The White Sox’s late-season roster picture gained some clarity over the past couple days, for better or for worse.
In the loss column, the White Sox officially declared Nick Madrigal done for the season. He underwent surgery to repair the proximal tendon tears in his right hamstring, eliminating his chances of returning in 2021. That seemed to be the most likely outcome based on the tenor of Rick Hahn’s comments, although everybody involved waited a few days before confirming the course.
The subsequent posts about everybody affected by Madrigal’s injury and Danny Mendick’s best chance at solidifying his role were written with that outcome in mind. I wouldn’t have minded Madrigal miraculously rendering them partially irrelevant, but there is some value in closure.
If there is a transition to an external solution, Mendick’s doing a nice job at making it seamless. He’s smothering everything on the right side of second base, and he’s hit in five straight games, including the go-ahead hit in Tuesday’s impressive victory over the Rays. He’s 6-for-19 with two doubles, three walks and an HBP over this stretch.
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On the plus side, Eloy Jiménez is returning to baseball activities a little bit earlier than expected. The original timetable for recovering from his ruptured pectoral tendon was five to six months, which would’ve put him in line for a late-August return at the earliest.
But he’s cleared to start the sport-specific start of the comeback trail this week. The White Sox’s description now puts late July in play.
There’s a chance that Jiménez could beat the four-week minimum just like he beat the initial prognosis, but even if the White Sox adhere to that track, it still makes Jiménez’s potential contributions a little easier to envision as the trade deadline approaches.
I’ve been hesitant to consider Jiménez and Luis Robert built-in late-season upgrades because any Nate Jones and Carlos Rodón will tell you that way lies disappointment. It’d suck to see the White Sox pass on a potential corner outfield/DH supplement because they’re banking on a comeback that doesn’t quite materialize. If Jiménez can start a rehab stint by the ides of July, the Sox have a few weeks around that date to make plans in case of a setback.
The hope is that Robert will join Jiménez shortly in order to double the White Sox’s chances of finding some help from within. Rick Hahn’s vagueness on injury updates didn’t mask any delay for Jiménez when he spoke about them in the wake of Madrigal’s injury …
“Each of them are deep into Phase 1 (of their recoveries) and closing in on getting ready for Part 2, which is the clearance and resumption of baseball activity.”
… so perhaps the White Sox will be able to go 2-for-2 with Part 2 before the close of the week.
(Photo by Rob Grabowski/Icon Sportswire)
Any thoughts on what Eloy’s injury might do to his power initially? There’s a difference between being back in the lineup and being ELOY JIMENEZ!!! The former may be helpful; the latter is a huge upgrade.
I guess we will know once he is back.
Think it all depends on how fast he is back up with the big club. If he arrives later in say September I would bet against him having much of an impact, but say he arrives closer to early August and can build up with about 45-50 games going into the post season I would imagine that gets him back to upper 90s percentile of his usual strength/power
Good point on not passing on an opportunity to trade for a corner OF. Even with Robert and Eloy playing last year, their weakness as a team was right handed pitching. Their rotation is fantastic and gives them a chance in any playoff series. If they come up short it will likely be because of run support issues, esp vs righties, so they should be aggressive to add a left handed bat if they can trade for one from their minor leagues. I doubt they will add anybody great, or give up anybody they will lament, but think they are a good bet to do something.
Many people think the White Sox should target an outfielder. I think that’s not the priority if Eloy and Robert returns are looming:
Players that can play OF: Leury Garcia, Vaughn, J. Lamb, Engel, Hamilton, Andrew Vaughn, Adam Eaton and Goodwin
Players that can play 2B or SS: Tim Anderson, Danny Mendick and Leury Garcia
With Madrigal out for the season, the need of an additional infielder in this organization is higher than the need for outfield help. Sure, we will all love upgrades, but resources need to be utilized wisely. In areas of greater needs.
As a contender, Hahn should reinforce the infield options. Many people mentioned Ketel Marte. Sure, I would love to have him, but he will cost dearly, and one of the things I am loving from the White Sox right now is that the farm has provided the pieces for the team to be a contender. I don’t want the White Sox to deplete it.
