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The White Sox started 2009 with DeWayne Wise playing centerfield. That didn’t work, so the Sox tried Jerry Owens. And when Owens didn’t pan out, Chicago went to Plan C: Scott Podsednik.

For years, the team’s centerfield carousel has been a source of frustration. The Sox haven’t enjoyed a full season of CF goodness since 2004, when Aaron Rowand roamed the middle outfield grass. Since then, in addition to Owens, Podsednik and Wise, they’ve tried Nook Logan, Nick Swisher and Brian Anderson.

The White Sox aren’t the only organization who have struggled to fill a specific position. Far from it.

Let’s take a look at some other organizations and their positions of futility:

Braves (LF): This winter, the Braves signed Garret Anderson to play left field. So far, Anderson has hit .191 with 6 runs and 4 RBI in 16 games. Before Anderson came along the Braves went with a Matt Diaz/other guy platoon in left, and before that Kelly Johnson got a shot, and before that…well whaddya know! Dewayne Wise played a little left for Atlanta in 2004. You have to go back to 2003, when Chipper “Don’t call me Hoss” Jones played there, to find a decent full-time LF in Atlanta.

Red Sox (SS): For the better part of nine seasons the Red Sox had an elite shortstop. His name was Nomar. In 2004 the Sox traded Nomar to the Cubs, and then Boston won its first World Series in nearly 90 years. But they haven’t had a good shortstop since. In fact, they’ve had the opposite of a good shortstop — Julio Lugo.

Royals (1B): It seems they’ve had plenty of opportunities to fill the position with somebody capable, but have instead insisted on the likes of Ross Gload and Mike Jacobs. Kansas City hasn’t had a really good 1B since the 2002 version of Mike Sweeney.

Mariners (DH): For a while, the M’s had the best DH — Mr. Edgar Martinez. Since Edgar’s departure, the Mariners have filled the position with a cast of lesser beings, bottoming out with Jose Vidro in 2007-2008.

Tigers (LF): The Tigers suffered through several seasons of Craig Monroe and his consistently sub-.300 OBP. They really haven’t had even a decent LF since Bobby Higginson in 2001.

Giants (1B): Since JT Snow left after 2005, it’s been a total black hole with a parade of incompetents like Lance Niekro, Rich Aurelia, Shea Hillenbrand, post-steroids Ryan Klesko (a mere 6 homers in ’07), John Bowker, and now Travis Ishikawa.

Can you think of any positions of futility that we missed? Let us know in the comments section.

12 Responses to “Positions of futility”

  1. How ’bout LF for the Padres? 2004 was Ryan Klesko’s last semi-respectable season. His ’05 was disastrous and the spot has since been manned unsuccessfully by the likes of Ben Johnson, cheeseburger magnet Paul McAnulty, a past-(below average) prime Dave Roberts, Damian Jackson, Adam Hyzdu, a nearly-retired Eric Young, the washed-up Jose “Cheo” Cruz, Jr., Hiram “Girl Mouth” Bocachica, and terminally bad Terrmel Sledge. 2007 finally brought us a solid performer in Milton Bradley; however he only saw action in 42 games for the Pads; other place fillers include Jason Lane, Rob Mackowiak and Brady Clark who were brought in just in time to cost SD a third consecutive playoff appearance along with perpetual platooners Scott “Shrek” Hairston and Jody Gerut. Top prospect and converted third baseman Chase “Savior” Headley is currently underwhelming in the full time role; others who have sucked when he needed a day off from sucking are fringe journeymen Chip Ambres and Justin Huber along with more-suspect-than-prospect Drew Macias. Hope is in the wings, however; slugging 1B prospect Kyle Blanks is learning LF in AAA Portland.

  2. Nick Kapur says:

    What amazes me in reading this post is that, with the exceptions of the two Soxes, all of these are positions which are pretty easy to fill (LF, DH, or 1B) – essentially all you have to do is find someone who can hit. It’s really an indictment of management when you can’t fill one of those spots for that many years in a row.

  3. It took the Astros 47 years before they had a decent catcher. Finally they get Pudge Rodriguez… and already in just 100 at-bats, he has been more productive than the entire nightmare known as the “Brad Ausmus Black-Hole Era.” Not to mention the fact that he might be the worst player to don a uniform in 20 years… at least perhaps the least productive.

    The lesson to be learned is this: Some times it takes 47 years before your favorite team can find a solution to their issues. Oftentimes, this comes from neglect in the front office… evident by the ineptitude of Tal Smith.

    To all of the fans who have suffered my “Brad Ausmus” pain, please keep the faith. Eventually it gets better. I just hope you don’t have to suffer as much as I have.

  4. Paul Moro says:

    Bobby, Mitch Meluskey was very good. For one year. The issue for the Astros since hasn’t been an inability to find someone. It was an inability to understand that Brad Ausmus was a terrible hitter.

  5. Nick Kapur says:

    Well, I think they realized he was a terrible hitter. I think maybe it was rather an inability to understand that whatever defense Ausmus brought to the table didn’t actually make up for his atrocious offense.

  6. I’d have to say right field for the Cubs. Ever since Sammy Sosa has left after the 2004 season. We’ve had a number of guys come through and not last more than a couple seasons. Burnitz, Floyd, Fukudome, now Bradley. Maybe Bradley will be one who closes the revolving door in right.

  7. Lyndsay says:

    “In 2004 the Sox traded Nomar to the Cubs, and then Boston won its first World Series in nearly 90 years. But they haven’t had a good shortstop since.”

    correction: they haven’t KEPT a good shortstop since. they let Renteria and Cabrera go, who were perfectly good options and certainly better than Lugo. I think Lugo is their baseball karma for not keeping the good-but-not-electrifying guys they briefly had in that position.

    Personally, I would rather have good defense at short and average at the plate than a guy who should have E6 permanently tattooed on his forehead. but hey, I aint no Epstein.

    speaking of short-lived shortstops, here’s a question that I want to throw out there, seeking your opinion on: why hasn’t Orlando Cabrera stayed with a team for longer than a year? he’s a pretty decent option, so why do you guys think he hasn’t managed to “stick” anywhere?

  8. Nick Kapur says:

    Well, at least in the case of his last team, the White Sox, I believe Orlando was run out of town for generalized dickishness toward his manager and teammates.

    Although in fairness Ozzie Guillen might be enough to set anyone off, so hard to know quite who is to blame.

  9. Lyndsay, Renteria was a disaster in his one season in Boston. He made 30 errors. And even if you don’t place much value in the error statistic, you’ve got to admit that that’s bad. If you’re looking for a more sophisticated metric, his UZR was -4.2. Also pretty terrible.

  10. Do your homework next time Lyndsay. Thanks for setting it straight (and lowering my blood pressure) on Rent-a-wreck. What a disaster he was.

  11. Thanks to Nick I meant.

  12. No! Thanks to me! I set the record straight on Renteria. It was me!

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