Earlier this afternoon the Chicago White Sox made their third round of spring cuts.
Third baseman Brent Morel and reliever Deunte Heath were optioned to the White Sox Triple-A affiliate, the Charlotte Knights. Pitchers Daniel Moskos and Zach Stewart, along with infielder Carlos Sanchez, were reassigned to the Sox minor-league camp.
Of the five moves made by the South Siders today, sending Morel to Triple-A is the most news worthy. A year ago today, Morel was firmly implanted as the White Sox Opening Day starter at third base. However, after a lackluster start to the 2012 season, and then a nagging back injury, the 25-year-old infielder spent the remainder of the year rehabbing in Charlotte.
Heading into camp this year, Morel was the front-runner to backup newly acquired Jeff Keppinger at third base. With his back finally healthy, Morel looked promising in the Sox first few spring workouts.
Then, on Feb. 22, the White Sox traded for third baseman Conor Gillaspie. At the time, it didn’t seem like a crushing blow to Morel’s hopes of making the Opening Day roster. However, from the moment Gillaspie put on a White Sox uniform, he has impressed. The former San Francisco Giant has had arguably the best spring of any Sox hitter. With a team leading 10 RBI, along with a triple-slash line of .303/.385/.667, Gillaspie has given manager Robin Ventura no other option but to place him ahead of Morel on the White Sox depth chart.
For Morel, being sent down to Triple-A is obviously not the ideal situation. The young infielder has shown flashes of Joe Crede type potential, but his overall time in the black and white hasn’t been very successful. That being said, I still have hope for Morel. If he can remain healthy and produce while in Triple-A, I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a contribution to the White Sox 2013 run at an American League Central title.