Ryan Cordell gets latest, greatest shot at White Sox’ corner vacancy

When the White Sox’ idea to lure Manny Machado with friends instead of money backfired, the resulting roster somehow both lacked talent yet potentially blocked one of the only entertaining parts of the 2018 team. The White Sox picked up the professional left-handed bats of Yonder Alonso and Jon Jay to cover DH and the corner outfield, which seemingly pushed the left-handed bat of Daniel Palka out of the only two spots he could play.

Any concerns were apparently overstated, and for a couple reasons. A spring injury to Jay gave Palka unlimited playing time, and even then, it only took three weeks for the situation to resolve itself in the most dispiriting way.

  • Palka: Optioned to the minors after starting the season 1-for-35.
  • Jay: Stopped suiting up after March 13, save for one attempt at playing on March 24.
  • Alonso: Hanging in there!

Alonso is only hitting .200/.333/.383 over his first 72 plate appearances, but the helplessness of Palka in right field, as well as the uncharacteristic struggles of Jose Abreu in front of him, have made the professionalism of his plate appearances a welcome respite from the amateurism elsewhere. He’s drawn 12 walks to 11 strikeouts.

I’m still skeptical about his season-long projections for reasons that have already manifested themselves. Teams can throw LOOGYs at him in the late innings, and he’s running a 14 percent popup rate just like he did last season, when pitchers seemed to counter the One Neat Trick that allowed him to crack double-digits in homers. Although Alonso is running a sub-.200 BABIP that should rise, Todd Frazier showed us how much infield flies have to do with low BABIPs being earned, rather than unlucky.

Also, in terms of sprint speed, he’s Albert Pujols-slow:

(He has since crept ahead of Pujols.)

It’ll be a lost opportunity if the White Sox entered a third rebuilding season with vacancies/audition openings at DH and a corner spot, and a decent season from an athletically limited 32-year-old first baseman is the most they have to show for it.

Credit Ryan Cordell for trying to make Plan D more intriguing than expected.

I’d more or less cordoned off Cordell after he went 4-for-37 with zero walks and 15 strikeouts in his cup of coffee, following a year where he needed a hot August to salvage a .239/.281/.364 line in Charlotte. He generated the reason the Sox acquired him — an .855 OPS in Triple-A in 2017 — as a 25-year-old in Colorado Springs, which is like hitting on the moon. In between then and now, he broke his T1 vertebra and a collarbone. That’s just a lot to overcome.

But he came through with a pinch-hit homer in his first appearance of the season, and he homered in his most recent one on Thursday, a rope out to one of the deeper parts of Comerica Park:

Cordell is 5-for-10 with those two homers and a double, which is five times the damage Palka did over a quarter of the plate appearances. Cordell has also struck out three times with zero walks, which is going to be the pitfall in his long-levered profile. Rick Renteria says Cordell is going to get every opportunity see how his strengths and weaknesses balance out.

‘I’m going to run him out there everyday,’ Renteria said. ‘I’m going to give him the chance to play against righties, lefties, everybody. He might play some center field as well. I think it was last year there was an opportunity for us to get him up and I think he had broke his collar bone running into a wall. That was one the injuries he had. He’s been swinging the bat pretty good down there. I think it’s just an opportunity has presented itself.’

This could result in Cordell getting chewed up and spit out as part of an uneven White Sox offense’s fits and starts, or keeping his head above water and being the most deserving candidate of a less-than-scintillating field.

I suppose he could also exceed every expectation, but as the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles can’t begin with the cart before the horse. Palka and Nicky Delmonico are hanging out in Charlotte as cautionary tales, leaving the White Sox ever in search of late bloomers who don’t wilt on the old schedule.

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Yolmer

I think if we’re being honest about the Sox, Palka, Delmonico, Tilson, and Cordell were always organizational depth. It would be nice if one of them stuck as a major leaguer for multiple years, but they weren’t really a part of the rebuild plan.

Neat_on_the_rocks

None of the guys collectively were ever a part of “the plan”. That said, part of tanking is that it gives you ample opportunity to find a diamond in the rough that can really help turn your rebuild around.

off the top of my head, look at Altuve with the Astros or both Arrietta and Hendricks for the Cubs.

It is a bit frustrating that not a single “diamond in the rough” has surfaced for the Sox going on 3 years now. Not even a reliever, with the way Fry has looked early.

it amounts to thousands of “wasted” plate appearances.

knoxfire30

^^^^100% exactly, they have a couple years of throwing people into multiple positions and giving them 500 at bats, if at the end of that you dont get 1 solid mlb player its a bit disappointing

I would add gillespie as well as someone they thought “hey maybe”in the palka, cordell, tilson, delmonico grouping

Does Yolmer count? I know he has had a rough start to the season, but it seemed like last year he might be able to be a super utility player on a playoff team.

knoxfire30

I mean he had a cup of coffee in 2014, and first full year in 2015… I don’t think he counts since the rebuild hadnt started. Plus if he got good unlike the other guys he would have pretty limited team control.

