Among the number of topics covered by manager Ozzie Guillen on Thursday in a wide-ranging interview, one seems to already have raised the eyebrows and perhaps a certain finger from White Sox fans.
Guillen was asked if Brent Morel already has the third-base job locked up or will that be an open spot when spring training starts next month.
“If I say that Morel is going to be our third baseman, that’s a slap in [Mark] Teahen’s face,” Guillen said. “I think Morel is playing very well for us. Right now, I think it’s a little bit too early to predict that.”
Judging by comments on Twitter, and the like, it’s as if Guillen said that Teahen will get the job and everybody is just going to have to deal with it.
Look, there are a couple of things in play here. The first is that Morel has only had a month of major-league experience and while he showed flashes of brilliance, especially on defense, he is in no way done proving himself.
Guillen and the rest of the coaching staff want Morel to be on his toes and focused as much as possible this spring. So while yeah, it certainly appears to be his job to lose, the White Sox still want the kid to play as if he still needs to earn his spot. It’s how nearly every major leaguer had to do it and Morel should be no exception.
The second is that an open competition keeps Teahen motivated too. He might have been a bust last season with struggles on both offense and defense, not to mention an injury, but he still has over $10 million owed to him for the next two seasons so trading him away isn’t likely.
For the White Sox to get even the slightest bit of delivery on what is widely considered a bad investment so far, Teahen is going to have to get some chances. If pushing Teahen this spring, not to mention Morel, is Guillen’s intention here, it isn’t his worst idea.
The fact is that if Morel wins the job, while Teahen manages to make the final decision a hard one for White Sox coaches, isn’t the team better off for it?