Chicago White Sox Favored To Win Division

The White Sox took a flier on Humber this offseason, but don’t expect him to be another Don Cooper reclamation success. The 28-year-old right-hander has been nothing but mediocre in the minor leagues from 2007-2010, posting FIPs of 4.58, 4.86, 4.70, and 4.37 across stops with the Mets, Twins and Royals’ triple-A teams. In 51.1 major-league innings, Humber has a 5.05 FIP as well. But, given the competition, Humber may end up being the best option for the Sox come April 1.

Erik Bedard is slated to get the start for the Red Sox in this one. He is winless in three starts since coming over from Seattle at the end of July. The left-hander is 4-8 with an ERA of 3.44 in 19 starts this season. Lifetime against the Rangers, Bedard is 4-3 with a 3.22 Era.

Brad Ziegler finished the year with a 3.26 ERA, but that number doesn’t tell an honest truth. Ziegler struggled, taking a bullpen-high seven losses on the year, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio was downright mediocre: he struck out only 41 batters in 60 2/3 innings, while walking 28 batters. Putting that many batters on base with a free pass is a big problem for a reliever.

The sale jerseys can survive with a platoon of Brian Anderson and Dewayne Wise in center (with Anderson getting more playing time thanks to gold glove-caliber defense), but the lack of a “traditional” leadoff hitter will force Ozzie Guillen to get creative. In the end, I’d expect Chris Getz to get the majority of at-bats from the No. 1 spot in the order this year, but he may not slide in there until late April or early May, whenever Guillen realizes that he’s a better long-term option than Wise or Anderson.

Two huge holes remain in Boston’s lineup with David Ortiz listed as doubtful and Kevin Youkilis still on the DL with a sore back. None the less, the Red Sox continue to lead the Majors in hitting with a .278 team batting average and scoring with an average of 5.32 runs a game.

New York is only bringing Rodriguez back because it has few other healthy offensive weapons left. But if the Yankees are hoping against hope that the 38-year-old third baseman will jump start the rest of the lineup, it didn’t come true on this first night. After getting a bloop single in his first at-bat, he was hitless the rest of the game.

What worries me is that I’m not sure Owens will be able to simply hit the ball harder. His extra-base numbers in the minor leagues are not impressive: 24 in 2006, 13 in 2007, 12 in 2008 (all with AAA Charlotte). He may not have it in him to get 30+ extra base hits in a season, so if he’s going to stick for at least a year, he has to turn himself into an on-base machine.

The Knights got off to a slow start and they continue to sputter along leaving them in the cellar of the IL South at 7-20, tied for the worst mark with the Toledo Mud Hens, and in the throes of a five game slide. Duente Heath was the first of what are now 22 transactions with righty Matt Zaleski going on the disabled list, righty Brian Omogrosso (promoted) and lefty Donnie Veal (optioned by the parent White Sox) being the latest to be added to a growing list.