Presenting your 2009 Chicago White Sox. The 25-man roster was set today. Barring injury, those are the guys who will be wearing Silver and Black next Monday when the Sox open at U.S. Cellular Field against the Kansas City Royals.
If there's a surprise on that roster, it would have to be relief pitcher Mike MacDougal (seen at left bobbling a ball during pitchers fielding practice.). MacDougal has been absolutely wretched for the Sox the last couple years. He compiled an ERA of almost 7.00 in 2007, and last year, he threw the ball so poorly at Class AAA Charlotte that he was outrighted off the 40-man roster despite his nearly $3-million-a-year salary.
But MacDougal struck out 19 men in 12 innings this spring, and the Sox are going to give him one more shot on the big club -- much to the horror of Sox fans.
It's no secret that I don't like MacDougal. I've booed him off the mound many, many times. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a pitcher that refuses to throw strikes. I've long since grown tired of his walks and wild pitches and mental meltdowns on the mound.
Now, that I've established that I hate MacDougal's guts, I'm going to play devil's advocate here: MacDougal just might help the Sox this year.
Consider this: MacDougal is in the final year of his contract. He's been awful for two years. This is his LAST SHOT. If he crumbles again and the Sox cut him, his career is over. MacDougal is pitching for his baseball life this year. Maybe he'll respond.
Yes, I'm grasping at straws here, but frankly, there's no other justification for keeping MacDougal on the 25-man roster.