White Sox are in desperate need of center fielder after reports of injured outfielder Austin Jackson not progressing well from his injury. White Sox could target Colorado Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon.
With the White Sox still in contention for the postseason, the team didn’t want to get bad news regarding its injured center fielder Austin Jackson. However, according to Ken Rosenthal, Jackson appears to not be progressing very well from his meniscus tear that he suffered in early June, and the White Sox could be searching for a center fielder.
The White Sox have relied heavily on J.B. Shuck in center field in Jackson’s absence. Shuck, more of a fourth outfielder and not an everyday starter, has been okay in center field, but the White Sox could certainly use a more polished outfielder for the second half. The White Sox don’t have any immediate replacements in its farm system, and they will most likely have to explore the trade market in order to fill a void in center field.
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This is where Charlie Blackmon could make the most sense for the White Sox. Blackmon, an All-Star in 2014, has been consistent this season for the Colorado Rockies. The 30-year old left-handed hitting center fielder currently owns a slash line of .310/.374/.493 through 75 games this season. He has 12 home runs and 43 runs batted in for 2016. Blackmon has started 71 games in center field for the Rockies in 2016.
The White Sox would most certainly have to give up some good prospects in order to obtain Blackmon. With top prospect Carson Fulmer most likely untouchable, what other prospect could the White Sox perhaps trade to entice the Rockies into giving up Blackmon? Perhaps the White Sox could trade 2014 second-round pick Spencer Adams or 2012 15th-round pick Jordan Guerrero.
Adams is currently on the 7-day disabled list for Single-A Winston-Salem Dash after injuring his ankle on July 7. Adams, the White Sox number three ranked prospect according to mlbpipeline.com, is 7-7 with a 4.07 ERA in 17 starts for the Dash this season. Guerrero on the other hand, the White Sox sixth ranked prospect, is pitching in his first season with Double-A Birmingham Barons. The 22-year old is 5-4 with a 4.25 ERA for the Barons in 19 games started. On Thursday, Guerrero pitched six innings for the Barons giving up no earned runs with five strikeouts.
Blackmon would certainly fill a void for the White Sox in center field, and also on offense. Blackmon has primarily been the leadoff hitter for the Rockies this season, but he could also bat fifth or sixth with the White Sox. Blackmon also can steal bases as he has 10 stolen bases this season. On defense, Blackmon would be an immediate upgrade in center field over Shuck, and would keep Adam Eaton in right field.
According to fangraphs.com, Blackmon has four defensive runs saved for the Rockies this season in center field. This is Blackmon’s highest total of defensive runs saved in any of his six seasons playing center field. Blackmon’s UZR this season is -4.1, although this rates him as an average center fielder, Shuck’s UZR this season is -6.8 in center field.
The White Sox have the perfect opportunity to upgrade its team by trading for Blackmon, and they can’t afford to continue to rely on Shuck playing everyday in center field. If the White Sox can acquire Blackmon before the trading deadline, they could very well get back into the AL Central Division race with the Cleveland Indians.