I consider this group the 4A retreads of top prospects / 1st round pick types that didnt get a full shot with an outside organization.

Trooper Galactus

I think Tilson was part of the plan until his injury. Repeated, devastating leg and foot injuries to a guy whose speed is his carrying tool is not bound to turn out well.

Eagle Bones

I’m rooting for him. As stated in pnoles’ Tigers write-up, it would be nice to find one diamond in the rough during this rebuild.

denbum

Don’t know if I heard it this year, but every spring a GM or Manager throws out the old line about wanting to leave Ariz with the “best” 25 men in camp and every year fans know it’s a bit of BS. Cordell (along w/ Engel and Jay) were only major league ready OF in ST. With this pitching, W Sox pitchers need all the defensive support they can gather. With DH’s Palka and Eloy on the corners and L Garcia in CF, Sox were going to give up a lot of runs. Team has to live with Eloy in LF…and thinking of guys like Sox Kittle, Phila Luzinski, Cincy Foster, Mets Cleon Jones, teams can still win a lot of games with a poor glove in LF – but absolutely need top caliber in CF and RF. Watching Gordon play LF against W Sox is the standard they should shoot for. Anyone know how L Robert measures up defensively?
BTW, along with Cordell, Mendick was one of the best 25 in camp also.
Sorry if this one rambled.

Neat_on_the_rocks

Luis Robert can play CF. He’d be an elite Left Fielder.

Mendick had a good spring but You cant fault the sox for Rolling with Yolmer and Rondon to start the year. Yolmer deserved the spot, and Rondon looked good in the majors last year and has no options.

I was also frustrated that we didn’t get much Engel in CF when they had both Eloy and Palka on the corners.

Patrick Nolan

I had pretty much written this guy off, but I’m glad that now that he’s shown some signs of life that they’re at least going to do some information-gathering on him.

PauliePaulie

Jay’s injury allowing the Sox to cycle through all these AAAA OF bats is a good thing. Tilson will get his shot after an L. Gar injury, or 6 weeks of Cordell.

Lurker Laura

Ryan Cordell: the latest candidate for We Need a Pleasant Surprise. I hope he makes it work.

WilburWoodWasTheMan

I hope so, too. Like Tilson, he has good potential to be a 4th outfielder on a contenting ballclub, due to his average or better defense at all positions. I think his bat could provide value in limited opportunities.

Jeff

This is encouraging. Even though Cordell is likely not any kind of long-term answer, we know that Palka and Engel suck. Cordell appears to have a broader skill set than the others and he deserves some consistent AB’s. It will be a welcome respite from the ineptitude they have been trotting out there.

metasox

Cordell was always a reasonably interesting prospect. I know KATOH suggested he was worth keeping an eye on. Good to see him get a chance.

If Tilson’s legs are back, worth seeing him at some point as well

karkovice squad

If Cordell can approach being a league average player, the Sox have something like an average outfield. Engel/Garcia/Cordell manage to offset Jimenez’s defensive liabilities in the aggregate. Jimenez’s bat can offset Engel’s deficiencies at the plate. And assuming Jay comes back healthy, they can work out a reasonable platoon.

It’s not as good as if they had taken a more straightforward path like Harper, McCutchen, or Brantley but it’d be passable. As is, they do already have a middle of the pack offense by way of testing the outer limits of superstars and superscrubs.

Jason.Wade17

Tim Anderson to be suspended…. Um… ok

Patrick Nolan

That’s absolutely ridiculous and stupid. This league, man.

knoxfire30

wow, where the hell is the players union on this????

knoxfire30

Im assuming he files one right???

yinkadoubledare

It sounds like he isn’t, which is baffling.

Lurker Laura

Are the Royals the men behind the MLB curtain? This makes me more angry than any other White Sox thing in past year, and there have been plenty of things.

Patrick Nolan

The dumbest thing about this is that if he gets 5 games and Keller gets 5 games, Anderson misses 5 games and Keller has a start pushed back a day.

Of course, we haven’t figured out whether Keller’s gotten 5 games…or anyone on the Royals.

Patrick Nolan

And a five game suspension for Keller. It’s still bullshit. A one-game suspension for a position player is actually a more harsh punishment than a 5-game suspension for a starting pitcher. You need to suspend the starting pitcher 9 games to make it equivalent, otherwise a start is simply delayed.

Patrick Nolan

I’m wrong here. It should be the same fraction of a season played. 5 games for position player = 9 games for starting pitcher (each loses 5/162nds of a season). But below that level it’s hard to make the two equal, because managers can simply play with off days and such to make sure the SP doesn’t actually miss any time.

Brett R. Bobysud

So let me get this straight…

Keller misses maybe 1 start after assaulting somebody.

Anderson misses 1 game because he hurt a snowflake, ass-hole (sorry for language) umpire’s feelings.

Nice job MLB.

Wonder what Benetti & Stone will have to say about this on tonight’s broadcast.

