The White Sox options at the current second base are underwhelming, to say the least. If the season started today, a combination of Leury Garcia and Romy Gonzalez would be set to be Tim Anderson’s double-play partner up the middle. Lenyn Sosa will also throw his hat in the mix during Spring Training.
None of these options present much reason for optimism. Garcia posted an OPS of .500, while Gonzalez posted a .609 mark. Sosa hit just .114 during his 11 games with the White Sox. With the Miami Marlin’s recent signing of Jean Segura, the last true free-agent upgrade is now off the board. Every other free-agent second baseman had a lower WAR last season than Josh Harrison.
The alternatives that remain for the White Sox are a reunion with Harrison or Elvis Andrus. Considering that Andrus has never played second base and the White Sox already non-tendered Harrison, the front office’s best chance to bring in fresh talent is via a trade. The only other free agents would be reclamation projects like Jonathan Villar or Tommy La Stella.
When asked if the White Sox would look outside the organization for some potential infield help, general manager Rick Hahn said, “It’s certainly a possibility.”
There are teams looking to shop some middle infielders. The White Sox do not have much in the farm system of value to trade, so they will have to get creative if they want to pull off a deal. Here are some of the best options.
Jazz Chisholm Jr.
Jazz Chisholm feels like a White Sox player. He has a swagger and plays with an edge. In many ways, he is like Tim Anderson but with more power. He even admitted that the White Sox have the coolest city connect jersey. Chisholm is also under contract until 2027, so he would fit into the White Sox long-term plans. It feels like the fit is too good to be true.
With Miami’s addition of Segura, they have one too many infielders with Joey Wendall and Chisholm. Wendall will likely be pushed out of his starting role, but the depth means the White Sox can try and take a swing at Chisholm.
The so to be 25 year old is coming off an All-Star season with the Marlins. He hit .254/.305/.449 with 14 home runs, 45 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases. The previous year he had 18 home runs, 53 RBIs, and 23 stolen bases. That combination of power and speed would be a welcome addition to any lineup.
However, he allegedly received criticism from some of his Marlins teammates last season. According to the New York Post, some teammates were not thrilled with how he conducted himself off the field due to his flashy style and how he dressed for games. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like Chisholm just has some jealous teammates. But worth noting since it was brought up in a private team meeting.
Another issue that was reportedly brought up in that team meeting was his work ethic. Marlins GM Kim Ng, a former White Sox assistant, didn’t exactly jump to Chisolm’s defense, saying:
“Reluctant to provide further detail- happy everyone is responding.”
Given Chisholm’s recent success, it’s hard to believe that Chisholm isn’t a hard worker. But for a team like the White Sox, who had obvious chemistry issues last season, it’s definitely something they will have to look into before pulling the trigger on a trade.
The price for Chisholm would be steep, but with everything he brings to the table, Hahn would be hard-pressed to find a more talented second baseman.
The Toronto Blue Jays are blessed with a wealth of infield depth. They will head into the season with Whit Merrifield, Cavan Biggio, and Santiago Espinal. Merrifield is the favorite to earn the bulk of the playing time. Both Espinal and Biggio would provide the White Sox with some upside and a higher ceiling than their current in-house options.
Biggio finished fifth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2019 after hitting 16 home runs and stealing 14 bases. The following season he hit .250 with a .807 OPS. He also posted the eighth-highest offensive WAR in the American League in 2020.
His last two seasons could have been better. However, his .678 and .668 OPS are still higher than Gonzalez and Garcia’s were in 2022. Biggio is also a much better defensive second baseman. His Outs Above Average ranked in the 94th percentile in the MLB. The 27-year-old also draws a lot of walks. He has drawn over 35 in each of his first four seasons.
Like Biggio, Espinal is also an above-average defender. He only committed four errors in 120 games last season at second base. He also ranked in the MLB’s top four percentile in Outs Above Average.
Espinal is coming off a better offensive season than Biggio. He hit .268 with only 68 strikeouts. His whiff rate ranked in the top eight percentile. During his first three seasons, the 28-year-old has a career average of .280. He is very good at putting the ball in play. However, he did not hit the ball very hard. His average exit velocity ranked in the bottom seven percentile.
His defense makes up for any of his offensive shortcomings, and he was an All-Star in 2022, so it’s worth picking up the phone if you are Rick Hahn.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Padres are willing to listen to offers on Ha-Seong Kim. He will come with a hefty price tag since he is slated to be their Opening Day starter at second base.
Kim slashed .251/.325/.383 with 11 home runs and 59 RBIs last season. He has excellent bat-to-ball skills and does not strike out much. His 17.2 percent strikeout rate was among the top third of the league. The 27-year-old also swiped 12 bags.
On top of that, he is a sure-handed infielder. For his career, he has an OAA of 11. However, the majority of his time has been spent at shortstop. Kim has only played 21 games at second base in two seasons.
The asking price will likely be too high for what the return is, but Kim is still a clear upgrade over anything the White Sox have in-house.
There’s been ample speculation about the Yankees moving Gleyber Torres throughout the offseason. Torres would be a great addition to the White Sox lineup.
Torres is a two-time All-Star with plenty of power. During his rookie season, he hit .271 with 24 home runs and 77 RBIs. He followed that up with a career-high 38 home runs and 90 RBIs in 2019. After back-to-back down years from 2020-21 that saw him hit a combined 12 home runs, he bounced back nicely, slashing .257/.310/.451 with 24 home runs and 76 RBIs.
Torres has had the luxury of hitting in Yankee stadium with a pretty stacked lineup surrounding him. However, he would be moving to another hitter-friendly park in Chicago, so there is no reason to believe those numbers wouldn’t carry over. His advanced metrics back this up.
He ranked in the league’s top half in hard hit percentage, barrel percentage, average exit velocity, and expected slugging percentage. The 26-year-old is also more than capable on the defensive end. Last season he led the MLB second baseman in assists and was fifth in the AL in fielding percentage.
The major concern with Torres is his high strikeout rate. His 22.6 percent strikeout rate was just above the league average. He has also racked up over 100 strikeouts in four of his five seasons in the MLB, the only exception being the shortened 60-game season in 2020.
Minus the strikeouts, Torres is a solid overall player that would be an impactful addition on the South Side.