The Sox brought DeWayne Wise aboard just over a week ago, and he’s made an immediate impact to a team that really needed a bat off the bench. Since having his contract purchased from AAA Charlotte, Wise has played in seven games, driving in seven runs, homering twice and is hitting at a .269 clip.
To put his .269-2-7 line in perspective: take a look at the lines of everyone else the Sox have used in a bench role this season.
Orlando Hudson: .182-1-11
Tyler Flowers: .222-4-7
Kosuke Fukudome: .171-0-4
Eduardo Escobar: .207-0-3
Jordan Danks: .265-1-3
Brent Lillibridge: .175-0-2
Ray Olmedo: .214-0-0
Basically, Wise has surpassed pretty much everyone’s season production on the bench…in one week. I’m not sure whether that’s impressive or depressing.
With that said, the White Sox and Sox fans need to realize one thing: Wise is a fourth outfielder, and he’s nothing more than that.
DeWayne Wise has always been fantastic in a bench role no matter where he has played, doing his job with the White Sox as the fourth outfielder in 2008 and doing his job with the Yankees this year before being pushed out to make room for Ichiro. However, his history with the White Sox shows that whenever he’s counted on to start for an extended period of time, he hasn’t done the job.
In 2008, his average was at .288 through September 7th. However, a Carlos Quentin injury and lack of productivity from Nick Swisher and Brian Anderson forced Wise into a starting role. While Wise had a good 2008 postseason, leading the Sox with five RBI in the ALDS, he hit .206 in September. Also, when the Sox decided to make him their everyday Center Fielder in 2009, he did bad in a starting role before and after his shoulder injury, hitting only .225 for the season (he pretty much switched off all season long between starting and being in a bench role).
I love DeWayne Wise just as much as any other Sox fan out there, and probably more considering the fact that I’m the only person I know who actually owns a DeWayne Wise shirt. However, I also realize what he is. He’s a 34 year old outfielder, and if he had the ability to produce consistently as a starter, he would have done it by now.
So for now, let’s hope that our outfield can stay healthy and that Alejandro De Aza’s back doesn’t flare up again. Like I said, DeWayne Wise is fantastic in a bench role. He can hit pretty well for a bench guy, has speed, plays great defense and is a left-handed bat that could even serve as a pinch-hitter in key situations. Wise has done well filling in for De Aza and Konerko this past week, but history tells you he’s not going to keep it up as a starter if the Sox need to count on him there for whatever reason.