GLENDALE, Ariz. — Brett Lawrie has some pretty high expectations for the 2016 White Sox and that’s before they signed Jimmy Rollins.
The new second baseman said Monday he thinks the White Sox have the talent requisite for winning it all this season. An hour later, the White Sox added Rollins, a former National League MVP, on a minor-league contract with an invite to big league camp. Same as new teammate teammate Todd Frazier said Sunday, Lawrie, who was acquired from the Oakland A’s for two minor-leaguers in December, likes the look and feel of the White Sox roster.
“We’ve got so much talent, it’s World Series caliber, 100 percent,” Lawrie said. “It’s just about refining that and coming together as a group and having some fun out there and that’s one of the biggest things. Any time we play against the White Sox, you know who’s over there and the damage that they can do.”
With an entirely new infield, White Sox manager Robin Ventura intends to use the spring to get his charges accustomed to one another. Whether it’s Rollins or Tyler Saladino at shortstop, Lawrie at second and Frazier at third, White Sox players have to get a feel for one another, one of Ventura’s goals of camp. He said Monday he’ll give them ample opportunities to do so. While he stopped short of Lawrie’s World Series assessment, Ventura said he’s enthusiastic about the team in front of him.
“We like the guys that we have,” Ventura said. “Everybody wants to make predictions and everything else, but it depends on how we play. We want to get them focused on baseball down here, hungry to win these games first.”
Beyond Rollins — who’s expected to arrive in camp on Thursday — the White Sox potentially could be in line for another addition. General manager Rick Hahn said he’s not ready to designate his roster as finalized. Recently, Hahn has dropped more than a few hints he’s still searching for complementary pieces and one direction the White Sox could go would be the addition of an outfielder.
“We’re looking for any way to get better,” Hahn said, when asked if he liked to add another outfielder. “The final couple spots on the roster will come down to a combination of platoon advantage, speed, defense and positional flexibility.”
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Any more additions could add some height to Lawrie’s already impressive 41-inch vertical leap (and his 66-inch box jump). Asked a second time, the energetic second baseman — with his self-described “Canadian fire” and “hockey player mentality” — doubled down on his World Series-caliber comment.
“No doubt,” Lawrie said. “That’s the thing about baseball, anything can happen. It’s a long year, it's definitely a marathon not a sprint and we just have to come together as a group and have some fun and just enjoy each other’s company and go play baseball.”