White Sox acquire third baseman Conor Gillaspie from Giants
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org February 22, 2013 11:48AM
Updated: February 22, 2013 4:30PM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Looking to add some left-handed punch to the roster, the White Sox acquired left-handed hitting third baseman Conor Gillaspie from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for minor-league right-hander Jeff Soptic on Friday. General manager Rick Hahn views Gillaspie as a complementary player to third baseman Jeff Keppinger.
Gillaspie, a 25-year-old Giants first-round sandwich pick in 2008, was fast-tracked to the majors in only 96 days but hasn’t played initial expectations. He batted .281 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI in 108 games for AAA Fresno last season and played in six games with the Giants, going 3-20 with two RBI.
“He conceivably fits in nicely on the roster, which we’ll obviously decide more about toward the end of next month,’’ Hahn said. “But we see him having a solid hit tool, above-average awareness of the strike zone, solid defensively. He gives us a little versatility in his ability to play third base as well as first. He gives [manager] Robin [Ventura] some options potentially.’’
In 514 games over five minor league seasons, Gillaspie owns a .287 average and .358 on-base percentage with 37 homers and 259 RBI.
Soptic, 21, was 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 27 relief appearances with Class A Kannapolis in 2012. The Sox drafted him in the third round in 2011.
Gillaspie “has a good recognition of the strike zone, is able to get on base, work the count a bit,’’ Hahn said. “Although he’s not your prototypical power guy at third base he does spray the ball around pretty well and has a nice line-drive approach, which should play well in our park.’’
Hahn said Gillaspie grades out as “solid-average” defensively.
“He was I think mildly knocked a bit for that earlier in his career when he first got pushed up,’’ Hahn said. “But it has progressed and our scouts like what they have seen in the last year-plus from him.
“It was important for us to get him now and have him in camp with us for four-plus weeks and get to know him and how he fits.
To make room for Gillaspie on the 40-man roster, the Sox designated infielder Lars Anderson for assignment. Anderson was claimed off waivers from Arizona on February 1.
Brent Morel, who has looked healthy and is attempting to re-establish himself after dealing with a back injury last season, remains in the mix, Hahn said.
“We haven’t even played our first Cactus League game,’’ Hahn said.
Gillaspie will be in camp Saturday.
NOTES: The White Sox agreed to terms on 2013 contracts with 25 players, including Dayan Viciedo for $2.8 million, Chris Sale for $600,000 and Addison Reed for $520,000. The others will earn the league minimum $490,000 or slightly more based on service time and performance. Viciedo, who becomes a free agent in 2017, made $2.5 million last year.
Also signed on the 40-man roster: Pitchers Dylan Axelrod, Simon Castro, Deunte Heath, Nate Jones, Charlie Leesman, Jhan Marinez, Nestor Molina, Brian Omogrosso, Jose Quintana, Reed, Andre Rienzo, Santos Rodriguez, Hector Santiago, Leyson Septimo and Donnie Veal; catchers Tyler Flowers, Hector Gimenez and Josh Phegley; infielders Brent Morel and Angel Sanchez; outfielders Jordan Danks, Jared Mitchell and Blake Tekotte.
-- Here’s the lineup for the Cactus League opener on Saturday (2 p.m., 670-AM) against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch: Alejandro De Aza CF, Morel 3B, Alex Rios RF, Paul Konerko 1B, Adam Dunn DH, Viciedo LF, Ramirez SS, Flowers C, Gordon Beckham 2B.
-- Jeff Keppinger has a sore shoulder and will sit out. Ventura said he plans to use Keppinger, who got a late start conditioning his arm because of an offseason ankle injury, as the DH in the next two games.
-- De Aza will play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. “It’s a great feeling to go there and be a part of it,’’ he said. “That’s a special thing.’’
-- Outfielder Jordan Danks has a right elbow flexor strain that will sideline him for a few days.