also the odd man out at first with Konerko and Dunn firmly entrenched.

OUTFIELDERS (4)

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Juan Pierre
Alex Rios
Carlos Quentin
Alejandro De Aza
If the White Sox start the season with 11 pitchers, there seems to be room for another outfielder. I’m not that confident that De Aza would be the guy, but he would add speed and defense. Then again, the Sox could look elsewhere for another outfielder. If the team goes with a 12-man pitching staff, De Aza or another outfielder wouldn’t be in the mix with the South Siders counting on Teahen and Lillbridge, if they are both still around, to be the backups. Something else to think about is the possibility of Quentin being traded.

There’s a long way to go, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it–at least for now.

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