GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Brett Lawrie's departure from a home game against the Tigers last July 21 now stands as his final appearance as part of the White Sox, with the team requesting waivers Friday for the purpose of granting the infielder's unconditional release.But this move had nothing to do with
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Brett Lawrie's departure from a home game against the Tigers last July 21 now stands as his final appearance as part of the White Sox, with the team requesting waivers Friday for the purpose of granting the infielder's unconditional release.
But this move had nothing to do with Lawrie's left leg injury -- one he ultimately figured was caused by orthotics he was wearing but which still slowed him a bit this Spring Training -- as much as giving younger players a chance to play as part of the ongoing rebuild.
"As we talked about throughout this offseason, part of this process of building something sustainable for the future involves making some difficult decisions," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "Today was a difficult decision. Brett is a talented player who no doubt in any of our minds will help a club this season.
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"At the same time, we are committed to giving an opportunity to several of our young players, players who are going to be here for an extended period of time and we want to find out about it. They would benefit from the opportunity to play at the big league level this year."
Tyler Saladino, Leury Garcia, Yolmer Sanchez and Matt Davidson fall in this category described by Hahn. All four feature versatility, with Davidson able to play third and first, and Saladino, Sanchez and Garcia having the ability to work across the infield. Garcia also plays center field, while Saladino finished at .282 with eight homers and 33 RBIs last season after taking over for the injured Lawrie.
Yoan Moncada, the No. 2 prospect in baseball per MLBPipeline.com, stands as the White Sox future at second base.
"Obviously Moncada is going to be a factor at some point here in the future," Hahn said. "As I've said from the time we acquired him, very likely not to start the season. But certainly you can envision over the course of the 2017 season wanting to have second base open for Moncada."
Lawrie, 27, batted .248 with 22 doubles, 12 home runs and 36 RBIs in 94 games last season, his first with the White Sox after being acquired from Oakland on Dec. 9, 2015. He was set to earn $3.5 million after the White Sox tendered a contract to the arbitration-eligible player. But the White Sox are only responsible for one-sixth of that sum because of the time of this move.
There are 59 players in camp for the White Sox, and the 40-man roster sits at 38, opening up potential spots for non-roster Opening Day candidates such as catcher Geovany Soto and outfielder Peter Bourjos.
"This was a baseball decision about the long-term interest of the club," Hahn said. "Some of these players have succeeded in limited exposure at the big league level. This is about getting them more opportunity in Chicago to show what they can do and how they fit into our long-term plans."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.