The perfect fit for this team is Asdrubal Cabrera. He is a cheap player, with post season experience, switch hitter, with a lot more power than Leury and Mendick. Low ceiling but very solid floor. He can play SS, 3B and 2B in short stints without being a liability. He can DH (Mercedes job security is tenue right now) if needed. It’s a perfect rental. Season ends, he gone and we won’t lament it. Better of all, he won’t cost significant prospects. The Diamondbacks needs to restock their prospects even if they aren’t high ceiling.
I highly doubt adding Asdrubal Cabrera ups the likelihood of winning a playoff series against a team like the Rays. It may make sense to add somebody like that and a outfielder, but he isnt likely to make a huge difference on his own.
I also think when a lot of us mention wanting an outfielder we are thinking beyond just this year. We like to get that position settled beyond this year.
Lastly, you focused to much on the bodies we have that can play a position and not enough on whether they can be difference makers at the positions. We are fighting for marginal wins now and it is tough to see how stop gaps will get you those marginal wins.
I’m with you, I hope the Sox don’t add some marginal improvement player who optimistically would add a little more than what they currently have at 2b/RF; and with the Sox history, they’d pick the wrong one who would regress immediately. Without researching any stats, here’s looking at you Frazier, Cabrera, etc.
I’m also more concerned about what the starting lineups might look like, not as much about the possible reserves. I’m more comfortable with Mendick at 2B than Eaton, Leury, Hamilton and even Lamb on a regular basis in the OF; I really don’t know about Goodwin. I think Eaton is on his last legs (literally), and Leury has risen one peg above his optimum use as a supersub. Yeah I know he’s gotten a few hits lately, but they’re mainly the kind that Hawk would lament about if hit by the other team.
Sox should target a non-rental outfieder who can help against righthanders, whether that be Gallo, Hanniger, Marte or the X-factor. Yes they give up some depth, but they also solve the outfield situation at least for 2022 – which Jerry probably won’t allow to be solved, leaving Hahn to continue the string of cheap-but-useless RF bargin-binners.
“Bargain-binners”. Brain fade for senior citizens.
I largely agree, but disagree in part. Cabrera is at least a nice upgrade over Mendick; extra points for being a switch-hitter. He’d also be insurance against having both Leury and Mendick as regulars for a length of time or playoffs–it would not surprise me to see TA or Yoyo go down at some point.
You’re absolutely right about the distinction between “guys who can play outfield” vs “difference maker.” Give me an outfield of Robert-Jimenez-Engel and I want an insurance plan, and perhaps in the form of a lefty who could DH and who is not named Leury, Eaton, Clam, or Billy Hamilton.
Well, if the Sox had been thinking beyond this year they would have added a multi-year contract with a right fielder in either of the past two offseasons. And that’s what they should have done – act when all it would cost was money. But they didn’t.
So now we are kind of hoping, but not really expecting, that they’ll trade away some precious prospects from a thin farm to acquire a multi-year outfielder who we are hoping will be a real upgrade over current in-house options (numerous and insufficient!). But…the player can maybe be acquired with our prospects but he won’t accept payment for services rendered in prospects…so in the end we are hoping that our owner will approve a trade for a legit starting caliber player that he will have to pay for multiple years.
I won’t hold my breath.
Acquiring Cabrera is not to be seen as a “difference maker” move. We are past that stage. We already have the difference makers. We temporarily lost one for the season. Hahn does not need to seek for difference makers right now. What we need is adequacy, and some sort of a solid net at the right price. The White Sox are done looking into “difference makers” in 2020. We have a strong core. We need to minimize the black holes, and add flexibility.
Losing Madrigal puts the White Sox into a fragile state in the infield in my opinion. Tim Anderson and Leury Garcia have history of getting injured from time to time. Same as Moncada. Without Madrigal, we have fewer options, and there is no one in the minors that can help unless you think Tim Beckham is a passable option.
