Sox to replace light-hitting corner outfielder with light-hitting corner outfielder

News came down earlier this week that Scott Podsednik injured his groin, and surgery will shelf him for six to eight weeks. The White Sox left fielder could be out until the end of Spring Training, which would hurt his chances to be ready for Opening Day 2007.

I would never wish injury upon someone — unless, of course, I’m playing a video game (I always burst out in cheers if I induce a career-ending injury in Madden). This injury, though, may have had a positive effect on the White Sox 2007 roster. Podsednik, as has been noted ad nauseum over the past year, does not hit to the level one would expect from a corner outfielder. Yes, he has excellent speed and steals his share of bases, but that’s a skill you want from an up the middle player.

The good news for the Sox: they have a few in-house options that could very well turn out better than Pod. The first of which is prospect Ryan Sweeney, who would have headed the list had the team not traded for John Danks. Sweeney will be 22 in February, but seems far enough along in his development that a shot at the Major League team should be warranted. He fared quite well in AAA last year, hitting .296/.350/.452. He hit .229 without a walk or an extra base hit during his 35 at-bat call-up in September, but that’s not worth measuring.

Another farm option presents itself in Josh Fields. The 24-year-old third baseman fared better than teammate Sweeney in AAA last year, mashing at a .305/.379/.515 clip. At his age, it would appear that now is the time to give him a shot with the club. He could be slotted in left field, or the team could trot Joe Crede out in that spot, effectively handing third base to Fields.

Both of these options are likely better than Podsednik would have been in the first place. However, GM Ken Williams doesn’t necessarily think so. According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Tribune, Williams is looking to ink Darin Erstad to replace Pod:

Without Erstad in the mix, the Sox likely would have had both Brian Anderson and Ryan Sweeney in the outfield, with speedy Jerry Owens also getting a look. That’s not the best-case scenario, Williams said.

Notice, however, that there are no quotes surrounding Williams’ statement. It makes one wonder what his actual words were, and how much Cowley spun the statement.

But you know what? Having younger players in the outfield may be the best-case scenario. Yes, you don’t know what you’re going to get from them, but you also don’t know what you’re going to get from the hobbled, 33-year-old Erstad. You do know his ceiling, though, which is about .275/.340/.390 — and that’s considering he stays healthy and plays his absolute best. Since that’s not bloody likely, you’re more realistically looking at .265/.325/.380 — just plain horrible for a corner outfielder. Plus, he doesn’t have nearly the speed Podsednik possessed.

I know that Brian Anderson didn’t wow the masses with his 2006 performance. But even if he only improves slightly, he won’t be killing the team from center field. Erstad and Podsednik, however, kill the team from a corner outfield position. The White Sox have better options in-house than a slower version of Podsednik.

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5 Responses to “Sox to replace light-hitting corner outfielder with light-hitting corner outfielder”


  1. 1 lpmandrake January 24, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    Erstad makes for a good Ross Gload replacement; better defense, less pop. I hope the White Sox have the good sense to see that, but Williams has always had a bizarre infatuation with Erstad going back a few years. He’s clearly not the player he once was, and really, he was never the player some thought. Take away his 2000 year and he’s a pretty unremarkable player.

  2. 2 Del Brennan January 24, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    lpmandrake,

    Thank you. Comparing Darin Erstad to Ross Gload actually made me laugh.

    I’m not a fan of the “take away year X” argument, but yes, when you look at Erstad’s body of work, he’s not very impressive.

  3. 3 lpmandrake January 25, 2007 at 6:24 am

    Yeah, it’s not meant to take away from Erstad, but generally speaking, anytime a player has a huge jump in performance right around age 27 (in this case, 26) there’s a very good chance they will not be able to sustain it. Erstad’s 2000 suffers from a double whammy in that his value was mostly derived from a ridiculously high batting average, a notoriously volatile statistic. A .355/.409/.541 line is very good, but difficult to sustain.

  4. 4 flickrhoneys January 25, 2007 at 10:16 am

    I used to be married to Erstad. He was quite a nice guy :D


  1. 1 Dirty Carl Sports » Blog Archive » Blogdome: See Ya, Casey Trackback on February 6, 2007 at 5:17 am

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