As we inch closer to Major League Baseball’s imposed deadline of February 28th, the Chicago White Sox still have a ton of work to get done before whenever opening day would be. While Rick Hahn and company are surely weighing options for the roster holes during this lockout, they cannot do much of anything to solve issues on the major league roster prior to a new collective bargaining agreement being in place. So we wait, and as we do wandering minds drift. With content becoming more and more diluted with the remembrance of yesteryear and insane trade scenarios, let us take a look at three realistic trade options for the White Sox to fill the hole at second base.
Ketel Marte has been with the middling Arizona Diamondbacks since 2017 and will be in the final year of his five-year contract with the D’backs however he does have team options for the next two years at eleven million and 13 million dollars respectively. While Arizona seems to be headed nowhere fast, they were never really close to dealing Marte even at the deadline last season when surely there were suitors. Marte has been great for most of his career and carries a career .287 / .346 / .456 slash line with an OPS+ (on-base pus slugging normalized) of 112 over seven years.
Marte would be ideal for the Sox as he is a switch hitter who kills left-handed pitching at a .387 average in 2021 and still handles right-handed pitching at a .286 average as well. While the Diamondbacks have yet to be interested in shopping Marte, a group of young talent may get it done with a short lead on the rest of his deal. That being said, they may choose to build around Marte instead of moving him. Marte is only 28 years old. While the Sox do not have a bunch of top prospects to deal with, they could trade some of the talent who has already seen time on the Southside for a player like Marte. A deal with Andrew Vaughn as the centerpiece would be the minimum for a player of this caliber with two relatively cheap team options left.
Whit Merrifield would fill the hole at second base beautifully for the Chicago White Sox in 2022. There would be huge obstacles for the Sox to overcome if they were serious about making a run at Merrifield this offseason. The first of many would be the fact that he is currently under contract with the division rival Kansas City Royals. While trades do happen between division rivals, they are rare and generally do not include big-league pieces, especially with the skill set of Merrifield. While the Royals are in somewhat of a rebuild and winning the division in 2022 is a longshot, so is trading Merrifield inside the AL Central.
Merrifield is in the last year of his contract with the Royals so trading him while you can get something valuable in return seems to make sense, they may wait and see where they are at the deadline. Merrifield’s value may actually increase significantly if he can start 2022 hot and stay healthy increasing the return on a trade for the Royals. This feels like a bad option for the young budding White Sox regardless due to the youth on the southside and Merrifield turning 33 last month. While his age is on the wrong side of 30, Merrifield incredibly has appeared in every game for the Royals dating back to 2018. This will also drive up the cost and additionally, be a band-aid of sorts for the White Sox as Merrifield has a team option for 2023 and would then become a free agent in 2024 assuming they picked up his option for 2023.
The Philadelphia Phillies need help in their bullpen, especially at the back end. This is why Jean Segura to the White Sox makes so much sense. The White Sox have two closers. One of which is almost certainly a lock for the Hall Of Fame in Craig Kimbrel who they just happened to be looking to trade. While the Phillies may not be looking to trade Jean Segura they do have options for second base beyond him. Johan Camargo and Nick Maton are both in the Phillies organization and could both be starting at second base by the break of spring training if the Sox and Phillies can make a deal.
The money makes the most sense for the White Sox and Phillies as Segura is set to make just under 15 million in 2022 and Kimbrel comes in at 16 million for his option the White Sox have already picked up for 2022. Segura does have a team option in his contract for 2023 coming in at 17 million. While the trade would make sense from a financial standpoint for the White Sox, what does Segura bring on the field for the White Sox?
Segura will be 32 on opening day this season but has some good baseball left in him. Segura is far from injury prone and has played in 100 plus games every season since 2013 leaving out the 60 game shortened 2020 season in which he played 54 games. Segura is a career .285 hitter with a career 99 OPS+. He would basically be a league-average second baseman for the Sox which is totally fine. Dependable is the word that comes to mind when Segura’s name is mentioned with the White Sox. Someone who can get between the lines day in and day out without needing extended rest and provide the Sox with somewhere between ten and twenty home runs per year.
The Jean Segura trade option seems to make the most sense for the White Sox. While none of these options may come to fruition, Rick Hahn and company need to get something done to fix the self-inflicted wound that is second base at 35th and Shields. Hahn created this mess by trading Nick Madrigal to the Chicago Cubs for Kimbrel at the deadline in 2021 in an all-in move that did not pan out. Now the Sox need to move Kimbrel and quickly or at bare minimum sign a decent second base option not named Leury Garcia. While all White Sox fans would probably love to see the Ketel Marte deal get done, the cost would likely be too high for the White Sox so Segura or another option will have to suffice in a trade situation.
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