A quick thought about a Nick Madrigal-White Sox reunion

Earlier this winter, Ken Rosenthal wondered aloud whether the White Sox might have interest in Salvador Pérez, mostly because the White Sox hired his mentor and friend as their new manager. It had all the markings of idle speculation at the time, and nothing came of it.

I was reminded of that episode when Bob Nightengale did the same thing with Nick Madrigal in his Sunday notebook

The White Sox, who picked second baseman Nick Madrigal in the first round of the 2018 draft and traded him to the Cubs in 2021 for veteran closer Craig Kimbrel, now have a chance to get him back. 

The Cubs no longer have room for Madrigal in the starting lineup after signing shortstop Dansby Swanson and shifting Nico Hoerner to second base, and guess who desperately needs a second baseman? 

Yep, the White Sox. 

… except that because Nightengale has an embossed coffee mug and ashtray in Jerry Reinsdorf’s office, one can’t merely dismiss it as a brain dropping. Just like Chuck Garfien dropped an “Adam Eaton might not be so bad” podcast a day before the White Sox made that move official, there’s a chance that Nightengale is laying similar track.

It could also just be column filler. Since Nightengale stopped one sentence short of saying the White Sox should reacquire Madrigal, everything he said is true. The Cubs lineup doesn’t have room for Madrigal. The White Sox still lack a fixture at second base. The White Sox probably could get him back if they wanted it enough.

The question is why they’d want it enough. The whole point in trading him while he was hurt was getting something of value for him while they still had the chance, because he basically needed to max out all of his physical abilities in order to be a plus player, and two season-ending surgeries in two years may have lowered the ceiling on what he could possibly have to offer. Sure enough, he returned from his hamstring tear in 2021 to pull both groin muscles along with a tweaked back in 2022.

The Cubs supposedly have an idea on helping Madrigal avoid future leg issues

For Madrigal, part of the solution to a healthy regiment in 2023 comes from advanced data the team has on each player’s biometrics through their running and other movements they make. According to some within the Cubs system, for Madrigal, that means the way he runs — Madrigal’s running pattern has him more upright than other players, meaning he’s putting more stress on his hamstrings, which can, in turn lead to hamstring or lower body injuries.

… and while that indeed be something worth trying, it may be a nominal effort to distract everybody from the highly legible writing on the wall. The Cubs also talked about all the high-tech training they were going to give Kyle Schwarber’s eyes and hands to improve his receiving, but they abandoned catching once it wasn’t necessary for his value.

In a scenario where the White Sox effectively shorted Madrigal and he turns into a Rule 5 pick — acquired from his team of origin, then sent back to that team for a fraction of the price — then sure, add him to the pile. Anything that makes a Romy Gonzalez/Lenyn Sosa breakout less necessary helps. It just doesn’t make the most sense to make him a priority, because the Sox already have enough guys who will probably lose their grip on a roster spot. That Madrigal does it by getting hurt is a distinction without a difference.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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This is probably, unavoidably, irrevocably, too white sox to not happen.


Another guy to throw at the 2B wall to see if he sticks won’t hurt. Well, hurt nothing but his hammys maybe…


I’m more fine with adding Madrigal on the cheap than I am with reading that Jimenez is going to RF during spring training. And Sheets is lining up there too.
Do they not learn anything over time? (Meaning the Sox.)


Nope they do not…. It has been wash-rinse-repeat for the last several years.

Yolmer's gatorade

The trade value tool has Madrigal at 5.9, which is around Sosa, Burger, Vera, Gonzalez, Pallette, and Schultz. Burger for Madrigal might not be horrible, but I’d probably still pass. Hard pass on the rest. A trade where the Cubs overpay is good, and I believe Madrigal will have value for an MLB team, but it seems futile to pay even value for him.


I’m not sure I’d trade Burger for him, but a hard no on all the rest as far as I’m concerned.


Would I trade Romy for Madrigal? Yes I wouldn’t have a problem with that.
I would also be interested in trading for Bryson Stott, a young LHH with some pop and can play multiple places? Yes, esp. if it could be for a trade starting around Burger. Get me both and I start to really like our IF.


Stott is the starting 2B on the playoff-hopeful Phillies. He’s a recent 1st round pick, recent top-100 prospect, and younger than Burger. His replacement at the MLB level is Edmundo Sosa, who’s better off as a utility infielder. They don’t have any near-ready prospects to replace him. The Phillies already have a poor fielding, right-handed 3B in Alec Bohm who’s also younger than Burger and considerably better. They have a roster full of DHs already.

Why would they have any interest in trading Stott, and why would they have any interest in acquiring Burger?


Yeah a bit too much wishing on my part. What I’d like is a young LHH MI with some pop who can sub at SS for TA and take over at 2B if needed. I still really like Terrin Vavra but I think he’d cost pitching

Last edited 1 month ago by upnorthsox

I traded Hendriks and change for Stott in my OPP. I doubt if that would work today.

