The Chicago White Sox recently acquired third baseman Conor Gillaspie in a trade with the San Francisco Giants in which they gave up pitcher Jeff Soptic. Gillaspie is excited about the opportunity with his new team and is confident he can make a difference for the White Sox this season.
The 25-year-old was selected 37th overall in the 2008 MLB Draft by San Francisco and has played in only 29 games in three years in which he batted .205 with one home run, four RBI and one double in 44 career plate appearances for the Giants. He has a career .287 batting average with 37 homers and 259 RBI in five years in the minors in which he has played at every level.
Gillaspie batted .150 in 20 at-bats last season despite hitting .263 in 19 plate appearances the year before. However, the White Sox are not overly worried about that, as they are simply excited to have a left-handed batter to come off the bench and play third base in relief for Jeff Keppinger and Brent Morel. Gillaspie is excited as well because he will finally get a legitimate chance to earn some playing time and make a name for himself with a Major League team.
“You have to understand this is a business, just like every job in the world,” Gillaspie said. “Pablo [Sandoval] is a pretty good player, and I probably wasn’t going to be able to beat him out. It’s a good opportunity for me. I’m excited.
“I don’t have a superstar tool. I’m not going to be somebody who will hit 50 home runs in BP. It’s not who I am. I’ll definitely work for you. I’ll definitely play hard and practice hard. I try to play the game the right way, and whatever happens at that point, just have to roll with it.”
Gillaspie brings a decent glove with him and should be an asset on defense at third base once he gets some consistent playing time. Even though he has a career .889 fielding percentage at third, it is hard to expect a lot from someone who has only seen 18 total chances.
There is no guarantee that he will be a member of Chicago’s Opening Day roster, but as long as he continues to work hard and gives everything he has got this spring, there is a good chance the White Sox will give him a reserve role.
“He conceivably fits in nicely on the roster, which we’ll obviously decide more about toward the end of next month,” general manager Rick 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.”