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updated: 8/17/2013 11:34 PM

De Aza an interesting decision for White Sox

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  • Chicago White Sox's Alejandro De Aza drives in a run against the Seattle Mariners in the 16th inning of a baseball game on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

      Chicago White Sox's Alejandro De Aza drives in a run against the Seattle Mariners in the 16th inning of a baseball game on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
    Associated Press

  • Alejandro De Aza returns to the dugout after hitting a 2-run homer in the ninth inning of Saturday night's victory over the Twins.

      Alejandro De Aza returns to the dugout after hitting a 2-run homer in the ninth inning of Saturday night's victory over the Twins.
    Associated Press

 
 

As you've probably heard over and over, White Sox fans, you're going to quickly forget the disaster that has been the 2013 season because the pitching is going to pave the way back to success in '14.

You can't completely dismiss the double-barreled optimism from general manager Rick Hahn and executive VP Kenny Williams, especially with arms such as Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, a hopefully healthy John Danks, Nate Jones and Addison Reed coming back and establishing a promising foundation.

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But unless the Sox are planning on winning a lot more 2-1 and 3-2 games than they lose, major changes have to be made to an offense that has been, in a word, offensive.

The White Sox are last in the American League in runs scored. Last in the league in walks. Second to last in doubles, on-base percentage and OPS. Third to last in home runs.

Hahn is the new general manager, and it didn't take him long to realize the White Sox were going nowhere fast this season. Give him credit for clearing some payroll room by trading Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton.

Hahn has talked about using a portion of the savings for next year's amateur draft and international signings, but more immediate offensive help is in order.

As it stands now, new right fielder Avisail Garcia is the only lock to be in next season's opening-day lineup.

Second baseman Gordon Beckham is a good bet to return, but after that the Sox have to be preparing for life without Paul Konerko.

Designated hitter/first baseman Adam Dunn is likely on the roster for another year, along with shortstop Alexei Ramirez and left fielder Dayan Viciedo, but the White Sox figure to take a hard look at catcher Josh Phegley and third baseman Conor Gillaspie and consider potential upgrades.

That leaves center fielder Alejandro De Aza.

"It's been a tough season, a frustrating season," De Aza said on the Sox' last homestand. "We have a good team, but the results have not been good. That's just the way of baseball."

True, and that's why it wouldn't be completely shocking if the White Sox rebound and get themselves back into playoff contention next season.

Will De Aza still be with the Sox in 2014? That's a key question to be answered this off-season.

Through Friday's play, De Aza's offensive numbers have been not too good, not too bad: .274 batting average, .329 on-base percentage, along with 13 home runs and 50 RBI (both career highs).

On the flip side, the 29-year-old outfielder already has established a career high with 115 strikeouts and has drawn just 39 walks in 471 at-bats. That's not what the White Sox are looking for out of the leadoff spot.

"It's been a frustrating season for the team, and it's been a frustrating season for me," De Aza said. "I always try to play the game hard and help my team win. That's what I continue to do, but it hasn't always worked out in a good way."

Earlier in the season, De Aza was right in the middle of the Sox' defensive meltdown, and he also has been bad on the basepaths. In addition to being caught stealing six times in 21 attempts, De Aza has been picked off base another half-dozen times.

"The season, maybe it's because I've been trying too hard," he said.

With so many holes to fill moving forward, the Sox could give De Aza a pass and hope he bounces back strong in 2014.

He was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time last winter, and he agreed to a one-year, $2.075 million contract. He projects out at $3 million for next season, and that fits in the team's reduced payroll.

Shortstop Marcus Semien is the top positional prospect in the Sox' system. He has been batting leadoff at Class AAA Charlotte since being promoted from AA Birmingham on Aug. 1.

There's a chance he makes the jump to the White Sox' starting lineup next year and replaces De Aza at the top of the order, but Semien made 5 errors in his first 15 games with Charlotte, so his defense is a big concern. The 22-year-old infielder also plays second and third base.

With so many changes to consider this winter, the Sox just might opt for status quo with De Aza.

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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