What should the White Sox do at third and catcher?
With the Chicago White Sox needing upgrades at both third base and catcher, I think it would be wise to look outside the organization if they are going to do so. The big problem with doing that is the fact that those positions have the shallowest pool of talent in the major leagues. There are not going to be many options on the free agent market, and trading for a good player at either position will cost a lot.
Per MLBTradeRumors, the White Sox could be a potential landing spot for Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (free agent). While Wieters is among the most talented catchers in the game, keep in mind the fact that Scott Boras is his agent. Another even bigger concern is the fact that he has not been on the field much over the last couple of years.
Regardless of whether or not current GM Rick Hahn’s relationship with Scott Boras is better than Kenny Williams, Wieters’ injury concerns are the bigger issue here.
If the White Sox sign Wieters to a long-term deal and he doesn’t play for much of it, then what’s the point? While I would endorse a talent such as Wieters on the White Sox, I believe the contract plus injury risk is far too great to gamble on him.
Trading for a catcher is another option, however this won’t be easy either. If the White Sox think a catcher is good enough to play in the majors and said player is young, he is going to cost a lot of prospects. Or what they could do is take on a bad contract, but that has even more drawback than trading prospects who have yet to prove anything at the MLB level.
Finding upgrades at 3B and C won’t be an easy task for Rick Hahn.
Third base is a bit interesting. There are very few third baseman in the game that I would even consider giving up anything of value for. If a third baseman is star quality and young, he will cost an arm and a leg via trade. Now a veteran third baseman with some years left on his deal could be a bit more interesting.
However, if he is good he will still demand a big return just due to the scarcity of players at the position. It might be good to go a little bit in between star quality and veteran, such as Trevor Plouffe (Minnesota Twins), Nick Castellanos (Detroit Tigers), or Brett Lawrie (Oakland Athletics). Castellanos still has pretty big upside, and Lawrie has a lot of ability, but like Wieters, has injury concerns. Plouffe could be expendable depending on the Twins plans for Miguel Sano.
Overall, the way the White Sox address their extreme weaknesses at catcher and 3B will be interesting to watch this offseason. While they can survive with Saladino and Sanchez up the middle, they need help at 3B for sure not to mention catcher.
There are a lot of decisions for the White Sox brass, as always. The key will be to find the players that work both short and long-term, without mortgaging your future. It won’t be an easy task for Rick Hahn, but this is a key offseason for the White Sox. Hopefully Hahn can deliver this winter, as it is much needed for the South Siders.