Following up: Jake Burger can stake claim to third base

White Sox slugger Jake Burger
(Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

It was only eight days ago that Patrick hoped the White Sox would place Yoán Moncada on the injured list in order to free up all the playing time at third base that Jake Burger could handle.

Moncada briefly put up a fight with a homer in Yankee Stadium that night, but he fell back into another prolonged slump that finally forced the White Sox to address his shortcomings. They placed him on the injured list on Thursday with lower back inflammation, and Pedro Grifol didn’t offer a timetable.

“The most important thing right now is him playing without him having to worry, ‘My back hurts,’” Grifol said. “Or ‘how am I going to feel today.’ I just want him to go out there and be free of pain and just go play. He hasn’t done that this year yet. I give him a lot of credit for what he’s done with how he’s felt.

“We see spurts here. That one day he went first to home in 11-some seconds. Once in a while he’ll show you something really, really good. Other times he can’t do it.”

I feel like it’s pointless to enter the name “Wally Pipp” into the record based on the White Sox’s general fragility everywhere, but watching the Sox shelve Moncada as Burger attempts to make the All-Star Game by brute force made me wonder what series of circumstances would make the White Sox resigned to relegating Moncada to a bench role. He’s hitting .217/.275/.357 since the start of the 2022 season, and that’s nearly a full season’s worth of games at this point. His defense is keeping him above replacement level by the smallest of margins, but it also seems besides the point now.

For one, Moncada is set to reach free agency at the end of the 2024 season after a $24.8 million salary. The Sox hold a $25 million option for 2025, and it’s really a $20 million decision since they’d have to pay him a $5 million buyout, but it’s hard to imagine him being reliable enough to be worth either amount. Even his successful season wasn’t all that impressive — a 4 WAR season built on defense and walks that he no longer can draw due to the lack of power.

The other part is that Burger stopped being a butcher at third. He isn’t going to challenge for a Gold Glove the way Moncada can, but you no longer see the difference on a daily basis. The small-sample metrics show a guy who’s passable to below-average, but if that’s the lower end, he’s still shored that up. The game looks slower to him, and he’s now making all the plays he should make (one error in 22 games, after six over 37 games last year). Errors can only tell you so much, of course, but he’s reached the kind of benchmark that affords him the opportunity to see whether there’s any other improvement in store.

There are bigger things to worry about, like a strikeout-to-walk gap that’s actually bigger than last season’s sample …

  • 2022: 10 BB, 56 K over 183 PA
  • 2023: 8 BB, 59 K over 179 PA

… which results in a Statcast chart that reflects our country’s partisan divide.

But as long as he’s pulled his defense out of that extreme territory, then it makes it easier to tolerate the three-strikeout nights he occasionally suffers.

At the rate and direction these individual fortunes are tracking, there’s going to be a point where investing in Moncada’s future no longer makes sense. The hope is that Burger, who’s never been healthy or effective enough to accrue 400 plate appearances in a professional season, can give the forecast at third base a second wind.

Following up: Pedro Grifol’s relevance

Besides my heightened tolerance to Nightwashing, I didn’t mind Bob Nightengale using Pedro Grifol’s ineffectiveness to flatter Tony La Russa because it is worth wondering what exactly Grifol brings to the table.

After a spring where the White Sox praised the Grifol administration as the primary catalyst for change, it’s striking how irrelevant Grifol seems to the regular-season proceedings. Sure, La Russa cast such a large shadow that any manager will seem less consequential by comparison, but Grifol is doing little to make an impression.

For instance, Tim Anderson is hitting .237/.279/.263 over 38 games since coming back from his knee injury. He hasn’t homered, and he’s only stolen two bases in three attempts. Unlike Moncada, his defense isn’t buoying his value. He isn’t dynamic in any way, shape or form.

Grifol still isn’t motivated to make any changes, and while a lack of options may limit what he can do defensively, he can at least knock Anderson down the batting order so he isn’tgetting the most plate appearances every single game.

Alas, Daryl Van Schouwen relayed this quote from Grifol suggesting no changes are coming.

Grifol said he has given no thought to moving Tim Anderson from the leadoff spot, where he was hitless in his last 15 at-bats, “because I know at any given day he could start feeling really good. We’ve got 92 games left, [he could get] 120 hits the rest of the year. I don’t react that way.”

I feel like when you reach the second half of June and there are fewer than 100 games remaining, you can’t really lean on the length of the season as the only argument. Even José Abreu finally had enough runway to get his season off the ground in Houston this month (.302/.321/.528, three homers), while Anderson is sliding even further down the hole (.209/.244/.256).

That leaves us with no indication of what it would actually take for Grifol to deem Anderson’s play a problem, and that’s a problem for everybody. If you take the last line from that quote and remove the last two words, it might not be any less true.

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I’d like to see Grifol put Burger at 3B for good and switch Moncada to 2B when he comes back from injury. While Moncada hasn’t been good, he’s better than Andrus and Burger is better than Moncada. Seems like a no brainer.


I’m trying to remember the reason why the move to 3rd; was he having errors at 2nd because he was thinking too much or was he not hitting because he was thinking of the field? I only realy remember the reactive nature of 3rd base was supposed to help with the mental game.

