We've spent a lot of times discussing the guys on the fence, or those who might make the White Sox major league roster out of spring training. So I figured why not take some time to update you on those who don't really have that chance.
I want to be clear, this isn't meant to be a list of everyone with potential who there isn't room for on the 25-man roster; that list would take far too long to cover. This is simply meant to fill you in on those who do have potential, do have promise, and are assets, but just don't fit into the makeup of the White Sox; this year or in some cases at all in the future.
We've written a lot about Axe (pictured above) of late. Basically, Dylan is still a promising prospect for the White Sox, as he has been for a while. But considering he'll turn 28 this season and his ceiling is only projected to be that of a solid no. 4 or 5 starter, the time seems to be running out on him.
Axelrod will likely be the team's 7th starter, if you will, and does have a small shot to make the team's Opening Roster. If John Danks continues to struggle, as we've laid out recently, Axelrod will likely be called up and either make some spot starts or be the bullpen's long reliever (if Robin Ventura and Don Cooper want Hector Santiago to move into the rotation). So although he does have a spot with the ball club, it's a small one.
Axelrod really seems like the type of pitcher who needs to make consistent starts in one place in order to find his groove, and even if he does contribute to the team in 2013, it likely won't be in a consisten capacity.
Like we said, the clock is definitely ticking on Axe. Considering there's a good chance there will only be one (and possibly zero) starting rotation spots open for the taking in 2014, I'm really not sure that Axelrod has a long-term future with the team, especially considering management may be inclined to go with someone with higher potential when that day rolls around.
Acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, lefty reliever Daniel Moskos is the former 4th overall draft pick in 2007. That should tell you plenty about this kid's talent.
He got his only major league experience in 2011, when he pitched in 31 games for the Pirates (24.1 IP), posting an impressive 2.96 ERA. Obviously, all appeared to be looking up for Moskos, but he just didn't fit in with their team's makeup going forward.
It should be noted that he's hit a bit of a bump in his minor league career. Last year, he had just a 4.19 ERA through all of his time in Indianapolis and Charlotte. Still, the fact that he has so much talent and throws from the left side means that he could certainly have a decent future in some team's bullpen. And at only 26 years old, he's still got some time to get settled in somewhere … especially considering he's a reliever.
Unfortunately, it's not looking too much like he has a concrete place in the Sox' future. With Donnie Veal and Matt Thornton set (along with Hector Santiago, in some capacity) to handle the lefty work out of the 'pen and faith still being put in youngster Leyson Septimo, 2013 may not hold much hope at all for Moskos.
Of course, in 2014 there may be a need, as many expect this will be Thornton's last year on the south side of Chicago. But considering Moskos' value, he may be able to fill a need for a contender this year … so dealing him away may just be the smartest option at this point in time.
But hey, Rick Hahn is much more qualified to decide that than me, so we'll see how it plays out …
Troncoso's case is very similar to that of Moskos'. The 30 year-old righty reliever had a great deal of success with the LA Dodgers in 2009, when he appeared in 73 games and had an impressive 2.72 ERA through over 83 IP.
He was formidable in the years before and after '09, posting two ERA's in the low-4.00's in b oth '08 and '10. But after an abysmal 2011, in the majors and AAA Albuquerque, plus even worse fortune in 2012, the Dodgers had seen enough.
So the White Sox figured why not pick up Troncoso, who knows how to be a successful big league reliever. After all, it's a long season and as we learned last year, having insurance plans is very valuable.
So far this spring, Ramon has been very good. He's pitched 10 innings and has a phenomenal 1.80 ERA. But it still has to be decided where he fits into the pecking order. As far as right-handed backup relievers go, Robin Ventura and co. has Troncoso, Brian Omogrosso (see below), and Jhan Marinez leading the charge. So if Troncoso can find his way to the lead of that pack, we may see him at times throughout 2013, particularly late in the year.
But going forward, it's unfortunate for him that he doesn't really have much of a shot to establish a job with the team for the next 2 or 3 seasons. He'll likely be a journeyman until he hangs up the cleats.
Here's the kid that I feel the worst for. Former first-round draft pick and brother of White Sox starter John Danks, Jordan got his first shot with the White Sox in 2012. And frankly, he did a fine job.
In 67 at bats spread out throughout the 2nd half of 2012, Danks hit just .224 with 1 HR (walk off against Oakland) and 1 2B while striking out 16 times. I'm not saying he was great, but I do think the eye-test would've rendered him a better grade than those numbers do.
It's necessary to mention, too, that he gave manager Robin Ventura an option he could confidently throw into any OF position late in ball games, most commonly left field for the inexperienced Dayan Viciedo.
But, considering the fact that the White Sox already have a full outfield with their current major league trio and four big-time outfield prospects looming in the White Sox near future, there really just doesn't seem to be a spot open for Danks, now or going forward.
I would say that Danks could lock up the utility, backup outfielder job for years to come, and while that's still not an impossible goal for him to reach, the fact that the White Sox signed DeWayne Wise to a 1-year contracdt for 2013 hampers it quite a bit.
Danks is already 26, so he should be fully ready by now. I think that the White Sox should and will test the market for him and try to get an infield and/or pitching prospect in return for him. While it's unfortunate, it just doesn't seem like a fit for the organization's future. They may as well get something for him while they can. The fact that he's so good defensively and posseses a little pop from the left side of the plate should be enough to sell him to someone or other around the league.
At 25, Tekotte is still a fairly highly regarded outfield prospect, but like Danks, he just doesn't seem like a great fit going forward. He was acquired by the Padres over the offseason because he too is a lefty, plays good defense, and has potential deep down in him.
See the Jordan Danks explanation above for why Tekotte doesn't really fit …
Omogrosso may be Robin Ventura and Don Cooper's number one insurance option in the minor leagues as far as righty relievers go. Last year, the 28 year-old hurled 21 innings for the Sox and had a very impressive 2.57 ERA. But the Sox' 'pen is already stocked, so any role he'll have in '13 will just be of the fill-in variety. And again, he's already 28.
Now, there's nothing wrong with planning for a 29 year-old reliever to have a future with your ball club (presumably from 2014 on), but considering that more youngsters' time will have come by then, it may make sense to get something in return for Omogrosso while they can.
But holding on to a guy like him may be worth it – we saw last year that he can be solid and be stretched out, too. For those reasons, I don't think he's as much of an 'odd man out' as the others on the list.