The Chicago White Sox, for the first time in several seasons, are going to be without the guy who was their number-one shortstop. Tim Anderson is a free agent and isn’t coming back to the White Sox so now, they have some work to do on trying to figure out who is going to play the all-important position. The good thing is, that the person who could fill that need is likely already in the organization.
Looking at the candidates that could step in and play shortstop this year, there is a mix of aged veterans and young folks who could step in and fill in for the departed Anderson. Sure, there may be some free agents out there, but the White Sox have what they need in-house, right now, so they don’t have to go searching that far to find what they need.
The following is a look at the top three players that the White Sox could look at to replace Anderson at shortstop. They are in no order and each one has the clear possibility of contributing to the White Sox in 2024.
So far, one of the bigger free agent “splashes” if you can call it that, was the signing of Paul DeJong. General Manager Chris Getz wasted no time going out to get the former San Francisco Giants shortstop, signing him to a one-year deal near the start of free agency. DeJong is a well-traveled journeyman-type player, having played for a total of three teams throughout his career. He’s been in the league since 2017 when he broke into the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals.
DeJong’s career slash line is .229/.299/.417. That’s not terrible, but it’s also not spectacular. His performance at the plate is going to be key for him to be able to crack the lineup at shortstop and play. The White Sox need more hitters, and they need DeJong to get in there and be on fire at the plate. They didn’t get the production out of the shortstop position last season, even with Anderson, that they thought they could get. This year, they must.
DeJong appears to be somewhat solid at shortstop and should be able to play the position well enough to at least fill in. He’s got experience, which is helpful. That veteran experience may help keep guys like Colson Montgomery, who we will be talking about shortly, in the minors for a bit longer to let him develop. But if DeJong doesn’t pan out, the White Sox are going to want to find someone to come in and step it up. Maybe we should hope, at least in the short-term, that DeJong can be the guy that the White Sox need at shortstop to help fill the void left by Anderson’s departure.
Colson Montgomery is a young up-and-coming star who’s had a strong few games in the minors and appears nearly poised to make a jump to the majors. He’s the No. 1 prospect in the White Sox system and that might earn him a spot on the big league roster as early as the start of the season. The White Sox could use him, depending on what happens with their other options. I would bet money that he’ll be up in the big leagues in 2024 anyway, regardless of what happens.
When it comes to hitting, Montgomery is solid. He's slashing .280/.409/.438 in his MiLB career. He earned this slash line by playing in 186 games with 667 at-bats. Throw in 19 home runs and 187 hits and you have the makings of an up-and-coming star with real potential.
I think that Montgomery is going to be the next big thing in Chicago with the White Sox. I think he’ll be an All-Star at some point and be a part of a solid center of the White Sox defense, which includes Luis Robert Jr., for years to come.
Montgomery is the long-term answer for the Whtie Sox at shortstop. However, there is another short-term player who might be able to crack the lineup and, at the least, get some reps at the position.
Another new member of the White Sox has a stake in the game for shortstop in 2024. Nicky Lopez came to the White Sox in the hefty trade for relief pitcher Aaron Bummer. The nice thing about Lopez is that he can play three different positions, including second and third base along with shortstop.
Being flexible like this might earn him a roster spot in the majors. But is he going to be the right answer at shortstop?
Hitting hasn’t been Lopez’s forte, so to speak, but he might just need some additional opportunities, and he might be able to fill a gap in hitting that the White Sox have. His career slash line is .249/.312.319. Lopez has spent five seasons in the Majors, having played for three teams, not including the White Sox. He’s matured and ready to become an asset to a team that desperately needs hitters.
At the very worst, he should see innings at shortstop every few days.