CHICAGO – Take a good look at the White Sox’s roster.
Although the Sox didn’t make many offseason moves or overhaul the team, their 40-man roster is set after officially signing right-handed reliever Matt Lindstrom to a one-year, $2.8 million contract which includes a club option for 2014. General manager Rick Hahn and the Sox’s front office are prepared to enter spring training – and potentially the regular season – with the team they’ve assembled.
“The more of them that are available allow us to shorten up the game as well,” Hahn said Friday during SoxFest at the Palmer House Hilton. “[Lindstrom] has a history of closing, which is nice. He is called upon to that role, and he obviously fits that profile of what we are looking for in terms of a nice power arm with some sink. He keeps the ball on the ground and in the park. It turned out to be a nice fit for us.”
Ideally, the Sox would add another left-handed bat – which has been a goal the entire offseason – to what projects as a righty dominated lineup. But with limited quality options remaining on the free agent market, Hahn isn’t willing to sign just any left-handed bat.
“We are still actively looking for something that provides us with an upgrade, but we are not going to make the move for a left-handed bat simply because it’s a left-handed bat,” Hahn said. “Historically our right-handed hitters, especially [Paul Konerko] and [Alex Rios], and prior to last season, Alexei [Ramirez], had hit right-handed pitching fairly well.”
The Sox need outfielder Dayan Viciedo to hit better against right-handed pitchers.
He hit only .225 last season against righties and if he doesn’t improve, Hahn expects left-handed hitters Jordan Danks or Dewayne Wise to step in and get the job done.
After the departure of fan favorite, catcher A.J. Pierzynski, Tyler Flowers faces the most pressure to perform well during spring training. Hahn ruled out bringing in a veteran catcher to push Flowers and wants to avoid making any rash decisions based on 50-60 Cactus League at-bats.
It won’t be easy for fans to forget Pierzynski’s contributions on the baseball diamond, and Hahn is aware of fans’ sensitivity regarding Pierzynski’s departure and the lack of big name, offseason acquisitions.
“Ultimately it’s on us to do what we feel like is the best in terms of maximizing wins over a longer period of time then responding emotionally or with sentimentality,” Hahn said. “It’s something we are aware of but it’s not something that drives decision making as much as what we feel will maximize our wins.”
• Meghan Montemurro covers the White Sox and Cubs for Shaw Media. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @M_Montemurro.