timeliest contribution last season occurred in relief, but White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen
has ruled out that role as he sorts out a pleasant problem for next spring with the emergence of 22-year-old Brandon McCarthy
"[Hernandez] should be a starter," Guillen said Thursday. "It's up to him to see how he feels."
Neither Hernandez nor McCarthy, however, has extensive experience in the bullpen, and the Sox have three off-days during the first 10 days of the season. That virtually rules out the possibility of a six-man rotation to start the season.
"I don't know exactly what we're going to do," Guillen said.
We can only hope this is Guillen being too loyal to a veteran in the media. Nobody who watched these two play from August through October, even with El Duque's Boston heroics, can honestly say that El Duque is the better pitcher right now. -- In the comments of another post, I mentioned two teams
that Kenny should be looking to unload El Duque on next year. Hopefully Ozzie is just trying to boost Duque's seemingly nonexistent trade value.
From the same article, I found this much more interesting.
In assessing his plan to move Juan Uribe
and Tadahito Iguchi
in the order, Guillen hopes batting second will make Uribe a more disciplined hitter while allowing Iguchi to drive in more runs from either the sixth or seventh spot.
For much of the second half of last season I was calling for this move. The numbers won't do much to support a decision like this, but I have to say my eyes agree with Guillen.
In the second half, specifically August and September, Uribe had the best K/BB ratio and strike zone judgment of any White Sox batter. He seemed very adept at laying down the occasional bunt and puting the ball in play when he had to (e.g. hit-and-runs). Most of all, I think the move would make him concentrate more, resulting in a whole lot more production at the plate. -- A little outside the box, but this is a move that I would like to see at least attempted.
Moving Iguchi from the second spot "will give us a very good shot to see who he really is," Guillen said.
I'll explore this topic tomorrow.