The last 24 hours have been quite intriguing in regards to the Chicago White Sox pitching staff. On Monday, Jose Quintana signed a five-year extension to stay on the South Side. Tuesday brought the unveiling of the starting rotation for the Sox for the upcoming season, courtesy of Sox manager Robin Ventura.
The move to split up Chris Sale and Jose Quintana in the rotation does make sense for the Good Guys. With Paulino moved into the No. 2 role in the rotation, the order is Chris Sale (LH), Felipe Paulino (RH), Jose Quintana (LH), Erik Johnson (RH) and John Danks (LH).
Having Paulino in the second spot balances the rotation and gives him a chance to thrive in a big role. Paulino this spring has been roughed up a bit (6.75 ERA in five appearances), but has thrown the ball well with some good velocity early on in the year. He’s even added a little tweak to his approach on the mound. The Sox are being patient with Paulino and remain confident in a guy who hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2012.
Along with balancing out the rotation, the Sox will give prospect Erik Johnson a starter’s role to begin the 2014 season.
Right-handed starter Erik Johnson should claim a role in the club’s rotation this year. At 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Johnson has a strong arm with good command. He made five Major League starts last season, pitching to a very solid 3.25 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. Johnson yielded five home runs and 11 walks in his 27 2/3 innings. -Bernie Pleskoff, MLB.com
Johnson is seen by most as a key piece to the Sox and their future in the years ahead. With the lefties atop the staff, Johnson can be that right-hander to bring that balance and change of pace to the Sox (that they hope Paulino can bring this season).
Along with the Sox rotation announcement, Ventura also mentioned that Adrian Nieto will be the backup catcher to Tyler Flowers to start the season.