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English: A.J. Pierzynski

English: A.J. Pierzynski (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I usually reserve these kinds of thoughts until New Year’s Eve is upon us, but with the current situation with the White Sox, trying to fill holes left by the exit of Kevin Youkilis and the impending departure of catcher A.J. Pierzynski, I don’t think it’s any too early to express my concerns–and hopes–for the 2013 team.

Kenny Williams, former general manager, always seemed to pull the proverbial “rabbit” out of his hat and make the Sox worth watching and following. (Of course, I’m a bit prejudiced along those lines since I’d follow them anyway!) His understudy, Rick Hahn, has some big shoes to fill, but he comes to the job well respected and with a solid plan (we can only hope!).

One of the first orders of business Hahn took care of was re-signing pitchers Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd. If the Sox are to be anywhere in the “big picture” this year, these two will play crucial roles as the season rolls along. And just today it’s been announced that the Sox have come to terms with free agent Jeff Keppinger, who played for the Tampa Bay Rays and had a pretty good season.

Nothing has been “finalized” in terms of where he’ll play, but it can be pretty certain that it will be at third base, where Youkilis performed nicely in the Sox’ run last year. Brent Morel is still a very big question mark to ever re-gain his third base position due to debilitating back problems, and a rather anemic bat. It’s good to have a player such as Keppinger who proved to be a good hitter and an average defensive talent. I’m fearful that he’ll be just another in a whole bunch of utility “role players” on the White Sox bench. That works for a while, but a team can’t really build a solid foundation doing it that way, year-to-year.

One further concern is the rumor bouncing around that Dayan Viciedo and Alejandero De Aza are being dangled as trade bait. I’m not sure how anxious I am for the Sox to part with the very young and talented Viciedo. De Aza was outstanding in centerfield last season, but was that an anomaly? If I could have them both back, I’d be happy. If the Sox get some quality player(s) in a trade for them, I’ll be equally happy. We shall see. Too bad we can’t have it both ways!

This time of year, there’s so much to think about. Last season is gone and we need to forget all that was good–and bad–and turn our thoughts to spring training in just a few months. In the meantime, we can think thoughts of baseball and green grass and warm summer days and nights and that new GM, Rick Hahn knows what he’s doing! Not bad thoughts for this holiday season!

Jake Peavy

Jake Peavy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

See you at the ballpark!