By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) Another week of White Sox baseball and another week of questions at third base.
Here is this week’s mailbag, written as NATO protesters surround the building:
How much playing time do you think Hudson will get? #WhiteSox – @ChrisLowy
When I first threw out Orlando Hudson’s name as a trade target in last week’s mailbag, I did so because I knew he was a cheap option and the White Sox can’t afford to trade much out of their farm system. I also did so with the assumption that Hudson could play third base despite the fact he has never played there in the majors. It seems Kenny Williams is now making that same assumption.
As it turns out, the White Sox didn’t even need to trade for Hudson because was released by the Padres last week. They only have to pay the pro-rated league minimum of his $5.5 million salary, so why not try him at third if Morel is headed to the DL?
The White Sox are hoping Hudson can play third adequately, but remember when they tried that with Wilson Betemit? If Morel is out for more than a couple weeks and Hudson struggles at third, I wonder if the White Sox would consider moving Gordon Beckham back to the hot corner. Beckham played well at third when he first came up with the White Sox, but has established himself as one of the best defensive second basemen, so such a move would not be ideal. They would only do so if Hudson was hitting well enough to stay in the lineup, but couldn’t cut it defensively at third.
If Hudson proves he can play third base, I would expect him to be in the lineup nearly every day with Morel out. And if he plays well, Morel’s jobs security might be in question when he is eligible to come off the DL. If Hudson struggles though, he’ll likely be relegated to bench duty with Lillibridge and Escobar splitting time at third.
Does O-Dog have anything left, or is this another one of those Kenny signings of good players past their prime? #WhiteSox – @ProjectKram
Hudson’s offense might be an even bigger question than his ability to play third base. The White Sox really need to get some production from their third baseman, whoever he is.
It seems Williams has had a habit of adding coveted players when it’s too late and Hudson could be another example. He hasn’t hit better than .268 since 2009 when he was with the Dodgers, but, as I mentioned before, he comes incredibly cheap, so why not try it?
Given Brent Morel’s production thus far, who gives the Sox the best chance to win games at 3B? O-Dog? Dan Johnson? Adam Hoge? – @gknuter711
I mentioned a possible Dan Johnson promotion last week and had Hudson not been released, I think he likely would have received the call with Morel going on the DL. Johnson is tearing up Triple-A (currently third in the International League with a 1.011 OPS), but his major league numbers have never been that impressive so I can see why Kenny Williams wants to try Hudson first.
That said, I think Johnson can be valuable on the bench even with Hudson joining the team. I don’t think you need both Brent Lillibridge and Eduardo Escobar on the bench when Johnson can give you more power. Escobar could use more seasoning in the minors and it’s not like Johnson needs to be in Charlotte playing every day.
To answer your question though, I think either Hudson or Johnson give you a better chance to win games right now than Morel. Morel hasn’t been 100 percent all season and he needs to get healthy.
We saw what happened to Paulie over the weekend. What happens if he or Dunn are seriously injured? Is there a back-up plan? – @tomdmaloney
Haha, Dan Johnson? He can play first.
By back-up plan, I assume you are talking about some kind of move that would replace Konerko’s or Dunn’s production, but honestly, there is none. You saw what happened last year when Dunn was essentially absent. The White Sox can’t afford to make any big moves so if either of those guys went down, I think Williams would start looking to move guys like Jake Peavy, A.J. Pierzynski and Matt Thornton.
How many All-Stars do you think the White Sox will have? – Jack T.
This is a great question. For a .500 team, the White Sox have a lot of All-Star candidates.
At this point, you would think Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn will both be heading to Kansas City, but A.J. Pierzynski should make it as well. He currently leads American League catchers in batting average (.301), slugging (.485) and OPS (.823).
Jake Peavy should be an All-Star with his 5-1 record and 2.39 ERA and Chris Sale has an All-Star ERA at 2.91. In the bullpen, Nate Jones has a 1.33 ERA and has pitched the most relief innings on the team with 20.1. Unfortunately, he might not have the star power and there are a ton of good relievers in the American League.
Ultimately, I think Konerko, Dunn, Pierzynski and Peavy will all make the All-Star team.
Adam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.