TCS Morning 5: Dingers are blessing no matter the time

1. The White Sox hit 12 home runs in April of 2015. That came over 19 games, where they scored 64 runs total, and slugged .352, worst in the AL. They finished last in the AL in slugging for the year, it was not an aberration. 

As such, the White Sox exploding for 12 home runs in their first six games in Spring is a different look, and it makes some sense why they're so fired up about it.  It's completely meaningless; tuning up Chase Anderson, a righty changeup specialist just getting his feel together in his first Spring start is as much cruelty as it is offensive triumph, and even the rare Avisail Garcia home run to left field is a source of empty inspiration that got trotted out a few times in 2015.

Like the Sox supposed pursuit of more Spring victories, it's all optics, feeling good for the sake of it. Given the three years of offensive malaise, "this one time they went berserk for a few days in Spring" ranks more highly in great recent White Sox offense memories of the last few years than it should.

2. COUNTERPOINT: Screw Spring Training.

‘There’s no World Series for the Cactus League,’ Latos said. ‘It’s all about making pitches and preparing for the season and taking momentum into the season. To me, I get into a game and I’m not 100 percent ready, it’s more harmful than it is good.’
— Dan Hayes

Latos is being kept out of action to build up strength and implement the mechanical changes Don Cooper is trying to instill in him. Everything is friendly between Latos and Cooper at the moment, and he seems like a very willing pupil, or at least someone trying to cash out on a year of improved results and health. Hopefully he can be a breath of fresh air to Jeff Samardzija, whose delivery makes it look like he's dedicated the rest of his career toward living in open rebellion against Cooper's principles.

To be clear, though, the focus on generating more positive feelings in Spring seems pretty restricted to position players.

3. Just when you though the White Sox roster was finalized, Bruce Levine reports the Reds are actively shopping Jay Bruce to them. Bruce hasn't had a good season since 2013 and would need a platoon, but is fair bit more interesting when he's just left-handed depth than the savior of right field. Both he and LaRoche can probably make some case for injuries causing their recent struggles, but Bruce is eight years younger and probably a superior option going forward.

How does that happen, though? Levine reporting that the Sox are waiting out until the Reds eat salary is the least surprising nugget of all-time, but they would need to excise LaRoche just to free up PAs, or trot out a roster with a defensively nightmarish bench of LaRoche, Garcia, Bruce, Navarro and Saladino. Throwing LaRoche, Bruce, Cabrera and Eaton at right-handers could be fun, but if both LaRoche and Bruce are toast, it's just a slow and bad defensive roster with no purpose. Pretty much any Sox aggression is to be cheered, and LaRoche's physical problems could make all bottleneck concerns moot, but the effort and expense to get someone as fringey as Bruce might not be equaled by the benefit they can eke out of it.

4. Friend of the blog and scouting stalwart Mauricio Rubio gave some good words on why concerns about Avisail Garcia will persist throughout the year.

My concerns with Garcia often focus on the number of fires he has to put out in his game to become reliable--poor defense, poor baserunning, inability to protect the inner half of the plate, groundball rate, etc., but Mau zeroes in on a specific stumbling block that's hard to fix.

Until Garcia can show some basic pitch recognition, actually drilling down and focusing on what he can hammer, his capability to be menacing mistake hitter will go unrealized. And since the Sox just went through an interminable wait for Dayan Viciedo to fail to ever make it, you would think they would have less patience for what's happening here.

5. Surely this cannot be real.

The adorbs factor of this story is mitigated by the one Spanish song Todd Frazier knows being from Man on Fire AKA Denzel Washington Shoots 3,000 Mexican People Until They Are Dead, which is good, because otherwise the adorbs factor might be a little over the top.

Based on where they are in their career arcs, and the chance to work with Abreu potentially rescuing Frazier's last good years being spent in the drudgery of the current state of the Reds, I think it's pretty clear that Frazier is Denzel Washington, and Abreu is Dakota Fanning in this scenario.