GrinnellSteve

Keller doesn’t even miss a start. He gets pushed back a day. If they made it 9 games, then he’d miss a turn. If they handle the appeal right, they can job it so they don’t even have to adjust the rotation.

ForsterFTOG

Doesn’t Keller get fined 5 game checks as opposed to 1 game check for Anderson?

Patrick Nolan

I think we need to know what language he used.

NDSox12

Yeah… I’m having a hard time determining how outraged I should be without knowing that.

Lurker Laura

Yes, there are some things that should not be tolerated. We all know what they are. If and until we have confirmation that it was something unacceptable, I’m going to consider this BS.

Lurker Laura

True. So I can continue thinking this is all BS then, cool.

Patrick Nolan

Heh.

Brett R. Bobysud

And Schwarber got nothing for charging and using foul language toward an umpire who made the correct call.

mikeyb

Please be cracker please be cracker please be cracker. This would be the funniest possible outcome to an already hilarious scenario.

Lurker Laura

@mikeyb Yes, please.

Lurker Laura

Okay, fine. I’ll stop being annoyed for now. This whole situation is still remarkably dumb, in that it all started with a bat flip. But I suppose one game for that is fine.

karkovice squad

You had the right of it with your initial reaction. Anderson’s use wasn’t racially charged. A white ump ejecting him and referring him to the league office for a suspension is, particularly with the history of West seeking a pretext to eject him once before.

This is the baseball equivalent of getting pulled over and cuffed for driving while black.

Lurker Laura

@karkovice squad Yes. I think my initial reaction yesterday, that both Keller and West’s reaction had a whiff of “son, know your place” is still true. My “fine” reaction was more about being relieved it wasn’t 5 games, I think. This all just smells bad. But I think TA’s reaction today was spot-on, and I’m going to follow his lead. Flush it.

karkovice squad

I think TA’s reaction is appropriate since his livelihood is at stake. As fans, we have the privilege to call out the bullshit for what it is.

Brett R. Bobysud

So what this essentially comes down to is white umpires getting upset that the only black player on the White Sox used that word…after getting assaulted by a white pitcher.

Whoo-boy…baseball in a doo-doo situation.

Lurker Laura

@Brett R. Bobysud Yeah, it’s dumb and MLB knows it. Which is why it’s only 1 game.

asinwreck

It’s a great look for MLB the week it celebrates Jackie Robinson Day.

melidoperez

The next time TA gets a hurt feelings drilling, instead of shouting anything, he should simply do the Tomahawk Chop while walking to first. Probably the safest way to avoid any type of insensitivity suspension from the paragons of virtue in the league office.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Always found honkey much funnier than cracker.

Brett R. Bobysud

Well now Passan’s saying the White Sox players were not asked specifically what Anderson said.

It came entirely from the umpires who said it was uttered “within earshot of both teams”.

So…I’m still inclined to believe this is because West got his feelings hurt.

Brett R. Bobysud

Somebody did point out that Jesus Aguilar wasn’t suspended at all for using homophobic language during the playoffs last year.

On the other hand, that was during the playoffs, but they’ve been kind of all over the place.

ParisSox

I’m truly baffled. I thought he’d get suspended for insulting an umpire directly to the press “Joe West is terrible and everybody knows it”.  But no. A  black player using the N-word bothers them more. Huh.  

Lurker Laura

I hope the moment the Sox are home, the crowd gives TA a standing ovation. What nonsense.

5742mail

Luis Robert should be in center, but since this is not about having your best player play they will stick with Engel. No matter how bad he is offensively. Palka is not the offensives player we need,it’s all he or miss. He probably would have struck out more than Moncada with the same number of at bats.
Gilson should get a shot in center, moving Garcia to second which could be their most potent lineup. Joel Booker should be close,for his speed and offense. Offensively Engel has never been a threat, every level has gone down. Maybe he can go down and learn how to use his speed.

GoGoSoxFan

Did you ever use the name FloridaJim?

melidoperez

The fans of teams who don’t try need to have some say in the next CBA regarding below replacement players being shoved down our throats, if only for variety. Can’t begin to express how nice it was to see Notpalka make positive contributions, and how nice it would have been to see Notengel have a chance the previous day with the bases loaded and the game on the line. Maybe 500-600 PAs. Sure there could be some sadness when a favorite like Palka reaches his limit, but they could tantalize us with what’s next. “We know some of you are sad to see Adam Engel no longer helping the team the only way he can by jumping for home runs, but did you know Sox fans that Joel Booker was voted best drag bunter by Southern League managers?

5742mail

What do you think Engel’s batting average is with men in scoring position? “0.99”. That might be on the high side.

5742mail

Why is Engel playing instead of Rondon? Offensively and defensively Rondon should be the choice with Garcia in center.

Brett R. Bobysud

BTW, I don’t know if anyone else has observed this, but when you point out how Schwarber didn’t get suspended at all for charging an ump and compare it to what happened to Anderson, a certain part of Cubs fandom gets really triggered for some reason.