White Sox will have decisions to make regarding second base for 2017. With injuries taking a toll on the team’s starting second basemen, the White Sox will have to make a smart decision moving forward.
With three out of four infield positions set for next season, the question is simple: what to do about second base for the Chicago White Sox? Currently the Sox have Brett Lawrie, Tyler Saladino, and Carlos Sanchez at that position in-house. Leury Garcia could be counted as well, but he is probably fourth on the depth chart so he will be left out. So, what should the Sox do? Let’s take a look.
Considering the fact Lawrie is a great talent (5-tool player), he would be the obvious choice in most situations. However, he has had serious problems staying on the field. Since Lawrie broke into the majors in 2011, he has only played more than 125 games one time, that being in 2015 (149 games played). Even though he is a high energy player, it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t play.
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The second option is Saladino, who is probably the most fundamentally sound of the three. He has shown the ability to hit for a decent average (.282 this season), not to mention the fact he has decent power (8 HR’s in 298 AB’s in ’16). Saladino can also steal bases, as he has swiped 11 bags in 16 attempts so far this year. One issue is the fact he doesn’t walk much, as he has only drawn 13 BB’s so far, while striking out 62 times this year. He is a player the Sox should definitely keep around, mostly due to versatility and overall baseball IQ.
Finally, the Sox could go with Sanchez. Sanchez is the best defender of the three, but the main issue with him is that he can’t hit. With a batting average of .211, he gives the Sox virtually nothing offensively as he doesn’t hit for power either (only 4 HR’s). To top that off, Sanchez has 5 BB’s and 39 K’s meaning he makes little contact and doesn’t draw the free pass. He can play second base at a high level. He has a plus throwing arm not to mention plus range. Defense is he calling card, but he may never hit at the big league level.
My choice would be if I were the Sox organization one of two things. First, if they don’t think upgrading second base is important, trade Lawrie for prospects. Second, let Saladino start and acquire a solid fifth infielder. Assuming they do view second base as a critical need this offseason, move Lawrie regardless. Then, bring in a quality starting second baseman. They might have to move another key piece in order to do so. To finish that part of the plan, allow Saladino to be the team’s fifth infielder.
Overall, the Sox need to infuse multiple good young bats into their lineup if they want to win in the near future. Going the veteran route could work, but only for a short time. Winning consistently is the key, and the only way to do that is to build a core that will be in place for years to come. They might have to trade some of their elite players, such as Jose Quintana to do so.
However if that happens, the Sox are going to have to get more than just top prospects in return. In making a move such as that, the team will need to acquire a top MLB-ready talent. Whether this happens or not is to be determined, but this is will be an exciting offseason to say the least. Which I am sure most Sox fans have been waiting for since July, unfortunately.