White Sox Post-Lockout Top Second Base Free Agent Targets

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The White Sox made two moves prior to the lockout this 2021-2022 offseason signing Kendall Graveman and bringing back Leury Garcia. Graveman signed a three-year 24-million dollar deal, and Garcia was brought back on a three-year 16.5 million dollar deal. With both of these free agents locked up for the next three years, where do the Southsiders turn after the lockout ends? While I personally agree with bringing Garcia back, we all know and agree he should not be the everyday answer at second base for a team trying to contend for a World Series championship. Graveman is a good signing as well, but overall the pitching staff as a whole is in my opinion, worse than it was at the end of 2021. Now we will look at who is left after the plethora of signings we saw before the lockout. We will only look at free agents and only second base in this article to avoid speculating about possible trades which I feel are imminent.

Second Base

While one may tend to only look at second baseman to fill the void for Chicago at the position, the White Sox already lost out on Marcus Semien and Javy Baez among other options to play second base. So who is left? Cesar Hernandez was with the Sox after the trade deadline passed in 2021 and it did not go well. The numbers were mostly on par for what I believe he is as a player minus one glaring hole. The power he showed in Cleveland was non-existent in Chicago. Hernandez hit 18 home runs for Cleveland in 96 games in 2021 and only three in 53 games for Chicago. The slugging percentage was way down as well from .431 with Cleveland to a measly .299 for Chicago. Unless Hernandez bounces back huge in Washington where he signed a one-year four million dollar deal, the White Sox made the right move declining the club option on him for 2022.

The options are limited for Chicago to fill second base but they have to do it so for the sake of argument here are some of the free agents left with their respective ages and which side of the plate they bat from along with their 2021 batting average and on-base percentage. I know these are basic stats, but I wanted to use them because I personally think the White Sox have slugging in their lineup already and the desire for lefty power could be better solved in right field. The second baseman they sign should in my opinion carry a higher average and a much higher on-base percentage. A slash line looking like maybe Nick Madrigal, perhaps?

  1. Rougned Odor / 27 / L / .202 / .286
  2. Brad Miller / 32 / L / .227 / .321
  3. Donovan Solano / 34 / R / .280 / .344
  4. Asdrubal Cabrera / 36 / S / .230 / .313
  5. Niko Goodrum / 29 / S / .214 / .292

This is only five of the free-agent second baseman still on the board for Chicago and I added each of these as realistic possibilities for the White Sox as free agent options. While I do believe the left-handed power solution can and will be solved in right field, the Sox I think would love to add another lefty or switch-hitter to their lineup to create more options for skipper Tony LaRussa. Switch hitters and left-handed hitters are valuable to a club and adding another here would be advantageous for Chicago. So which one? Maybe it winds up being nobody on this list which I hope is the case and the Sox choose to go the trade route to fill the position. From this list, however, my choice would be Brad Miller on a team-friendly low AAV (average annual value) deal for only a max of 3 years. Ideally a one or two-year deal would be even better. The reason a short-term solution or stop-gap makes sense to me is the younger middle infielders the White Sox currently have in their system. Before you close this article and stop reading, hear me out.

The White Sox selected Colson Montgomery in the first round of the draft in 2021 with the 22nd overall pick. Montgomery is 6’4″ at 190 lbs. plays shortstop and hits from the left side of the plate. While being drafted in 2021 means Montgomery could be several years from the big leagues, maybe he is not so far away? Montgomery hits for power and has been compared to Corey Seager at his age. While Colson does hit for power he has been said to be a complete hitter spraying the ball to all fields by his viewers. With length and athleticism to play either middle infield position, he may show up earlier than we think. Thus, a short-term solution for the Sox may make sense at second base. They have other prospects as well including Romy Gonzalez and Jose Rodriguez who could fill that role in a more short-term role. Unfortunately, this is more of the same from the White Sox if any of the free agents on this list are signed as the solution. They could be wasting a window wide-open year or more if they do not fill this position adequately and immediately. We will be back tomorrow, with a look at the right-field options.

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main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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