Sox Waive Bye Bye to Jerry Owens

White Sox Royals Baseball The White Sox put a new spin on Abbott & Costello’s age old bit, by asking the question, “Who’s in Center?” The answer isn’t nearly as funny. Jerry Owens will be placed on waivers, “giving” the starting job to Dewayne Wise & Brian Anderson.

Brian Anderson took over the starting centerfield duties from Aaron Rowand in 2006, after Chicago won it all in 2005. While Anderson’s bat was nothing to write home about, his defense in CF certainly was fantastic. I still say, had Ozzie Guillen not played Rob Mackowik in CF in 2006, we would’ve made the playoffs with BA out there. We just missed the playoffs with a 90-72 mark. Still Brian, a righthanded hitter, batted only .225, with 23 doubles, one triple, & eight home runs in 365 at bats, while striking out 90 times. Last year Anderson showed more pop, with 13 doubles & 8 homers in only 181 at bats. His major league lifetime OBP is an anemic .277. He’s shown a decent bat in the minors, .293, 65 2Bs, 13 3Bs, 38 HRs, in 1,136 ABs, and he batted .366 as a Senior with the University of Arizona, but that was a long time ago.

Jerry Owens got his shot in 2007, which was a miserable year (72-90) on the Southside. Owens is a slap lefthanded hitter, who batted .267 with 32 stolen bases in only 93 big league games, but only nine doubles, two triples, & one homer (I think I was at that game). While his OBP was only .324, he could cover the ground in centerfield, but possessed a very poor throwing arm. For some reason, the Sox never seemed to like him, maybe it was because he returned from winter ball in the middle of a playoff fight, with Joey Cora as his manager. I guess, I was really pulling for Jerry, we really needed his speed in the leadoff slot. Jerry has a .291 minor league batting average, with 162 steals in 500 games, and a .359 OBP.

Then there’s Dewayne Wise. Wise is a 31 year old, lefthanded hitting, journeyman outfielder, that came through a few times last year in the clutch. Still he batted just .248, with six homers in 129 at bats, stealing nine bases, without being caught. Wise has 468 big league at bats spread out over six seasons, 19 2Bs, 8 3Bs, 15 HRs, 21/22 SBs, but only a .214 average, with a horrible OBP of only .254. His minor league OBP of .309 in 3,555 at bats, isn’t much better. And his defense is a step down from either Owens or Anderson. It worries me that he’ll get the lion’s share of playing time in the lefty/righty CF platoon.

Last year Owens was slated for the White Sox centerfield job, before he got injured, moving Nick Swisher from LF to CF, and Carlos Quentin from bench to LF. Yet I’m sure the Pale Hose would’ve realized the gem they had in Quentin, even if Jerry hadn’t gotten hurt. So I have all the confidence in the world this team will figure it out. Still it’s hard to imagine going into the season with Dewayne Wise as our starting centerfielder.


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