The 2021 White Sox are looking for big things as spring training is upon us. Trying to build on their playoff appearance in 2020, they have addressed several needs in the offseason. They added a veteran starter in Lance Lynn, a top closer in Liam Hendriks, and a veteran right fielder in Adam Eaton.
Yet, there are a couple of areas where many fans still have concerns, heading into Arizona. The biggest of these is at the DH spot, which has been a trouble area for the Sox since Paul Konerko retired. If the 2021 White Sox are to be serious contenders, they need to figure out this spot in the lineup.
2021 White Sox: Looking For A Bat
Many of the free agents at the DH slot have signed with other teams, limiting the Sox in their pursuit. With spring training less just days away, time is running out on the Sox. With that in mind, it seems that the Sox are looking inward to fill their DH spot in 2021. It just might be Andrew Vaughn, the first-round pick in the 2019 draft.
Vaughn has been projected to be a solid MLB bat at some point, and likely sooner than later. In 2018, he won the Golden Spikes Award, as the top amateur player in the country. The Sox took him with the third overall pick in the 2019 draft. With his pedigree and track record, it is hard to fault the Sox for selecting him at such a lofty position in the draft.
To this point, however, Vaughn has not played above Class A ball, and that was a small sample size. As the 2021 White Sox look for another bat, many fans question whether he should be the guy coming out of spring training. This is a fair question, one that deserves scrutiny.
Free Agent Options
As mentioned earlier, there are few legitimate DH options remaining for the Sox. Some of the players still available include such names as Shin-Soo Choo, Yoenis Cespedes, Derek Dietrich, and Matt Kemp, among others. While each has plenty of MLB experience, none would jump out at Sox fans looking for one more hitter. Choo and Dietrich do hit left-handed, but neither strikes fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers. Cespedes has been injury-prone, while Kemp’s best days are far in the rear-view mirror.
Looking at the above list, Andrew Vaughn may be as good an option as any of the veterans available. Then again, there is another player available who just might be what the 2021 White Sox need to fill out their already powerful lineup. A player with solid MLB experience who also hits from the left side. He may just be the perfect fit for the White Sox.
The Ideal Candidate?
The player who may offer the 2021 White Sox the best value is Mitch Moreland. He is a veteran hitter with decent, if not spectacular career numbers. He is not a hitter who will challenge for a batting title or a triple crown. He is 35 years old and like the others, he is well beyond his peak. He may not excite Sox fans, but he is worth considering.
Moreland is obviously not a long-term solution for the White Sox. However, they are not looking down the road at this point. After a difficult three years of rebuilding and a playoff appearance in 2020, the future is now. Fans are expecting big things from the 2021 White Sox. A veteran lefty bat with some power might be just what this team needs to make a deep playoff run.
While Moreland may not be the ideal candidate, at this point, he may be the best free agent option. He may also be inexpensive, which will definitely appeal to the fiscally prudent Sox ownership. He can likely be had with a one-year deal, as well. With a low-cost contract, the Sox could always DFA him if he is not producing. This signing seems like a low risk deal for the Sox.
Sox Must Decide: A Veteran Or Unproven Rookie
As spring training approaches, the 2021 White Sox will decide on their DH. The choices appear to be unproven youngsters such as Vaughn, Yermin Mercedes, and Zack Collins, or a veteran like Moreland. Or maybe a veteran like Leury Garcia. It is possible that none of these will please all Sox fans. On Opening Day, however, somebody will be penciled in as the DH, and Moreland just might be the best choice. That choice could very well go a long way towards determining the fate of the 2021 White Sox. Time will tell.
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