Christmas came early for me this year, when the White Sox signed Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, AJ Pierzynski, and Jesse Crain while cutting ties with Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks. With key players in place and dead weight from the bullpen released the White Sox are looking like the favorites to win the AL Central.
When the Sox signed Dunn they addressed the biggest issue from last season, no left-handed power hitter and fulltime designated hitter. While the Ozzie Guillen experiment of DH by committee failed miserably last year, I do not fault the Sox for going in a different direction at the beginning of the season last season. Believe me, it was very frustrating as a Sox fan when three base hits in a row resulted in no runs because the speed on the base paths in 2009 was too slow. The Sox realized this wasn’t working so they went after Dunn at the trading deadline, but could not close the deal.
The free agent market was barely heating up when Kenny Williams took care of business this off-season by quickly locking Dunn into a multi-year deal, thus giving the Sox the power they’d been looking for since June 2010. He didn’t stop there, as Pierzynski was signed that same day, and Konerko a week later giving the White Sox a ton of power and enough speed under contract in Juan Pierre, Alex Rios, and Alexei Ramirez.
The biggest move of the off-season thus far may have been finding a taker for Linebrink aka Linestink, and thus ending a nightmarish stay with the Sox. Follow that up with getting Crain from the Minnesota Twins roster and onto the Sox earlier this week and things really look good.
Williams has made all the right moves and don’t be surprised to see one more major acquisition occur before spring training for the bullpen.
I think the biggest challenge is how do you set the lineup with all the power available, I would personally bat Rios in-between Dunn and Konerko for two reasons. One, he’s a big enough power threat for Dunn to see good pitches, and two it adds speed between two not very speedy players. If I had my call I’d set the line-up like this:
Juan Pierre – LF
Gordon Beckham – 2B
Adam Dunn – DH
Alex Rios – CF
Paul Konerko – 1B
Carlos Quentin – RF
Alexi Ramirez – SS
AJ Pierzynski – C
Mark Teahen, Brent Morel, Omar Vizquel – 3B