Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Bob Nightengale Adds To The Nick Madrigal Trade Speculation


Nick Madrigal has been a popular name thrown around by both fan bases this offseason. The White Sox need a second baseman, and the Cubs have no room for him in the starting lineup. In his latest USA Today column, MLB insider Bob Nightengale threw gas on the fire. Here is what Nightengale had to say:

“The White Sox, who picked second baseman Nick Madrigal in the first round of the 2018 draft and traded him to the Cubs in 2021 for veteran closer Craig Kimbrel, now have a chance to get him back.
The Cubs no longer have room for Madrigal in the starting lineup after signing shortstop Dansby Swanson and shifting Nico Hoerner to second base, and guess who desperately needs a second baseman?

Yep, the White Sox.”

This reads as pure speculation. However, Nightengale’s words carry some extra weight regarding the White Sox. He has connections within the organization and often serves as the mouthpiece for Jerry Reinsodrf.

A reunion with Nick Madrigal doesn’t make much sense for the White Sox, aside from the fact that he can play second base. Madrigal has shown no ability to stay healthy and is coming off a down year with the Cubs.

In 2020 he landed on the 10-day injury list with a separated left shoulder in August from an awkward slide attempt in Milwaukee. This kept him out of the lineup for 22 days. Once the season ended in he underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair the shoulder in October.

The following season he got off to a slow start, and when he finally began to heat up, he went down with a season-ending hamstring injury. After getting traded to the Cubs, additional injury concerns have piled up while the offensive production has been limited outside on a single month late in the year.

The 25-year-old played just 59 games, which is still the most he has ever played in the majors. Two different groin strains and a back injury robbed him of any opportunity to find his footing. He slashed .249/.305/.282 with a career-high in strikeouts and a career-low in RBIs.

The Cubs would struggle to get anything of value for Madrigal at this point, so they are better off hanging onto him. He is under contract until 2026 and could serve as a nice depth piece for them. With his bat-to-ball skills, manager David Ross has a nice option off the bench late in games, especially if he needs to move a runner over.

Meanwhile, the White Sox farm system is depleted as it is. If they are going to give up assets, it better be for an upgrade at second base. Madrigal is not that. His .587 OPS was lower than Josh Harrison’s last season. Even if the price to trade for him was low, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

Madrigal has only been in the league three seasons, yet he has already complied more games on the bench than he has on the field. If the Cubs thought he was good, they wouldn’t have replaced him this off-season. If he isn’t good enough for the rebuilding Cubs, why should he be good enough for the contending White Sox?

Despite all the talk surrounding another Crosstown swap, a deal for Madrigal seems unlikely. But if Nightengale is writing about Madrigal, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities.

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