The White Sox Need a LOOGY

With Jose Contreras now in Charlotte and lefty Clayton Richard to be inserted into the rotation, Ozzie Guillen will be left with a bullpen that has only a single lefty, Matt Thornton, for him to play match-ups. But with Jose’s demotion and plenty of room on the 40 man roster, it is a near certainty that it will be a lefty who is called up from the farm to give Ozzie the second lefty he pines for.  Let’s take a quick look at the candidates:

Jimmy Gobble: White Sox fans are familiar with the long-time Royal, most notably for his ability to get Paul Konerko out of any slump. Of course, using Gobble against any righty is an unforgivable offense by a manager. Gobble is the epitome of a LOOGY. After he dropped his arm slot in 2007, he became more effective against lefties but righties began to tee off of him. The Knights have been using Gobble almost exclusively for at least one inning in each of his appearances so his 2009 numbers are somewhat alarming at first glance; however, he is more than holding his own against lefties. He's held them to 1 hit and 1 walk in 19 plate appearances and has struck out 9 of them. He's also inducing rather weak contact, as well. The leading candidate.

Randy Williams: He’s been significantly more hittable than Gobble down in AAA. He’s faced 26 lefties and given up 7 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7. While some of this can be attributed to an inflated BABIP, lefties are also making harder contact on his pitches than Gobble's. A distant second.

Wes Whisler: This guy just doesn’t strike enough people out. While his ERA is often very nice – 3.81 last year and 2.12 so far this year – his peripherals scream “not a major leaguer.” He’s averaged about 4.5 K/9 in the upper minors and that simply won’t do. While he does perform better against lefties, he hasn't shut them down like a Gobble can. Also has little experience pitching in relief. No chance.

Aaron Poreda: You can read all about what Poreda has been doing in my weekly minor league updates or in the minor league fanshot that is updated daily. While Poreda is certainly the best pitcher of the bunch - and can be absolutely vicious on lefties - the White Sox are intent on making Poreda a starter and having him work on his secondary offerings. A call-up to the major league bullpen would be diametrically opposed to this goal. No chance.

[edit 1:24 pm: The White Sox make this moot by purchasing Gobble's contract from Charlotte.]

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