Yesterday, we took a short dip in the pool of free-agent second baseman available for the White Sox without trading away viable major league talent to fill the void left by Rick Hahn’s trade of Nick Madrigal at the deadline. Today, we will look at the black hole that has been in right field for the Sox for far too long. Unlike the second base position that needs to be filled, there seem to be plenty of options left for the Sox to solve the problem of an everyday right-fielder. Of course, anything can happen and none of the options we will discuss are a sure thing for the Southsiders as they may choose a platoon of players who are already on their roster. Andrew Vaughn, Gavin Sheets, Adam Engel, and Leury Garcia are all options already currently under contract who have seen time in right field for the Sox. For now, let us dream!
While the list of second baseman I gave yesterday was short and less than sweet, this list should be much better and for that reason will have a couple more options. I mentioned in yesterday’s article and most of you already know the Sox are looking to become a little more left-handed in the daily lineup or at least, more versatile. For that reason, I will only have a few right-handed players included on this list. If they are included, it probably means I think the player is good enough to discount what side of the plate they hit from. I will list the player’s age and his projected slash line from the 2021 season along with his batting side. Let’s see that list!
- Michael Conforto – 28 / L / .232 / .344 / .384 with 14 HR
- Nick Castellanos – 29 / R / .309 / .362 / .576 with 34 HR
- Kyle Schwarber – 28 / L / .266 / .374 / .554 with 32 HR
- Kris Bryant – 29 / R / .265 / .353 / .481 with 25 HR
- Joc Pederson – 29 / L / .238 / .310 / .422 with 18 HR
- Eddie Rosario – 30 / L / .259 / .305 / .435 with 14 HR
- Corey Dickerson – 32 / L / .271 / .326 / .408 with 6 HR
- Odúbel Herrera – 30 / L / .260 / .310 / .416 with 13 HR
While the standard slash line with the home run total for each player paints with a broad brush, it does show the large disparity in a few of the options slugging percentage and I believe the Sox are looking for a power-hitting or slugging option in right field. The obvious choice in my opinion is Nick Castellanos. There are two glaring problems in this choice. The first problem is he bats from the right side. The other problem is only a problem because of the team in question. Will Jerry Reinsdorf and the Chicago White Sox push the all-in button and spend the money to bring a slugger like Castellanos to the Southside? My guess is no.
There are still holes to be filled on this roster beyond right field and second base. But man, would that not be great? Castellanos handles right-handed pitching just fine as well as left-handed pitching. The left-handed power bat goes out the window if they can get Nick to come to the southside. While we are dreaming you can say Kyle Schwarber would do just fine and provide the power from the side of the plate everyone seems to be clamoring for while probably coming in cheaper. The problem I see with Schwarber is his defense. Can he hold up as an everyday player? Can he play right field? I cannot find any evidence of him playing there at least in recent history. I personally like the move of signing Kyle, but with an understanding, he will be platooned and DH a considerable amount. Most may not like it but I think Adam Engel can play right field as long as he can stay healthy.
With the two most expensive options covered let’s take a look at some of the more realistic options for the White Sox. There has been a fair amount of smoke around the idea of Michael Conforto to the White Sox and it does make some sense. While he would provide the lefty bat they are looking for and be good enough in right field, he would still be relatively expensive. According to spotrac.com, Conforto would only come less than two and a half million dollars cheaper than Castellanos per year. This is their projected market value. Castellanos would probably want additional years but without a CBA currently in place, who knows what each player will ask for.
Joc Pederson has been on the White Sox radar for a long time and could possibly come cheaper on a shorter-term deal than the other options we already discussed. Joc comes with some of the same questions as Schwarber in my opinion. I think Joc could be closer to an everyday outfielder than Schwarber but will lack in power and slugging that a player like Schwarber or Castellanos would bring. What is the value of a power-hitting right fielder? To each team, I would think it could be different. How much room does Jerry give Rick Hahn to work with? What is the budget? Ultimately, I think Hahn has done a great job with this rebuild. In my opinion, the Madrigal trade was a swing and a miss. The Sox cannot afford to do that again. I think spending a little more in free agency and acquiring known commodities without giving up talented players with large upside on team-friendly contracts actually could save Hahn from the letdown of a failing rebuild.
I would be completely out on bringing in Kris Bryant. However, I do think he has a great year wherever he lands. I do not think he fits on the Southside. Kris may want to play a considerable amount of third base and like it or not, I do not think Moncada is moving from the hot corner for some time. The other guys I added to this list are probably closer to what you may see the White Sox actually do and I think there is some fire around the smoke about Conforto coming. Time will tell but this is a quick look at what is out there.
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