With Alexei Ramirez starting to get a little bit long in the tooth, the question needs to be asked: is it time for the Chicago White Sox to find a different shortstop? With shortstop Tim Anderson as the team’s top hitting prospect (per FutureSox.com), it is likely that he will be starting at shortstop someday. The question is when however. In my opinion it would help for Anderson to stay in the minors some just due to the fact that he is so raw, and a player will be exposed at the MLB level with any flaws. Therefore it may be best if they pick between those two, to go with Saladino but not much past 2016.
Here is why I have liked Saladino. He brings a good arm, solid defense, not to mention he could at least hit his weight next year. Shortstop is not a position where the Chicago White Sox need a lot of power production next year, and I think if they move on from Ramirez the money spent on him could be spent elsewhere. They also need a third baseman who has power, just due to the fact that the team has struggled so mightily to hit home runs this season.
Saladino may be nothing more than a #8 hitter max, who could fill in at the #2 hole from time to time. But he is still a solid shortstop with a high baseball IQ, and could be a solid keystone combination (with Carlos Sanchez) for the 2016 Chicago White Sox. While they would need a lot more around those two if they want to win in 2016, Carlos Sanchez and Tyler Saladino are more traditional middle infielders. Traditional middle infielders are something that they have been missing in the past.
When Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham swing for the fence, it makes it difficult to win close ballgames. However, Sanchez and Saladino could end up being contact type hitters, something Ramirez and Beckham never really were. While Ramirez and Beckham were both excellent defenders, they struggled when it came to strike zone discipline (Ramirez especially) not to mention they would have horrible at bats at the biggest moments of the game.
I realize Sanchez and Saladino struggled at the plate in 2015, but they still have some upside when it comes to being solid contact hitters. Those two might not be plus bats, but they could at least be average at the plate.
All I am saying is this; The Chicago White Sox need to add power hitters this offseason. The main positions you find power are at the corners, both in the infield and the outfield. Catcher needs to be upgraded as well, and Adam LaRoche may be here for one more year (DH) due to his contract. So I would look at third base and catcher if I were the Chicago White Sox, not to mention I might even see what is available in a trade for Avi Garcia. If they can get a solid return for him, I would go for it. With Jeff Samardzija leaving (more than likely via free agency), they will have some holes to fill. Considering the free agent and trade market is going to have some options in right field, a Garcia trade could happen. All of this pushes shortstop lower on the upgrade list, leaving Saladino with a better shot a being a stop-gap there. Regardless, whomever is brought in for 2016 to upgrade the offense needs to hit the ball out of U.S. Cellular Field. If not, expect a long summer in 2016.