Danny Mendick kept Nick Madrigal’s seat warm

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 31: Chicago White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal (1) bats during the game against the Kansas City Royals on July 31, 2020 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire)

The Jarrod Dyson trade is official, and in order to make room for one left-handed outfielder, they had to remove one apiece from each of their rosters.

On the 40-man, Nicky Delmonico has been designated for assignment for the second time this season.

On the 28-man, the White Sox shifted Luis González back to the team’s alternate training site in Schaumburg.

González won’t be the only one taking the Kennedy. Zack Collins is also heading the Schaumburg, as the White Sox optioned their third catcher in order to reinstate Nick Madrigal from the injured list.

Collins’ optioning is only surprising in that Rick Renteria seemed to enjoy the flexibility a third catcher provided. Managers are usually reluctant to throw both of their catchers in the same lineup because one foul tip can leave them hanging, but with Collins on the bench, Renteria used Yasmani Grandal and James McCann in the same lineup for seven of the team’s 31 games.

But while Collins’ presence allowed a couple of his teammates to play more, the benefits didn’t trickle down his way. He went just 1-for-16 with two walks and five strikeouts over nine games, only four of which were starts. That said, his only start behind the plate resulted in a win that Dane Dunning started, so he didn’t gum up the works. Further Dancing for Dubs will have to wait.

It’s a little unusual that the White Sox didn’t make a similar position-for-position swap regarding Madrigal, because Ryan Goins‘ utility is further limited by the presence of Dyson. Seven of Goins’ 13 appearances have been in the form of a pinch runner, and Dyson’s better at that. Perhaps the Sox think there’s more value in extra infield bodies for the time being, what with Madrigal’s post-injury effectiveness unknown, and with everybody holding their breath every time Yoán Moncada runs full speed.

Madrigal’s return is welcome, but it’s nice that it’s not desperately needed. In fact, there’s now a little pressure on him to uphold the standards.

When Madrigal separated his shoulder back on Aug. 4 against Milwaukee, the Sox sagged as though they lost a structural necessity, losing five of six before Dallas Keuchel’s intervention. They recovered to go 12-8 during Madrigal’s absence, and Madrigal’s replacement is one reason why.

Danny Mendick hit .290/.324/.493 with seven extra-base hits over 74 plate appearances (three homers, a triple, three doubles) after Madrigal departed with an injury. He more or less replaced Madrigal’s average (.294) and OBP (.333) while adding 200 points of slugging (.294).

Madrigal has the edge in defense, particularly the speed with which double plays are turned. If he can hold that .333 OBP, he’s quite useful at the bottom of a complete White Sox batting order, setting the table for the guys above him. In a lineup where Moncada isn’t himself and the second spot is less dynamic, Mendick contributed to the White Sox’s “offense from anywhere” potential, which helped offset their still troublesome teamwide plate discipline.

I’m guessing it’s not a strict choice between the second basemen at this juncture, because Mendick will probably be needed to shore up third base. Helping Renteria avoid starting Goins is its own big contribution, even if Mendick’s regular playing time is cut off. For the time being, Mendick did plenty with his big opportunity, so much so that should another batch of starts open up for him, it might not actually feel like bad news.

(Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire)

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As Cirensica

I am guessing Goins is not also warming a seat (Yolmer).

shaggy65

…everybody holding their breath every time Yoán Moncada runs full speed

I certainly would hold my breath, but I haven’t seen him run full speed since 2019.

karkovice squad

Seeing them able to go 3 deep in the infield has been a nice change and not really a luxury. Glad they got through Madrigal’s injury without having to give regular playing time to Cuthbert or Goins.

joewho112

I was surprised when they didn’t bench Moncada for for the Pirates series. If there were any two games you could get by with starting Goins, it was those two. Plus it would have to impact of 4 straight days off for Yoan.

But what do I know. Maybe Moncada’s issue isn’t going to get better any faster with 4 days rest.

joewho112

Not sure if that’s good news or bad news

GoGoSoxFan

I think you’re right Jim. I called my son to get his input on the post-Covid fatigue theory. He came down with it in April and “recovered” by the first week of May. Four months later and he’s just now reaching his pre-Covid strenght, but his cardio is still laggin behind normal. This Moncada might be the best we get through the whole season.

Shawn

Am I the only one who wants to keep Mendick as the regular?? I am quite concerned about big league adjustments/lumps that Madrigal will undoubtedly have. Mendick in my mind has earned his position, especially in a short year where we can’t afford growing pains. Extra Slugging with no OPS penalty compared to the strick OPS guy??
That being said, I’d like Madrigal in good matchups where Yoan needs extra rest and Mendick slips over to the corner.
I also like the idea of Madrigal trade bait because his value is very elevated due to his draft position with little contrary big league evidence. More big league reps might only serve to lower his trade value.

Otter

I’m kind of with you on Mendick keeping the starting spot. He’s played very well and I wouldn’t mind him being given the everyday job until he fails. You lose a little on D, but appear to gain a lot of pop.

HallofFrank

Let’s not forget Madrigal is a 55 FV prospect who had an .822 OPS & 117 wRC+ with elite defense in AAA last season. Mendick’s played well, but not well enough to warrant keeping a prospect of Madrigal’s caliber on the bench.