As Cirensica

The fewer body movements, the better for Yoan

Last edited 3 months ago by As Cirensica
Augusto Barojas

Makes perfect sense. Yoan isn’t of much value anywhere if he hits like he has, but he’s still probably better than Andrus. For as long as both are healthy, Burger and Eloy need to be in the lineup together.


I was so grateful to have James Fegan on the beat these past several seasons. His final Athletic byline today is one of his best, and I’ll quote just a small snippet from the passage on Lucas Giolito:

….at a formative point in my career, his comeback from being as awful as I’ve seen anyone be to having some of the greatest moments I’ve seen on a baseball field…well, it expanded my mind. I try to focus on what I learned on this job. And Giolito’s ability to hold two concepts in his mind — that things can be intolerably bad for you right now, but that doesn’t mean you’re not still capable of being what you want to be — is something I’m trying to learn now.


I’d love to see the sox do what they never do, and trade Burger while his value is highest. It may seem unpopular but the lineup is not gonna work with these low obp, high k’s guy left and right. Montgomery is the 3b of the future. There are many contenders in need of pop at 1b and some of them are cheap and would love a cost controlled option. We only have two guys from the lineup side to get something back. Robert can’t go, brings too much to the table defensively and is young enough to be a key member of the next go. So Burger is my choice.


I can’t imagine Burger’s trade value is that high in such a small sample size. I’d listen to offers but unless they are getting a top prospect (+) in return I say let’s see what they have.

Besides, he’s just about the only thing that makes Sox games fun right now. Burger is the only one that’s good at the thing the whole Sox lineup tries to do: swing at everything and hit the ball hard.


Think of the market though. The Pirates, Marlins, Brewers, and Orioles are all seriously contending. They are cheap. They are getting nothing at 1b and this guy is out there dropping bombs at league minimum with 5 years left of cost control. The Brewers just called up Jon Singleton for gods sake.

Then you throw in the Angels and Red Sox. Not cheap by any means but also with a glaring hole. Burger at Fenway could be scary. The Giants are playing Lamonte Wade at first and could see Burger as an option since you need real thump to hit it out there as a righty.

I don’t think Burger is top prospect level. But if 5+ teams are engaged, now may be the time. The Guardians got a solid SS prospect in Juan Brito off Nolan Jones who struggled in the bigs. For a close to big league ready ss and a good pitching prospect I’d sell that burger today

Joliet Orange Sox

I think Burger’s profile of poor defense, very high strike out rate, very low walk rate, very high chase rate, and very high whiff rate offset by hitting the ball exceptionally hard almost every time he makes contact is extremely unusual. It’s possible he will maintain the exceptional power over a period of several years and be an offensive force to be reckoned with but his profile is so dependent on the power staying exceptional that no other team would pay for this best case scenario.

That’s a tough trade for the Sox to make because if the power does stay exceptional they will certainly have lost the trade by a wide margin and what you’re calling selling high would be selling low.

It’s hard to trade someone with such a wide variance in plausible futures.


He’s pretty much Max Muncy without the walks. Maybe he’s Minus Muncy.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Minus Muncy!


The Nolan Jones comparison is a point in my favor, I think.

  • Jones was 24 when traded; Burger is 27.
  • FG put a 45 FV on Jones; 40 FV on Burger.
  • Jones was much better than Burger in the minor leagues.
  • Jones was healthier and more consistent than Burger in the minor leagues.

And Jones only returned Juan Brito, a 45 FV prospect. In White Sox terms, that’s Lenyn Sosa or Jose Rodriguez. Which, sure, that’d be a nice addition to the system, but (a) the Jones trade shows the Sox couldn’t get that for Burger and (b) I don’t think it’d be worth it, anyway, since Burger is their only consistent power source.

If you want to pitch some hypothetical trade ideas, maybe you can help fill the idea out. But I’m not at all convinced any team would meet the asking price the Sox should have on Burger.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Do we get Tito Polo back?

Augusto Barojas

I like the suggestion of Burger laying claim to 3b. If Moncada hits like 2022/23, he is close to useless, and Burger is the better player. What he offers offensively compared to the nothing they’ve gotten from Yoan more than makes up for his defensive shortcomings, at least when compared to each other. Whether Burger can field and stay healthy enough to be a viable longer term 3b option remains to be seen. But they should certainly give Burger every opportunity unless he stops hitting. He’s earned the job, clearly.


Moncada at full strength is useful. A ~.750 OPS with GG defense at 3B would be nice. The problem is he’s at full strength about 10% of the time.

Augusto Barojas

That’s perhaps being too kind to Moncada, and attributing all of his struggles to injury. He simply hasn’t done anything other than 2019 and 2021, and has been unplayably bad outside of that – whatever the reasons. I’m not suggesting that he isn’t actually hurt, but he has never exuded “work ethic”, to me, and certainly has not gotten the most out of himself.

He is what is known as a bust, basically.


