White Sox’s depth takes hits with Jimmy Cordero’s surgery, Adam Engel’s injury

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 29: Chicago White Sox pitcher Jimmy Cordero (50) throws to the plate during the MLB game between the Chicago White Sox and the Kansas City Royals on August 29, 2020 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

The slow erosion of the White Sox’s roster depth crept ever closer to the mainland over the weekend, which isn’t even over yet.

On Friday, the White Sox announced that Jimmy Cordero underwent Tommy John surgery. Cordero had only made two appearances during the spring, and was last seen failing to complete an inning of work against the Padres on March 9, allowing three hits and two walks while getting just two outs.

Cordero didn’t figure to be a part of the Opening Day bullpen, especially after the White Sox announced the immediate plans for Michael Kopech. He did have a minor league option remaining, and looked like a good bet to pick up a fair amount of games. He wasn’t as bad as Rick Renteria’s overreliance made him look, but his stuff did slide backward a bit as well, so it’s possible Cordero’s heavy usage compounded problems.

However it happened, the White Sox will have to go without the services of Cordero’s considerable right arm, with the hope that guys like Zack Burdi and Tyler Johnson recover from their disappointing springs to provide some depth from that next group up. Cordero’s surgery was called successful, although several drill bits melted down in the course of getting to the ligament, and one member of the excavation crew is still missing.

Adam Engel, conversely, continued to cement his presence in lineups against left-handed pitching with an explosive spring. He leads all White Sox hitters in slugging (.667), homers (3) and triples (2).

Now the question is whether his numbers will freeze there for the remainder of the spring. He exited the game in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game against Cleveland after a running catch and throw, which almost thwarted a sac fly despite the obvious pain.

He walked off the field with a trainer escort, but not trainer assistance. Still, the White Sox are calling it a strained right hamstring, with further evaluation required before putting a timetable on it.

This is where Leury García comes in handy, since he’s hit lefties far better than righties over the last few years. The splits since the start of the 2018 season:

  • vs. RHP: .256/.290/.349
  • vs. LHP: .324/.350/.456

The bigger issue is one of confidence. Engel had the depth chart’s healthiest track record of the positions he covered, with both García and Adam Eaton better bets to miss time, and Engel more capable than anybody else of supporting Luis Robert in center field. Everybody else appear fully operational for the time being, but if Engel can’t get ready in time for Opening Day, García’s outfield availability becomes more crucial, with the utility infielder path perhaps cleared for Danny Mendick.

(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

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Willardmarshall

Sox tradition I wouldn’t miss: throwing out the first elbow of the season….

calcetinesblancos

I hope he can heal up quick. The Robert/Engel CF tandem has to be the best in baseball.

As Cirensica

We might see more Billy Hamilton than we would desire

asinwreck

Got to see Hamilton for a month with the Mets last year, and I think his bat will be exposed within a week of being back on a roster.

If Engel’s already getting leg injuries and the team is depending on Eaton’s durability, I think we should prepare for a few weeks of Starting Right Fielder Nick Williams.

ParisSox

FSRFNW

ParisSox

That’s not a slam against Mr. Williams, but more against management.

Holland23

‘Mr. Williams’ and ‘Management’ are not mutually exclusive 😉

jhomeslice

I agree. Hamilton cannot hit enough to start. They will either go with Leury Garcia, Williams, or not platoon Eaton and just keep him starting against lefties for a few games. I have not heard yet that Engel is even confirmed as headed to the DL, but he should not miss more than a few games hopefully in that case. With any luck maybe he will not even be out to start the season.

calcetinesblancos

If a bad player like Hamilton who wasn’t even on the roster a week ago starts the season with the team, that’s embarrassing for the Sox. It would either show that they objectively have no depth, they don’t have confidence in any of their younger players, or both. It’s also wasting valuable development opportunities on a 30 year old dude with a career .241 .296 .325 slash. Do they really not think any of their minor league outfielders could beat that? If so, that’s actually pretty sad lol.

But hey, if TLR likes the guy…

As Cirensica

Frankly speaking, I don’t see any minor league outfielder capable of putting a 241/296/325 slash at the major league level.

Trooper Galactus

Certainly not in this organization.

Denman

Hamilton isn’t a bad player as much as he is an extremely limited player. His defense is elite and his base running ability ranks with the best ever. The Sox still have Garcia who would serve as an adequate platoon with Eaton at least short term. The fact that the team is not eager to push Adolfo, B. Ruth or Cespedes beyond their current level of development doesn’t strike me as a knock on either any of these young players or the organization.

Last edited 3 years ago by Denman
calcetinesblancos

Cespedes I wouldn’t touch, but Adolpho is 24 and Rutherford will soon be 24, so I don’t see how it would be harmful for the development of either to face some MLB pitching. If anything, it would help them and speed things up.

Trooper Galactus

There are plenty of successful MLB players who made their debuts past the age of 24. Their issues are more of the sort where they could get pushed off the 40-man and exposed to waivers if they can’t prove some sort of utility before that happens.

Foulkelore

Cordero’s surgery was called successful, although several drill bits melted down in the course of getting to the ligament, and one member of the excavation crew is still missing.

This is absolutely hilarious. Thanks for adding levity to an unfortunate situation. I’ll be wearing my T-shirt sleeves rolled up as a tribute today.

jhomeslice

I found that pretty funny as well. The good news is as far as depth goes, Cordero was not a factor at all. He was so bad last year, and this year in the spring, that there was no way he was going to pitch unless they had multiple injuries at the same time. They have way too many decent relievers to worry about him, and Frye will be back in May as well. I wish him well in his recovery but doubt he will pitch again for the Sox.

asinwreck

I will be grouchy if Nik Turley pitches MLB innings for the Sox in 2021.

burning-phoneix

Frankly, I would be surprised if they can even fit him onto the 26 Man roster. Things would have to go straight to the disaster zone for that to happen. Fingers crossed.

Foulkelore

Merkin reporting that La Russa said that it will be “a couple of weeks” for Engel’s injury. So, that changes the opening day roster a bit. Before this, besides the locks, it was probably going to be 3 out of 4 of: Vaughn, Collins, Lucroy, Mendick, with one guy out. With Garcia probably the platoon starter in RF, I assume that helps Mendick make the roster, but they’ll probably want one of Vaughn/Collins/Lucroy to be replaced by Williams or Hamilton. I guess they could still carry 3 catchers, since they will still have 4 OFs with Garcia, if they really want to.

Foulkelore

Rodon and Lopez are both making this 5th starter competition really easy.

Trooper Galactus

I thought Lopez’s stuff backed up last season, but it’s just completely gone now. The fastball that he relied on to carry him no longer has plus velocity (topped out at 93.6, if the reports are accurate) and still has no movement. He’s throwing batting practice out there.

burning-phoneix

At the moment, I don’t even trust him to be placed in the Bullpen

andyfaust

agreed