Austin Jackson’s injury left a void in center field. Now, the White Sox should look to free agency to fill the hole.
The Chicago White Sox signed Austin Jackson to a $5 million contract in the offseason. The signing meant they would have an everyday center fielder, an Adam Eaton could move to right field, where he plays better defensively. When Jackson went down there was a huge void left and no one to fill the void.
Center field is still an area of concern and should be something the front office addresses in free agency. And Ian Desmond makes a lot of sense.
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Desmond, 31, was actually on the White Sox radar last offseason before he signed a one year, $8 million contact with the Texas Rangers. The short stop has made a successful transition to center and has played extremely well. He even made the All-Star team this season.
Desmond made a lot of sense for the White Sox but they failed to get their man. Instead they decided to go with Jimmy Rollins. That may have been a blessing in disguise since the poor play of Rollins led to the emergence of Tim Anderson. Desmond’s presence would have prevented Anderson’s call up.
As I said, he has played really well for the Rangers. He is hitting .284 with 22 home runs and 84 RBIs, which would make him third in home runs, third in RBIs and fourth in batting average if he was with the White Sox. His OBP of .334 would put him in the middle of the pack.
The White Sox have struggled on offense and quite frankly need more run production. Desmond has hit 20 or more home runs in four the past five seasons. So, he definitely fits the bill for this team. One area he would really help is the running game. Todd Frazier leads this team with 15 stolen bases. Desmond has 20 this season. He would definitely add another threat, something this team has lacked.
The one thing that will most likely get in the way of the White Sox signing Desmond is money. Remember, last season he turned down a qualifying offer worth over $15 million from the Washington Nationals. Instead, he joined the Rangers on a one-year contract for almost half the price. I have no doubt he will once again test free agency but what sort of contract will he be asking for?
It’s no secret the Rangers want him back. He is said to be a good clubhouse presence and he definitely has played really well. Still, the White Sox should make a run at him because he fills two areas of need. He fills the void in center field and he adds another bat to the lineup. They really do need a left-handed power hitter but there really isn’t a standout guy this offseason. Most of them bat from the right side.
There’s no doubt Desmond definitely makes sense for the White Sox but it will ultimately be Rick Hahn and Ken Williams’ call. Let’s just hope they have learned from their past mistakes and this team doesn’t go into 2017 without a center fielder.