Trooper Galactus

If Hahn traded Pallette, Schultz, Vera, or Sosa for Madrigal I’d be furious.


How about for Nicky Lopez……

Trooper Galactus

No. I’d offer somebody scuffling with upside at the most (say, Kath or Kelley).

Right Size Wrong Shape

“In a scenario where the White Sox effectively shorted Madrigal…”

Last edited 1 month ago by Right Size Wrong Shape

Ah good one. I didn’t catch that.


Little shortsighted…


Burger for Madrigal straight up sounds like a deal to me. The Cubs need help at first base and DH. The Sox obviously need help at 2B. Burger is blocked with the Sox. Madrigal is blocked with Cubs. They have roughly equal trade value on Trade Simulator. Burger may have a slightly higher upside. Madrigal may have a slightly higher floor. Both have troublesome injury histories. Both have pedigree as first round draft choices. So back to the future


Id still rather have Burger at this point. Him coming up when Moncada eventually gets hurt and hitting some dingers is a bigger team need then Madrigal coming in and hitting a few singles and running into outs on the basepaths when the team has enough singles hitters and dumb outs on the basepaths as it is.

Joliet Orange Sox

I hope we never see Burger “play third base” again. Like Vaughn in the outfield, I just don’t think he can hit enough to overcome the defensive liability. Statcast had Burger at –7 OAA and –5% success rate added last year.

I hope the Sox have moved on from the wishful thinking we saw last year about players being able to play positions just because it makes the roster look better. I think Burger should be viewed as part of the 1B/DH mix.

(I’m not advocating for acquiring Madrigal but his solid glove makes him more playable at 2b than Burger is at 3b.)

Last edited 1 month ago by Joliet Orange Sox
Augusto Barojas

Tim, Moncada, Grandal, Eloy, and Robert all played 100 games or less last year. Grandal, Eloy, and Robert the year before as well. Madrigal has played less than all. Let’s do it!

Add that Clevinger and Kopech have one season of over 130 innings between them. Maybe there is some weird scientific/quantum principle, like if you exceed some threshold number of injury prone players, that they all miraculously heal together? That’s pretty much what this team is relying on.


Have you been watching Good Will Hunting again?

Augusto Barojas

I very much enjoyed that movie and am pretty familiar with it, and after pondering your question… I still have no idea what you might be referring to, sorry!


You’re comment about weird scientific principle made me think of the scenes in the movies where he solves obscure math problems that seem unsolvable

Last edited 1 month ago by chipporter

Twins adding Michael A. Taylor.
Huge bWAR vs. fWAR difference.

Augusto Barojas

Wow. The guy is all defense, not much of a hitter, but still. 5.7 WAR over the past two years. His WAR in 2022 the same as Benintendi. He would have been a nice 4th OF for the Sox. Twins only gave up two pitchers, one who was their 28th prospect, and another who was a 16th round pick, is that right? Why would the Royals give him away for that little? Since the Royals are not against trading within the AL Central, it seems Hahn was sitting on his hands and could easily have beaten this offer without giving up much. And should have.

Goes without saying that the Twins got better. A 3 WAR outfielder for almost nothing? They had a pretty good offseason, really. Like maybe they actually care about improving their team or something.


Seriously? We’re talking about trading for Madrigal but not just signing Elvis Andrus? C’mon.

It’s hard to believe this team is for real.


Duvall was a wish for many, and he found a starting CF job. Andrus may still find that starting SS job out there. He probably prefers that to changing to 2B. Or he may prefer not to be in the White Sox org.


re: the Cubs vis a vis Jake Burger, they’ve got Hosmer, Mancini & Wisdom ostensibly receiving the 1B/DH/3B PAs.

I think Burger can hit, but outside of a few razor thin rosters who truly have DH ABs to hand out, or platoon-happy teams like the Rays it’s probably hard to find a perfect trade partner. Small sample size offensive production and unplayable defense will do that to ya

Augusto Barojas

If Eloy goes down, Burger might be the Sox backup at DH. That’s how much depth this team has. I wouldn’t trade Burger for Madrigal. Burger can hit some homers, and the Sox might need some from him at some point. I’m sure that Sosa and company can more than adequately replace the 150 no power at bats that Madrigal would be healthy enough to give them.


My point here was more from a Cubs POV, like Burger runs into a similar problem in that mix as Madrigal. My speculation would be they’d want a bullpen piece, or just, ya know someone who isn’t Burger for their current construction

To Err is Herrmann

I would let the Cubs DFA him, then try to sign him then. Too injury prone. I am readjusting my fandom to casual. Just waiting for a new owner and new GM. This front office absolutely did nothing during the “contention window.” Had they added Schwarber or Pederon or any real RF instead of washed-up Adam Eton they could have done better in 2021, the only year they really had anything going, but Jerry screwed it up, Hahn is an invertebrate word salad machine. Next, please.

As Cirensica

I see many fans thinking that the White Sox have a 2B problem so Madrigal makes sense. Hmmm. does it though? With or without Madrigal, I still see the same 2B problem. Fans think Madrigal is an upgrade over Lenyn or Romy. Hmmm. is it though? I honestly don’t see it.