Right field is a black hole. In fact it more of black hole than second base as we don’t have a lockdown player there moving forward.
If you look at various models we were behind the Rays in win projection even with Madrigal, so you not only need adequacy at second but an additional piece if your goal is to win the American League. We are somewhere around a game or two worse than the Rays.
Lastly, you are never “done” adding difference makers. I think any GM is always on the hunt for difference makers it is just a question of whether an opportunity presents itself. It isn’t like the free agent market is stocked with right fielders this offseason.
We have a black hole in RF by design, not by injuries. We have enough OF depth to cope. Can’t say the same around the infield. Once we get back Eloy and possibly Robert, Eaton’s problem becomes palatable with some internal platoon options. Unlike Robert and Eloy, Madrigal won’t come back this year. That’s an immediate problem. Not addressing it, means we will run Leury and Mendick into the post season. We will rely more on them than we would like to. And if any of them goes down with an injury, La Russa won’t have as many options as he currently has in the OF.
Like it or not, Cabrera is a better hitter than Mendick and Leury. Cabreara has played in 5 post seasons including a World Series his team won. Cabrera won’t hurt, and it should be pretty cheap.
What evidence is there to suggest that Eaton is a viable platoon option at this point. His numbers have plummeted over the last month? He doesn’t even look like he has his legs under him. It has been four years since the Sox had solid production in right field. Avi was a four win player in 2017. There is a clear issue there that isn’t likely to be addressed internally real easily.
Furthermore, we don’t know that Robert is coming back this year. Hahn hasn’t confirmed that he will return.
I acknowledged that Cabrera may be a better fit than Mendick, but as I already said he isn’t enough to close the gap with the Rays. You still haven’t explained how they close the gap with the Rays. Cabrera doesn’t get them to that point.
Of note Cabrera has been worth .8 f/war in 44 games and Mendick has been worth .4 f/war in 33 games. The gap isn’t exactly large.
Eaton is a problem, but at least he can play, and we have a bunch of OF out there. Madrigal is done for the season. The gap between the Rays and the White Sox is not large. Both teams will make the playoff. In short series, the gaps in however way you want to measure it are a crapshoot and hold not much predictable value. I read somewhere some time ago that the only decent predictor in playoffs series is strike outs. The team that strikes out fewer times has a strong correlation to win short series.
We might take 2 games out of 3 as the White Sox are beating Tampa 6×2 in the 6th inning without Eloy, Madrigal, Moncada, and Robert. The gap to close appears to be on the Rays’ side rather than ours.
Well, this is aging very poorly
Every model I’ve seen thinks Tampa is 1-2 games better than us. It is better to fill holes than just hope it all works out. We don’t know if the models are accurate but we do know we have some holes.
To be fair, Leury and Mendick would be less of a problem if we had a right fielder. The problems are interconnected because Leury (and occasionally Mendick) have needed to be part of the solution to both problems.
I think adding someone like Cabrera, who I have seen a fair bit (lived in DC during his time there), is not enough of an upgrade at this point in his career over guys Leury Garcia/Danny Mendick to be worth the hassle.
Everyone has their own opinions here. Mine is that we have a ton of adequacy. What we need is something more than that. But I don’t think we’ll get it by trading away the adequate /platoon/ bench pieces we have unless we luck into a good 3-way (fun phrase to write!). And I don’t know if we have the pieces or the budget to acquire a difference maker.
We don’t have depth in the infield. It is about depth more than upgrades. Speaking of which:
Cabrera => .263/.371/.429 wRC+121 fWAR 0.8
Leury => .253/.313/.320 wRC+ 81 fWAR 0.2
Mendick => .233/.341/.342 => wRC+ 99 fWAR 0.4
That’s a significant upgrade if it all is gonna cost is a pair of Alex Calls.
I’ve posted this before. Asdrúbal Cabrera is not a 2b/ss at this point in his career. He hasn’t played an inning at ss since 2018 and hasn’t played an inning at 2b since 2019. He has pitched twice since he last played middle infield defensively.
