Assuming that everything goes swimmingly Sunday, Adam Eaton is expected to return to the White Sox on Tuesday. Rick Hahn has a choice to make. He can go the easy route and send Jordan Danks back to the AAA Charlotte Knights to likely finish the season. But, if you can allow me to wishcast for a moment, I think it's time to do the brave thing. The right thing.
It's time to keep Jordan Danks.
In watching most of the games this spring, it became very clear that Jordan Danks is, at worst, the second best outfielder in the Sox organization. Maybe he doesn't have the arm or the speed that Adam Eaton has, but he makes the plays consistently. That is also his biggest asset. Aside from a few miscues in his first callup to the majors, he has been a good centerfielder. Even with Adam Eaton on the DL, center field has never been a problem.
This spring training should have been the year that Jordan Danks made the team out of spring training. Besides spotless defense, Danks put up a .333/.378/.738 with five home runs. Unfortunately, with the Sox keeping three players for the 1B/DH role, there was no space in the roster to carry a fifth outfielder, so Danks started another season in Charlotte.
Paul Konerko isn't going anywhere. Leury Garcia is currently the only backup infielder. Adrian Nieto is the only backup catcher. The Sox have a couple of options right now.
First, the Sox could send down Scott Carroll. With the day off on Monday and day-night doubleheader on Saturday, it is possible that the Sox could send Scott Carroll down and bring up another pitcher to start on Saturday with the 26th roster spot.
Let's not get wishy-washy here though. Let's make the tough decision for the future. Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza are both up for arbitration this offseason. They are also making $2,8 million and $4.25 million respectively. While De Aza might have some value somewhere since he can play all three outfield positions, Viciedo's value has been dropping rapidly. Sunday was a great example of that.
In the second inning, Viciedo turned a single into a double. Too bad he was playing left field at the time. Then, there was this.
Last season, in a call in show with Rick Hahn, he discussed Viciedo's defense. He talked about Viciedo playing three positions in three seasons previously. It was still time to give him the benefit of the doubt. That isn't the case anymore. Chase Headley ran on Viciedo's arm. It's not because he's speedy, but because he knew Viciedo can't handle the carom cleanly.
So, maybe it's time for the White Sox to say, "Jordan, left field is now yours to lose." Maybe he can keep it. Maybe he fails within the first week. Maybe Moises Sierra takes it. Maybe Marcus Semien takes it. Maybe Jared Mitchell takes it. Who knows? Right now, though, it's time to see a new face in left field.