As injuries mount, all 40-man roster spots under scrutiny

Luis Basabe

The active roster expanded for the abbreviated 60-game season, and while it will draw down from 30 to 28 on Thursday, it’ll carry the two extra spots the rest of the season. That’s probably good news on the whole, but it’s not without complications. The active roster keeps its bloated state without a proportional increase on the 40-man roster, and as injuries pile up on the former, it’s starting to create some tension on the latter.

The White Sox already had to make one unusual choice on Monday when they placed Carlos Rodón on the injured list on Tuesday. They tapped the heretofore nondescript non-roster invitee Brady Lail to replace him on the pitching staff, and in order to make room on the 40-man, they designated Luis Basabe for assignment.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Basabe was a top-10 talent in a deep system. There was a lot to like on paper — a switch-hitting center fielder with enough bat speed to take a Hunter Greene fastball deep in the Futures Game.

While he was able to turn around 103 mph on the national stage, Basabe hasn’t been able to reverse his fortunes since. An OK introduction to Birmingham during the second half of 2018 was followed by one setback after another (broken hamate, leg injuries, consequently worse showing in Birmingham). The halting of the 2020 season afforded him a minimal opportunity to right the ship, and even then, his time in summer camp ended with a bruised foot.

Three of Basabe’s four seasons with the White Sox were compromised — two by injures, and one by everything swirling around us, which also happened to include an injury. Because the White Sox put him on the 40-man roster to avoid A-ball poachers in 2017, they used up his last minor-league option this season. The lack of reps and the timing are all conspiring against his White Sox career.

The White Sox seemingly have less valuable players they could have cut first. Seby Zavala is the team’s fifth catcher, although the Royals were without all three of their 40-man catchers early in summer camp after two of them contracted COVID-19, so perhaps it’s better to have depth in that department. Jose Ruíz keeps getting lapped by every other right-handed pitcher regardless of 40-man status, so he doesn’t have such emergency consideration on his side. Blake Rutherford and Micker Adolfo are lesser outfielders than Basabe, but they stand a better chance of being worth a look in March 2022 than Basabe does by March 2021.

Any of those other players could be the next on the chopping block next, and given the pace of injuries and the scrambling that results, they might have to be. Basabe probably isn’t going to figure out how to make himself rosterable for a contending team over the next seven months, so he was going to lose his grip on the roster spot at some point. The Sox decided there was no time like the present, and if the Sox retain him after his exposure to the waiver wire, it’ll better explain the team’s priorities.

Basically, it’d be a bummer if the White Sox parted with an athletic outfielder with promise for a spare arm in a nonstandard season, but Basabe is far more valuable to the White Sox off the 40-man roster than on it, and that only becomes more true the deeper the White Sox have to dig. We’ll see what moves they’re compelled to take when they issue updates on Nick Madrigal and Edwin Encarnación, but DH and second base are two areas where the White Sox actually have sufficient depth, at least in a cursed season.

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youhadmeatabreu

If they continue to keep Seby methinks the one valuable asset they would consider shopping for a need is McCann. He’s off to a good start. otherwise it would seem too many are ahead of Zavala.

Malkatraz

Seby is the third catcher, not the fifth. I think the FO realizes Collins and Mercedes are not catchers.

joewho112

Seby isn’t a major league player

GrinnellSteve

What infield options do the Sox have right now? Timmy is out. I bet Madrigal is IL’ed. Moncada has tweaked his groin a couple of times. So there’s Leury, Mendick, and Goins. Who am I missing? Yermin or Vaughn to third? Ray Durham? Gordon Beckham?

Patrick Nolan

It’s a popular talking point right now, but Nicky Delmonico feels like a pretty bad use of a 40-man spot at this point. It’s probably not worth being up in arms over Basabe vs. Delmonico, but at the very least, Delmonico should be insulation against Rutherford / Adolfo / anyone else to whom the Sox can give another season to figure themselves out.

As Cirensica

I really don’t get the enamoring with Delmonico, but I guess the FO thinks he is a better hitter than Basabe or Rutherford. His defense is bad, but in the overall, Nicky might provide more value than Basabe or Rutherford whom might need a 162 games season so their defensive value catches up with Delmonico’s offense. So, for this very short season, I can see how Delmonico has more value. But in any event, we are talking about bad, badder, and awful here so there is not really too much worth discussing.

Yolmer

Nicky has just had too many major league at bats to expect anything but a AAAA player. Heck, I rather see what Palka is up to, but he’s in the Korean league.

dwjm3

Madrigal has a separated shoulder…Could be back by months end according to Hahn

asinwreck

While there’s a range of severity with that injury, that’s not the worst news given Madrigal’s immediate reaction.

iowasox1971

I still don’t understand why he was grabbing his wrist so much if it was a separated shoulder.

PopeDonnPall

I’ve had a shoulder injury (though not this exact one.) Literally the weight of your arm and any movement of your arm hurts like hell. So I’m sure he was holding his wrist to stabilize it since he couldn’t really move it or hold it up without causing intense pain.

LuBob DuRob

This is definitely good news. If it wasn’t a severe separation, no fractures and no tendon/ligament damage, he could be swinging a bat in a couple weeks perhaps. I think the wrist grabbing is akin to wearing a sling.