KenWo's Corner - Chris Sale

As you all know, last June the White Sox used their first pick to nab Chris Sale.  In a matter of weeks, he was up in the bigs working as a reliever and did an incredible job posting a 1.93 ERA in 23.1 innings with 32 strikeouts and only 10 walks.  Sale also worked in high leverage situations getting out tough lefties late in games and also proved he could close the door with 4 saves. 


To relieve or not to relieve... that is the question.


That is where the problem arises.  Sale was drafted to be a starter, yet he was so dominant out of the bullpen during a playoff push last season.  Currently, our roster looks almost set except for one place - relief pitching.  There is also the Jake Peavy injury situation,  which creates more of a dilemma.  There isn't exactly an excess of minor league options that can take over the 5th spot in the rotation if Peavy is unable to go come April.  As it currently stands, Sale would be the top candidate to replace Peavy in the rotation.  Some have stated that he is not ready to take over a spot in a Major League rotation and needs time in the Minors to develop as a starter, which is where he would provide more value over the long haul.  

So do the Sox let him season and develop in the Minors this year?  Do they throw him in the rotation until Peavy is ready to roll?  Do they put him in the weakened bullpen?

Personally, I think you have no choice but to put him in the bullpen in 2011.  It is the weakest area on your team by far.  As an organization you have an ad campaign claiming that you are "all in".  If you are all in, Sale is on your roster.  The guy can flat out fire and, together with Matt Thornton, you may never see two lefties as dominant in a bullpen ever again.  You would have to go back to the Nasty Boys era of Cincinnati to find as dominant a pair of lefties out of the pen in Randy Myers and Norm Charlton.  There also has been recent evidence of lefties working a year or two out of the bullpen and are able to then make the jump to the rotation.  Johan Santana was a reliever for the first 4 of his major league seasons.  CJ Wilson was in the Texas bullpen for 5 years before making the successful jump last year.  Even Mark Buehrle was pretty successful out of the bullpen in 2000 before being the "ace" of the Sox ever since.  

What would you do?

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