Waiting for the Wise move in Chi
- Ozzie Guillen does not manage by public opinion polls, and for that Dewayne Wise should be thankful.
|Ron Vesely/Getty Images|
|For now, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is sticking with outfielder Dewayne Wise.|
Wise might want to be hiding on the bench, although that is not his nature. As it is, he was the leadoff hitter again in Wednesday night's 2-0 loss to Kansas City, and the problem is that some fans think he is batting there by default.
Guillen and hitting coach Greg Walker are not among them.
"I'm not going to change my mind," Guillen said. "I will change my mind when it is necessary to change my mind. I'm pretty optimistic this kid can do the job.
"He played well in spring training and he will play well at the big-league level. He gives me another couple of days or a week [of failure] and then I would change my mind. But it's too early to think about it."
But it is getting late quickly. After taking an 0-for-4 and fouling off two sacrifice bunt attempts on Opening Day, Wise grounded out Wednesday, then was booed as he popped out on a bunt attempt and booed even louder when he struck out in the sixth. In the eighth inning, he grounded out.
"We put that job up [for the taking] in spring training and, you know what, he won it," Walker said. "People look at the track record and say maybe we're reaching. But we're not reaching, this kid has talent."
The Sox had the same problem at the beginning of last season, which actually resulted in an American League Central championship. Five hitters tried leadoff, but most of the early time went to Nick Swisher. Finally, Orlando Cabrera settled in there, despite being better suited for the two hole.
"There's just not that many [prototypical leadoff hitters] out there," Walker said. "We've done it here a lot of different ways and we'll continue to adjust. I just think when you take a six- or seven-week period in spring training and you win the job, you don't overreact [too early]."
Dewayne Wise did have a great spring. In 66 at-bats, he batted .303 with nine extra-base hits. Of course, Josh Fields batted .403 with 11 extra-base hits, Chris Getz batted .342 with six extra-base hits, and Alexei Ramirez batted .314 with eight extra-base hits, and -- perhaps most germane to this discussion -- Wilson Betemit batted .295 with eight extra-base hits (including six home runs!).
Do you hand Betemit an every-day job because he gets hot in March?
You do not.
Nor do you hand an every-day job to a 31-year-old "kid" like Wise because he gets hot in March, since he's got a long, long body of professional work strongly suggesting that he's not good enough to play every day. Or for that matter, more than once every week.
I was watching the White Sox game yesterday, and I heard the boos, and I felt sorry for Wise. I'm sure that he's trying his hardest. It's not his fault that his employers have set him up for abject failure.