TAXI SQUAD: INF Jake Burger, RHP Ryan Burr, RHP Matt Foster, LHP Jace Fry, INF Romy González, OF Brian Goodwin, LHP Dallas Keuchel, RHP Evan Marshall and C Seby Zavala— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) October 7, 2021
Surprises? Well yeah, leaving Dallas Keuchel completely off of the roster, even on the hind end of a bad season, still shocks. And Tony La Russa claiming that Dallas’ failed relief appearance in the season’s final week not mattering turned out to be ... not true.
But take this not only as indictment of Kid Keuchy, but endorsement for Carlos Rodón, who obviously has shown the White Sox he is healthy enough to piggyback a three-inning start with Michael Kopech, if not more. (Remember, if there is true injury, the White Sox can make roster moves onto the ALDS roster ... Rodón fails or anyone else on staff is hurt, Keuchel is likely the guy activated from the taxi squad.)
Another curious move to many is going with just two catchers — and having the backup be Zack Collins. It may be splitting hairs, but I’ll take Seby as a better PLAYER (framing, fundamental hitting, arm) having more value on this roster than Zack (power, batting eye ... dubs dancing?). It is surprising that Tony took one tool out of his box by basically insisting Yaz catch every inning; a very imaginable playoff scenario, pitch-running Billy Hamilton or Adam Engel for Grandal when he draws a leadoff walk in the ninth in a tie game simply cannot happen in the playoffs, leaving Zack to catch for any number of innings in extras.
Danny Mendick, completing the postgame dance team, back up with the club is an interesting move, especially given Romy González has passed him on the depth chart, packs a far more dangerous bat, and has defensive flexibility to probably all seven positions. He’s certainly a more skilled outfielder than Mendick, which would seemingly be a roster factor.
So, here they are, your White Sox heroes-to-be for the Division Series!