Wise is the man in Center

Those of you who read UmpBump regularly are aware of my gripe with the Center Field situation in the South Side of Chicago. For the past four years, General Manager Kenny Williams has repeatedly tried to find a talented middle outfielder with little to show for it.

This season, the Sox have opted to give the job to Dewayne Wise, a career minor leaguer, who beat out perennial prospects Jerry Owens and Brian Anderson, as well as the young Chris Getz. How did Wise win the job? By flashing intangibles like energy level and desire.

Joe Cowley of the Sun-Times reports:

According to general manager Ken Williams, finally deciding on Wise had to do with desire. Considering the way the 31-year-old Wise has fought to stay in the game, it was a no-brainer at the end of the day.

“For a few years, we told Jerry what we expected in terms of the energy level and the attitude for the leadoff position,” Williams said. “When you’re at the top of the lineup in the order, you got to have some fight. I’m not saying Jerry doesn’t have it, but it’s not up to where we want it to be, obviously.

What’s most disappointing is the end of Owens’ career as a South Sider. I will include myself amongst those that thought he’d be able to turn the corner and become the leadoff/center fielder Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen have longed for. Alas, his being waived is a sad culmination to a tenure that never really purported greatness, but sure set expectations high for the Sox.

But “energy level”?! I’m as guilty as anyone for believing in the intangibles. Yes, desire is awesome! And energy level rocks! But you know what might be great? A center fielder with, oh, I don’t know, an ability to get on base! In over 900 minor league games Wise has an OBP of .310. That’s freakin’ terrible!

6 Responses to “It’s 2009 and the White Sox still lack a Center Fielder”

  1. Also, don’t worry about Wise not getting a single walk in spring training because he said yesterday he’s going to be more selective when the season starts. There is more good news, Contreras and Colon will start the season as the 4th and 5th starters. Alejandro, do you stand by your pick for the Sox to win the AL Central? It should be a bad division but the Sox look like a huge long shot.

  2. Nick Kapur says:

    Extremely well said, Alejandro. It’s fascinating how Kenny Williams is getting all kinds of kudos these days from sportswriters, and even among the stats guys, for beating out stats based predictions and thus seeming to have found a way to win the game through old-fashioned “talent evaluation.”

    But count me as still being a hardened skeptic. I still think Williams totally lucked into a World Series in 2005 by having all of his pitchers toss career years. Hey, it can happen. But that doesn’t mean it’s not just dumb luck, especially when everything we know about baseball says that is exactly what it is.

  3. What you need is Juan Pierre.

  4. Now why did I know melissa would come out of the shadows for this one?

    Yes I freakin’ admit it, it’ll be a tough year!

  5. It’s not so bad. If the Sox can get some “D” out of them, it will help. Owens biggest problem besides his hitting was that he threw like a girl. Both Wise and BA can bring it, which will make the Twinkies think twice about taking extra bases.

  6. ROidsMAker says:

    wouldn’t you kill for rick ankeil right about now??

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