Start Madrigal now and, If he struggles, then play Mendick more over the last two weeks of the season. Unless Madrigal just bombs, I’m betting any advantage Mendick has over Madrigal is razor thin, but Madrigal has a chance to be a fair bit better than Mendick.

Trooper Galactus

2019 Charlotte Knights wRC+
Ryan Goins: 141
Zack Collins: 140
Ramon Torres: 136
Nicky Delmonico: 128
Daniel Palka: 126
Matt Skole: 123

Varying sample sizes, but I’d pump the brakes on using Madrigal’s AAA stats as something to bolster his case.

HallofFrank

Well, his AAA stats do bolster his case (even if you don’t weigh them heavily).

Plus, you’ve kind of missed the point. I’m not saying “Madrigal hit in AAA = he’ll hit in MLB.” The point was he’s a highly touted prospect with nothing but success at the higher levels of the minor leagues (he was actually better in AA) — which is not true of any of the players from your list.

Trooper Galactus

My point is those are all AAAA players who got Peter-Principled in MLB. Yes, Madrigal has a skill set that could be very interesting in the majors, but there is a strong possibility that his minor league game just doesn’t translate against the highest level of competition. At a minimum, we know the defense will play.

Eagle Bones

Take a look at mendicks statcast metrics before getting too upset. Not that I expect madrigal to pound the ball, but mendick appears to have been rather fortunate with his batting line so far.

asinwreck

The Yankees just released Luis Avilan, in case the Sox would like to reunite with an old friend who throws left-handed.

Eagle Bones

Does feel like they could use some lefty depth unless there’s a positive update on bummer I’ve missed.

Gutteridge70

I would not have said this 21 days ago but Madrigal has some pretty big pants to fill given Mendick’s recent performance.

iowasox1971

Madrigal shouldn’t start a game at second until we suffer our next loss. The team is playing well, and we don’t need to change something that’s working. Once we lose a game or two, and Mendick cools off, then we can have Madrigal start there again.

craigws

Or, better to bring a player – who will hopefully be part of the team for years – into a winning team so he doesn’t need to press as much (which, given Madrigal’s mindset, is all the more helpful).

Otter

While it is too early to say Encarnacion is washed, with each game and 0 fer 4 with 2 strike out performance, we do inch closer (I’ve probably just MFed him into two homers tonight which would be good). Anyway, that being the case, there probably is an opportunity for Collins to DH once in a while against righties. I’m not a Collins fan, but he probably could best Encarnacion’s .182/.250/.429 and provide more certainty about the 2021 team in the process (Encarnacion won’t be back, Collins might be around for lefty power or even the backup C). This is a long way of saying, I’m very surprised Goins wasn’t DFAed.

Oddvark

As we pass the half-way point of the season, I’ve been thinking about the various players that the Sox acquired over the off-season who have options (or could be non-tendered) for 2021. Most of those players look like busts so far. Will we pick up options on any of these players:

$12,000,00 – Edwin Encarnacion — with Andrew Vaughn waiting in the wings, I’d guess no

$7,000,000 – Gio Gonzalez — he hasn’t been great, but he’s not useless, so maybe? A lot depends on what Lopez/Dunning/Rodon (and potentially Stiever/Flores) do the rest of 2020

$6,750,000 – Steve Cishek — with the emergence of Foster, Heuer, and Burdi, this seems like a clear no

$6,000,000-ish (arb) – Nomar Mazara — unless they sign Springer (unlikely, I think) or swing a big off season trade, I’d bet that the Sox keep Mazara for 2021

HallofFrank

They are all clearly “no” for me. Edwin and Cishek are most obvious. I wouldn’t mind them bringing back Gio, but not at that price. His ERA and FIP have both made huge jumps in 2020 and he’s currently worth -0.2 WAR. I can’t imagine he touches $7m in the open market.

I’d be tempted by Mazara if he breaks out in the 2nd half, but, at this point, penciling him in as a full-time RF for 2021 is almost indefensible. Even if they don’t spring for Springer, there will be far superior RF options in the budget bin.

Foulkelore

The total of those 4 options for next year: $31.75 million; Mookie Betts new contract/year: $30.42 million. Now, I still doubt they would have been willing to beat the Dodgers and others for the total cost commitment, but certainly interesting that they could replace those 4 guys with the big Mookie Betts contract and be almost cost neutral from an annual payroll perspective.

As Cirensica

I wouldn’t keep Mazara even if we don’t sign Springer. Engel is already better than Mazara.

oldtimer

I would pass on all of them. Adding in Herera $$ it’s like we have $40M to strengthen the 2021 roster. I know a chunk will go to salary increases, but having some financial flexibility going forward puts us in a good position.

Oddvark

I’m pretty sure we’re paying Herrera the money in 2021, so I don’t think you count that as extra money to spend.

jorgefabregas

He has 3 doubles and 3 homeruns in his past 7 games. Peripherals aren’t great during that time, but it’s been good enough for a 160 RC+. We’ll see, but I wouldn’t write him off just yet.

peanutsNcrackerjack

No settling for Mazara. We are building a perennial playoff team, with not a lot of holes. Left handed hitting top tier outfielder should be a high priority. No one is coming from the prospect pool.

Trooper Galactus

EE’s career numbers suggest he takes about 30+ games to heat up and about 50-60 games to turn into a monster. If the White Sox are banking on this by sticking with him, he should be hitting beast mode come playoff time.