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When Yoan Moncada went on the disabled list for 10 days, the White Sox were still able to start a whole complement of MLB-caliber infielders during his absence.
The Sox didn’t have that luxury even before a Matt Moore fastball broke Nicky Delmonico’s finger on Friday night. That’s one reason why Rick Renteria floated the idea of playing Yolmer Sanchez in the outfield on occasion.
This was evident by the corresponding roster moves the White Sox made this afternoon. Along with calling up Dylan Covey to take Carson Fulmer’s place on the pitching staff, the White Sox brought back Jose Rondon as they put Delmonico on the disabled list. Delmonico is expected to miss four to six weeks.
Rondon only has infield experience, but he frees up Leury Garcia to play just about everyday in the outfield, with Adam Engel, Daniel Palka and Trayce Thompson representing the other options until one of the following five things happen:
No. 1: Avisail Garcia gets healthy. Almost a month after he pulled his hamstring, he’s still not approaching a rehab stint.
No. 2: Charlie Tilson returns to form. He’s showing signs of life with 12 hits (two doubles) and two walks over his last 10 games, but that only gives him a line of .286/.316/.333 during this period. If that’s his best stretch yet, he’ll need to get hotter.
No. 3: Ryan Cordell recovers from his broken collarbone. He was expected to miss at least eight weeks when he hit the disabled list a month ago. That means he’s at least only halfway there, and he wasn’t hitting like a big leaguer even before the injury.
No. 4: Eloy Jimenez gets the nod. A minor slump at Birmingham has knocked his line down to .298/.331/.561. He still might be the best outfielder the White Sox have, but he’ll need a stop in Charlotte first.
No. 5: Delmonico gets healthy. Which brings to mind a question from the Patreon Request Line from Spencer…
Delmonico just got injured, out 4-6 weeks with fractured hand. Will we see him on the White Sox again? It’s been pretty clear that he’s not a major leaguer since he can’t field and he doesn’t hit even close to enough to DH. By time hes back Ryan Cordell should be back from injury as well as Avi. What are your thoughts?
Well, when you look at all those elements above, I wouldn’t count out anybody who has ever held an outfielder’s glove from logging serious time with the White Sox this year. As disappointing as Delmonico had been at the plate, he still had handily outperformed both Avisail Garcia and Cordell before their respective injuries, so I wouldn’t count on either looking better than Delmonico at the plate when returning. Meanwhile, Adam Engel has logged 133 games over the last two seasons while hitting .171, and Trayce Thompson holds a roster spot hitting .107. Daniel Palka has moments at the plate, but he looks like a worse defender than Delmonico.
That said, this injury exacerbates Delmonico’s two biggest problems: A hand injury is another obstacle in front of harder contact, and he’s not going to get better reads on fly balls from the bench. Detectable improvement will be much harder to achieve the rest of 2018, even if Jimenez doesn’t beat him to a corner by the time he’s healthy.
Regardless, he’s still a left-handed bat with a major-league batting eye who has all his minor-league options remaining, on an organization starved of outfield depth. He can lurk on the periphery for quite a while even if this year’s audition for a starting role fails to pan out.