The Chicago White Sox’s right field situation is among the most questionable spots on the roster. Signing Yasiel Puig is still an option the team should pursue before it’s too late.
Nomar Mazara could prove to be a solid addition for the White Sox in 2020, even though his track record would suggest he isn’t.
As I detailed last month, Mazara has significant splits and fares much better against right-handers which makes adding someone to play against southpaws more valuable.
While I did not mention Yasiel Puig as an option to pursue in the previously linked article, the right-handed-hitting outfielder might be better than the two options (Kevin Pillar and Domingo Santana) talked about that are still available.
In 2019, Puig had a .267/.327/.458 slash line with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 19 stolen bases, and a 101 wRC+ in 149 games split between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians.
Defensively, he had 0 DRS and a -0.7 UZR which gave him, in total, a 1.2 fWAR on the year.
While his defense is a far cry from his best days, his average defense would even represent an improvement over many of the current players on the White Sox.
His splits don’t suggest that he’s the greatest choice to platoon with Mazara as he is pretty much even against lefties (105 wRC+) and righties (99 wRC+).
That being said, he very well could be had on a very low salary major league deal or even a minor league deal at this point of the offseason which could make it worthwhile.
Signing Puig would serve as the much-needed insurance the team could use for Mazara if he flops altogether while also, at the very least, serving as a defensive replacement for Eloy Jimenez late in games.
If Jimenez’s defense doesn’t improve or worsens and/or Luis Robert struggles early on, Puig could even find himself starting alongside Mazara at times.
The hope, obviously, would be to just form a strong platoon situation between Puig and Mazara in 2020, but Puig is talented enough to serve as legitimate insurance against any issues that could emerge in the outfield.
In the case of Garcia, it is risky to assume he’s a true backup outfielder given that there’s a shot he starts the season as their second baseman. If that happens, Engel would become the team’s real fourth outfielder which, in turn, would leave a vacancy for the fifth outfielder role.
Injuries always emerge throughout the season and it never hurts to have some organizational competition.
The White Sox could definitely benefit from signing Yasiel Puig before Opening Day as his price tag goes down every day that passes from now on.