Though they're not being looked at as starters, Jordan Danks and Leury Garcia still factor into the White Sox' long-term plans. Both have an inside track to being mainstays on the bench moving forward, but they'll have to wait for guys to be moved before they get another look at the major league level.
Danks can't believe it! Credit: Bob Levey, Getty Images
Barring any moves, the Sox will likely break camp with three extra guys, if you will. There will probably be three regular platoons for the club: third base, left field, and designated hitter.
I don't think 25 year-old Dayan Viciedo will be much, if anything less than an everyday player, but Alejandro De Aza is still a very solid player that will demand a lot of playing time. Conor Gillaspie, assuming it's him and not Matt Davidson as the primary third baseman to open the season, will start against righties with Jeff Keppinger against southpaws, with the same being the case for Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko at DH/1B (along with Jose Abreu).
Teams almost always break camp with seven relievers nowadays, so I wouldn't expect the Sox to do anything different. They'll probably have space for four position players on the bench. Konerko, Keppinger, and De Aza account for three of those spots though, so a backup/second catcher will get the final one.
Yes, the bench will be thin and very limited. Keppinger will be the only guy on the bench who can play second base, third base, or short stop and when he's in the starting lineup against lefties I'm not really sure what the team will do in case of an emergency. Lots of double-switches, I guess.
Besides Davidson and Marcus Semien, two youngsters who probably won't be on the opening day roster because of service time issues (make sure to read South Side Sox's breakdown), Jordan Danks and Leury Garcia appear to be the two guys that are getting the short end of the stick.
Danks is already 27 years old, which seems crazy considering how recently we viewed him as a legitimate prospect. But at 27, we pretty much know what he'll be for this organization: a fourth outfielder, and a pretty darn good one at that.
Over the past two years Danks has racked up 254 plate appearances, slashing .229/.303/.344 but showing that once in a groove, he is a very respectable big league hitter. Don't get me wrong, his defense is what will keep him around, but he is pretty solid at the plate against righties.
He's not arbitration eligible until 2016, so he'll probably be around for at least a couple more years. We will see a lot of him this year, we just don't know when. If and when De Aza or Viciedo is dealt, he'll probably be on his way up from Charlotte.
Leury Garcia's situation is similar, yet much more complex than Danks'. Entering just his age 23 seasons, it'd be silly to completely jump to conclusions about what Garcia's career will be. But with a cluttered middle of the infield now and likely into the future, the White Sox view him as a utility man/super-sub.
Garcia is basically a lock to do everything well, besides provide offense. He's phenomenal in the field, can play infield and outfield, has a great arm, and is a speedster. But as evidenced by his .198/.248/.228 slash line in 111 MLB plate apperances (CWS & TEX) last season and his lackluster minor league career, it doesn't appear likely he'll be able to make it as a big league starter.
If he can just figure out how to hit around .230 in a bench role, he'll be an above-average reserve for the White Sox. We'll see quite a bit of him this year too sooner or later; he can just fill so many holes it's hard to keep him off the roster for too long.
You never want to put too much stock into guys that project as reserves. But as we all learned back in '05, a great bench can definitely help you win ball games, and these guys appear to be two that could lead such a unit.