<
>

2015 lineup? Not so fast, Ventura says

SAN DIEGO -- Hold on with those Chicago White Sox starting-lineup projections, even as it looks like the club is running out of money to spend on the free-agent market.

Manager Robin Ventura refused to play around with a lineup Wednesday, saying only that Chris Sale would be his Opening Day starter, with Jeff Samardzija pitching in the second game, followed by Jose Quintana.

At least the Kansas City Royals know what they are up against for the opening three-game series during the first week of April.

Reading between the lines with Ventura, the sense is that the White Sox will zero in on trade targets. Making a change in left field could be high on the team’s priority list.

“I don’t know necessarily if you are done doing anything; it’s premature to do that,” Ventura said. “I can tell you that I know, I’m very hopeful, I will start Chris on Opening Day and Jeff on Day 2 and Jose, Day 3. Other than that, we’ll see what happens. It’s premature, lineup-wise, [to say] what we are doing.”

The White Sox elected to tender a contract to the arbitration-eligible Dayan Viciedo, and as of now he would be the leading candidate to start in left field. The 25-year-old still has youth on his side, and general manager Rick Hahn has remarked how hard it is to find right-handed power these days.

But Viciedo is a defensive liability in the outfield -- and defense is the only one of the White Sox’s offseason needs they have not yet addressed.

If the season started today, the White Sox lineup would look something like: Adam Eaton CF, Alexei Ramirez SS, Jose Abreu 1B, Adam LaRoche DH, Avisail Garcia RF, Conor Gillaspie 3B, Viciedo LF, Tyler Flowers C and Micah Johnson/Carlos Sanchez 2B.

Just don’t write that down in ink.

“We have a lot of time left,” Hahn said about the window to make moves this offseason. “I meant it when I said there was no urgency to get anything done [at the winter meetings], and obviously we did get two major things done. We aren’t on any time frame, other than getting the best team on the field by Opening Day. If nothing happens until January, that’s fine. We know the areas we want to address.”