The White Sox acquired right fielder Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers in exchange for outfield prospect Steele Walker. Walker was the Sox #6 prospect, and Mazara has been underwhelming in four MLB seasons.
Nobody knew what the Chicago White Sox were going to do at the winter meetings this year but they have managed to acquire Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Steele Walker. Many Sox fans on social media and other places are highly critical of the move. However, while Sox fans should criticize the team for not signing Bryce Harper last year and being cheap in general. That belief doesn’t make this move a bad one.
For one, Nomar gives them an actual right fielder and is an upgrade at what they had at the right-field position last year. In 2019, the Sox were worth -3.9 wins below average at the right fielder position and Nomar Mazara was -0.9 wins below average. This move represents a 3-win upgrade. Still not fantastic, but he’s better than a replacement player and better than what they currently had in right field for next season.
Another thing is that Mazara still has upside despite his underwhelming performance so far. Sure he’s been subpar so far but he’s still only 25 so he’s young enough where he could get a lot better. Usually, when a player makes the major leagues at 21 they end up being pretty good. Detractors will point out that he already has had a lot of plate appearances, but there’s been lots of players who had several mediocre seasons with a lot of at-bats before having a breakout year and turning into a very good player. Jose Bautista is a good example.
Clearly Mazara needed a change of scenery and perhaps being in Chicago will give him a chance to improve. He can work with a new hitting coach on trying to improve his launch angle and hit for more power while also drawing more walks. Furthermore, his comparables through age 24 include the fringe Hall of Famers Harold Baines and Andre Dawson. If he ends up being as good as those guys, I think we’ll be pretty satisfied with this trade.
This move also gives the White Sox flexibility to get better. Based on wins above replacement, I would give the White Sox 3 added rWAR for getting Mazara and another 3 wins for replacing Wellington Castillo (-0.2) with Yasmani Grandal (2.5). This brings them from 72 wins to a projected 78 wins, depending on how well the prospects play. Whether the White Sox want to be better than that will be up to the front office to make more moves. Hopefully, they aren’t too cheap for Nicholas Castellanos and/or Dallas Keuchel.