Levine: White Sox Minor Leaguers Will Get Opportunities In September
By Bruce Levine —
(CBS) — The veteran players on the White Sox need to be forewarned: your playing time may be trimmed next month. The team’s failure in August (6-20) as well as the rebuilding plan demand that minor league players begin getting a major league chance.
General manager Rick Hahn set the tone on Tuesday by laying down some guidelines for September.
“I don’t see any difficulties in that area,” Hahn said about the chance of any veterans having issues with losing playing time. “We emphasized the fact to our players that we will tell them truthfully what is on our mind and what the expectations are. I don’t think there will be any surprises if some younger players are here eating into some playing time in September.”
Players who could be impacted are Adam Dunn, Dayan Viciedo, Alejandro De Aza and Tyler Flowers. With solid campaigns, catcher Josh Phegley and first baseman Andy Wilkins are players who are bound to get playing time after spending this season in the minors.
Hahn said that he won’t promote any new players before the Triple-A season ends Tuesday. The White Sox will have 25 games left at that point of the season.
“Part of the reason we are where we are is perhaps the older players did not get us to the level we wanted to be at,” Hahn said. “So it is time to give some younger players an opportunity. This is a good group of guys. They get it. They want to do what is best for the White Sox.”
Captain Paul Konerko, in his last year with the team, agrees that if players are going to be upset about losing playing time, they should have done better in the first five months of the campaign.
“If as a group we didn’t want to have a situation in September where they were going to call up young guys and sitting down older guys, than we should be better in the standings,” he said. “We should have earned that, and we haven’t done that.”
Dunn in particular may have his pending free agent status impacted by fewer at-bats. Being a team player will keep Dunn from voicing any discontent. That said, he won’t be a happy guy watching from the bench.
Flowers has done a solid job of handling the pitching staff. After a hot start, he has hit under .200 since June. It is clearly time for Viciedo and De Aza to move on.
“I don’t see any problem with our guys dealing with it,” Konerko said. “This is the way of the baseball world here. With our group, I don’t see anyone not handling it in a team-oriented way.”
Manager Robin Ventura said that he asked Hahn not to bring any players up who he didn’t think were ready to play.
“I don’t want guys up here just to take room on the bench,” Ventura said. “I want them to be able to play and see what they can do up here. Then you can make some decisions in the off season of how you go forward.”
Some players could be designated for assignment after the deadline for adding people to postseason rosters expires on Monday. A player must be on a major league 25-man roster by that date to be eligible for postseason play.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.