Madrigal seem to have in his favor a more solid floor. But it is a basement floor, and we know he has no upside. Sosa has a feebly floor than Romy, but he is definitely the guy with higher ceiling.

The White Sox wants to reduce risk at 2B? Then Madrigal is not the answer. The correct answer is Elvis Andrus who can spell SS very well when TA goes down into the IL for a time…which he likely will).

Alfornia Jones

Agreed. Over the last 10 years the Sox have traded away three everyday middle infielders: Eduardo Escobar, Semien, and Tatis (Madrigal too, but I think he’s fools gold) . This tells me the Sox are good at one thing: developing middle infielders; and bad at another: evaluating/undervaluing middle infielders. They are also oblivious to both.

They need to put their trust into the only capable talent evaluators they have: Getz and Marco Paddy. One of Sosa/Rodriguez/Gonzalez/Montgomery will emerge to fill the current and future voids (they aren’t re-signing TA). In the meantime, Sign Andrus to fill the immediate void until one of these guys figures it out. Trading any capital to get back a very flawed player like Madrigal is nonsense.

Joliet Orange Sox

At the time of the Shields trade, Tatis was a 17-year-old who had not made his professional debut. He had been around during the 2015 Arizona Instructional League and 2016 spring training. I don’t think the Sox can be given any credit for developing Tatis, they barely saw him. I think he just went from a kid to a young adult between the time he was signed as the 30th-ranked international prospect and he was part of the Shields trade 11 months later. (I have a 17-year-old son and he and his friends have all suddenly become young adults overnight recently.)

I also don’t understand the love for Andrus Sox fans seem to have. He played well for the Sox over less than 200 plate appearances producing 1.8 bWAR. I see no reason to believe that is the real Andrus at this point in his career. He’s a 34-year-old who has averaged 2.4 bWAR per season over his long career but only 1.3 bWAR per season over the last 5 years. I think Andrus wants to be paid like the good 43 games with the Sox represent his ability to produce but is hard to ignore the other 525 games when he didn’t do much over the last 5 years. I’m fine with Andrus for a really cheap deal but I don’t think that will get it done.

Last edited 1 month ago by Joliet Orange Sox

I basically agree, but I think 7-8M might get it done. I don’t love him, but going into the season expecting either Sosa or Gonzalez to be adequate at second base seems a triumph of hope over reality.


Sign Andrus for heaven’s sake. Keep TA healthy by moving him to 2b. Overall team defense improves (which the pitchers will love). Still wish the Sox would have signed another starter. Move Kopech to a closer because of his innings limitations. Especially now that Hendriks has more important priorities. Somebody wake up Hahn!


I’m all for Andrus coming back and I’m fine with Anderson moving to 2nd but I doubt Anderson wants to move. If the Sox start forcing things (they won’t), then they should tell Jimenez that he’s the DH………..period.
If this is the extent of Hahn’s off season then I’ll be disappointed. I like the Benintendi and Clevinger signings but he can’t stop there. And I’m not talking about all the other signings that probably won’t mean squat for this season. Or any season.
When do the billboards go up?


From mlbtraderumors, there’s a chance “I like the Clevinger signing” ages very badly.


Get Madrigal on the cheap, then fix his running with some of Brett Lawrie’s Orthotics. Boom. Steak flavored dinner.


Does Madrigal still have options? If so, I assume the Sox would have to pay retail for him. Pass


Yep, 2 options. Without a pressing roster crunch on the North Side he’s not a DFA risk, so he still carries some value.

Augusto Barojas

The Twins just picked up an outfielder with a 5.7 WAR the past two years, while giving up their 28th prospect and some other pitcher in the minors. Even as bad a farm system as the Sox have, there is no way they should even think of giving up any of their top 30 prospects for anybody who isn’t better and healthier than Madrigal.

They should get him almost for free, or pass.


He couldn’t stay healthy but Nicky 2-strikes was appointment viewing.
It was so much fun to see someone with that kind of eye and bat control. If they could get him cheap and throw him in the mix, I wouldn’t mind.


I’d be happy to have Madrigal back as long as the price is low, such as a trade for someone no one more highly valued than Burger. I’d prefer to see Elvis at the keystone, but if we can’t get him, then put Madrigal in the mix and see who floats to the top. As for TA, I for one love watching him play short and don’t wish to move him. He needs to stop having the occasional brain f*rt and stay focused for nine innings. I would not be surprised if he produced an MVP-level season this year. Not likely, but it is not out of the realm of possibilities with his considerable talent.


On the plus side, he didn’t get the nickname Nicky 2-strikes from hitting his wife twice……

Joliet Orange Sox

On a much lighter and happier note than the other mlb/Sox news today, the very deserving Scott Rolen was the only player elected to the Hall of Fame today. Mark Buehrle ended up on 10.8% of the ballots so he easily stays on the ballot.