Asdrúbal Cabrera will turn 36 in November. He is listed as being 6′ 0″ and 235 pounds and looks heavier. He can still hit but if acquired he would have to get his at-bats playing 3b,1b, and dh.
Since when did a player not playing a certain position stop the White Sox from playing them there?
Cabrera is a passable patch for 3 months, and a likely post season, not a stalwart 2B aiming for a gold glove. He won’t have enough time to have his fieldwork to hurt us. Defensive replacements can be made when leading in the late innings. As an adding bonus, Cabrera hits very well vs RHP, which we sorely need. Honestly, the way Yermin has looked lately, I rather have Cabrera as our DH, and emergency 2B.
Cabrera (good suggestion) or Escobar from the DBacks might be decent options and an upgrade over Mendick offensively. Neither would likely cost much in terms of prospects. Probably ditto Peralta. Trade talks with the D-Backs were rumored a little while back, several possibilities make sense.
The Sox farm system is already depleted. They have no top 100 prospects, and are not going to get help from Charlotte this year or probably next. Anybody they trade, provided it is not Vaughn, Crochet, Kopech, or Cease is probably going to be of marginal value to them in the long run. With their rotation this year and the likely loss of 1 or 2 of them, I maintain this might be their best shot at a title of the whole rebuild. If they can get a 2b and/or an OF to help this year, by all means they should. Getting rental help at 2b and OF without giving up much might be the best way to go. Could get Peralta and an infielder from AZ.
Escobar also works. He will be a nice depth that should be cheap to obtain. He can’t hit well RHP though. Cabrera can.
losing madrigal really sucks. he’d been on fire. the last 30 days his slash line was .365./420/.568. that’s just impossible to replace.
getting eloy back is just huge for the OF/DH rotation. yermin looks as lost as anyone has ever looked at the plate. he’s really in a funk. the swings are defensive and, at times, even awkward. some really strange contact, too. he’s been a disaster for longer than he was good at this point and in june he has a wRC+ of 9.
It’s on Yermin if this is the case, but I can’t help but wonder if the whole unwritten rule fiasco just messed with Yermin’s mojo and basically ruined it. He hasn’t been the same since. It’s on him to get over it, but still… I think TLR is a pariah and has detracted from the vibe and overall production of this team in unseen ways. They would have been better off with literally anybody else.
He isn’t covering major league fastballs. The league adjusted and he hasn’t it.
He looked bad against low 80s breaking pitches yesterday. It isn’t just velocity.
I’m glad to see that Tony is sitting him today.
No. In the ~two weeks of May prior to the unwritten rule fiasco, Yermín had a .628 OPS with 0 HR (2 XBH). The league just figured Yermín out. He needs to make adjustments. Otherwise, I guess the middle of the order will continue to have a black hole until Eloy comes back.
What’s up with today’s lineup? I guess circumstances have dictated a large part of it, but both Goodwin and Lamb in against a good lefty while Eaton sits?
Oops. I meant Engel. Too many Adam E’s.
Maybe Engel is experiencing some soreness day to day and that’s why he is not playing all the time. Or b/c it’s a day game after a night. Otherwise it makes no sense. I hope they start playing him every day soon, and that he is able. Today is one weak lineup for them, that’s for sure.
Apparently the medical staff doesn’t want Engel playing a day game after a night game just yet and since he’s apparently dealing with some leg soreness, I’m fine with caution at this point in time.
Ah, circumstances. Thanks.
No Moncada today….it’s ridiculous to imagine the Sox offense can continue to be competitive when it’s this thin. Count my vote for trading for a legit RF…preferably one with one more year of control. If you can get Frazier or Haniger with any of the Sox prospects + someone like Heuer I hope they do it.
Would be great, if they make a trade, to acquire a guy with a multi-year contract. I don’t know if they do it, but it would be great.
Also, it would be great if labor and management are able to reach agreement on a new CBA so that we’ll have baseball in 2022.