Jeff Marquez' locker is cleared out at the White Sox spring training complex, making it all but official that Lastings Milledge and Brent Lillibridge will make the opening day roster.
It's not surprising that Milledge made the opening day 25-man roster, but it is surprising Lillibridge will join him. Milledge hit .315/.433/.556 with 11 walks, 12 strikeouts and three stolen bases—fully deserving of a roster spot despite the inherent small sample size of spring. But Lillibridge had a poor spring, posting a .239/.294/.413 with four walks and 10 strikeouts. And Marquez had a good showing in March, striking out 16 while walking two over 17.1 innings. Given all that information, it's quite surprising Lillibridge made the roster over Marquez, especially in the face of Philip Humber's impending status as the No. 5 starter.
What this means for the White Sox is...well, they'll have a deep bench. Between Milledge, Lillibridge, Mark Teahen, Omar Vizquel and Ramon Castro, the Sox won't have a shortage of players for spot starts and late-inning substitutions. Unfortunately, it also means the Sox bullpen could very well end up stretched. That's a worrisome scenario, as wearing out a bullpen early could have lasting effects for the rest of the season. But if the Sox didn't keep Lillibridge, he'd have to be placed on waivers—and it's obvious the organization didn't want to potentially lose his services. On the other hand, Marquez will be placed on waivers, so essentially the Sox valued Lillibridge over Marquez in context-neutral situation. The context of the situation seems to tell us Marquez would've been the better pick, but really, we're talking about the last player on the 25-man roster. That player won't have a serious impact anyway, so while Marquez would've seemed to make more sense, that the Sox went with Lillibridge hardly is a big deal.