The official White Sox 25-man Opening Day, World Series-bound roster is not to be announced until Thursday, but they're eeking ever closer to full resolution, while also completely holding off on any decision of who is getting booted off the 40-man roster. The story of the Sox roster is akin to Harry Potter, but only in the sense that it's hesitant to decisively purge any significant characters.
Roster favorites for the entire Spring, J.B. Shuck and Geovany Soto were both informed they have secured the backup roles in their respective position groups. Shuck has a spot on the 40-man and has been hot all Spring (.360/.418/.460 with five stolen bases), keeping him insulated from any wild scenarios like Leury Garcia catching fire. Soto has been the prohibitive favorite provided he could stay healthy, even with Rob Brantly already on the 40-man. He was showing off his defensive prowess Tuesday; gunning down three basestealers as if he had never had his finger kicked crooked in the AL Wild Card Playoff. That he's hit .258/.425/.452 (nine walks!) has just cemented the notion that he's by far the most talented catcher of the backup candidate group, and probably could give Tyler Flowers a run for his money if he was more durable.
So that's the open 40-man spot being given to Soto; where does Matt Albers go? The White Sox also let the right-hander know he had made it, since Tuesday was the deadline for veterans on Article 20.B deals to find out if they had gotten on the MLB roster. Raul Fernandez could be a casualty to make room for Albers, as we have no real concept of his role with the organization, but since committed MLB reserves Gordon Beckham and Emilion Bonifacio have already gotten confirmation that they are on the team, the alienated Leury Garcia could be on the chopping block.
Per Doug Padilla, recently acquired (but also recently waived from a less than stellar Blue Jays bullpen) Kyle Drabek is expected to make the team after getting four outs without incident, which doesn't shine glory all over the Sox bullpen competition.
If that holds, the Sox have two basic decisions left.
--Micah Johnson or Carlos Sanchez for second base? Or carry both along with an 11-man pitching staff until Chris Sale comes back. A non-decision saves the Sox from the pain of rejecting one of their young and impressionable second basemen, but offers few other benefits.
--The rest of the bullpen. They have Robertson, Duke, Jennings, Putnam, Guerra, Albers, Drabek, and then a selection of kind of strange options for the eighth spot. Arcenio Leon is mysteriously unscored upon all Spring. Scott Carroll has proven he can eat long relief innings, and apparently Brad Penny won't be doing that out of camp. But both of these guys would require another body dropped off the 40-man. Maikel Cleto is there already, and thus a simpler choice. He's terrifyingly scattershot, but he's there.
A secret option: DFA Cleto and carry whoever they like. Secret downside: Cleto immediately joins the Indians and wins the Cy Young, just because.
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