I’d call him a disappointment, not a bust

As Cirensica

There’s danger in making most money upfront. He got a huge signing bonus from the Redsox, and the moment he signed off the extension, the body language was “I’m ready to retire”. Injuries, lackluster performance, and suspected physical preparation started to appear. I’d be not surprised at all if he retires from baseball after his contract with the White Sox is up. Maybe he’ll sign a 1 year pillow contract and that is it.

Last edited 3 months ago by As Cirensica

Your faith in 2019 Moncada is remarkable.


What are you talking about? 2019 Moncada was an MVP candidate with a .915 OPS. Is that what I described?


HoF, I was just cracking wise about the “at full strength” part of your comment – I think what you mean is that if he performed the way he did in 2019, and here and there for brief stretches, he’d be a great ball player. But that is not who he is. We have enough body of work from him to know that that level of performance is a very unlikely outcome from him.


Have another look at my original comment. I said we get “full strength” Moncada about 10% of the time. What’s your point about ’19? Are you saying he hasn’t been at full strength since 2019?

Moncada’s 2023 makes my point well. His first 40 PAs of ’23 were great: .889 OPS, some pop, and great defense. That’s full-strength Moncada. But he can’t sustain it. I don’t know what either of your comments have to do with that point.


Could Burger learn to be credible at 1B? At least as well as Vaughn (which isn’t much)? If so, and the hitting is there, he could be a 1B option going forward. Burger is under team control 2 yrs past Vaughn, neither guy appears to be especially reliable healthwise so that might be a toss up, and the Sox already have potential 3B options in development.


I was looking for a comp for Burger and his savant page looks A LOT like Salvy’s (especially Perez’s 2021). You simply got to find a spot for him in the line up, imo.


So this is what we get when the Sox do an actual managerial search. Either Jerry is too cheap and wouldn’t pay for anyone that was any good, or Hahn is so bad at his job that he thought this guy was the most qualified manager available. It’s probably a combination of both. They are cheap, incompetent and smug. What an admirable combination.


Who goes to a franchise with a losing culture and looks for a winning leader?


His name is Jerry and I feel like you know this.


The Moncado experiment is OVER. The guy’s a crippled overrated bust! Please put us out of our misery

Joliet Orange Sox

Moncada is hurt. We don’t know his future but he may join Melton and Crede as talented Sox third basemen who had one or two great years (greater than 4 bWAR) and had short careers due to health. The thing I don’t understand is why Moncada seems to inspire hatred in some fans in a way Melton and Crede never did.


I find it odd too. There have been plenty of disappointing White Sox players in the past decade. Only one can’t go a week without being called “crippled” or a “dog” or told to be “sent back to Cuba”.


When Moncada is healthy he is rather productive. It really irks me when people say he’s dogging it. It’s obvious he’s been hurt for most of this year, yet he keeps going out there. If anything, that’s a knock on the incompetent management that has no idea how to handle injured players.


I wasn’t around for Melton but for Crede I’d say two things. The obvious is most guys from the 2005 team are given a break and Crede was a huge part of that team. The second is I can’t say we really saw Crede limp around. He was simply not there. Gone for most of 2007. All star first half in 2008 and then just like that he was out. Watching Moncada often appear to be half assing leads to a lot of bad feelings. Even if he may actually be trying to grit his way through very painful disc problems, it just looks bad to the eye.


My take on the whole Moncada thing is similar to Jimenez. I was hyped the Sox got both in a trade and the build up of both players was so huge that neither stood a chance of meeting expectations without having HOF careers and that ain’t happening! It’s easy for fans to get down on players that should be very good and turn out fragile.
And I’m a big TA fan but with what’s going on with him, it’s time to be traded. He may be the one dogging it all because he couldn’t keep his “business” out of someone else’s “business”. Now he’s shooting his mouth off about how he would consider a move to 2nd base once he signs a new contract that is shortstop money! I think he’s losing it. If these guys can’t play balls out for the money they make, then they should have their balls removed. Is that too harsh?

Right Size Wrong Shape



Johnny Castino was rookie of the year with the Twins at 3b and 4 years later was out of baseball with 9 years left on his contract, after spinal fusion surgery.


There was no social media in Melton’s time, and in its infancy in Crede’s. Twitter didn’t debut until 2006. I’m pretty confident they too would have been subject to the fans disappointed if there was an outlet.


Social media was in it’s infancy, but there were plenty of fan forums in 2006 and the forums were pretty lively especially post-WS title. Crede didn’t get nearly the amount of vitriol that Moncada gets. Some of that comes from being a part of a championship team, but Crede’s back issues were treated as something he couldn’t help and there was actual sympathy to his career deteriorating. Moncada gets hit with the “soft” and “lazy” labels.

I can’t speak to Melton, but there is definitely a huge difference in the treatment of Crede v. Moncada.

Last edited 3 months ago by BillyKochFanClub

Crede was also never the #1 prospect in all of baseball, right? And wasn’t obtained as part of a return for someone who was probably the best pitcher in the organization’s history?

I do think the context here contributes to the way people feel about Moncada. And whether or not you think that is fair, it shouldn’t be unexpected and isn’t irrational.

Last edited 3 months ago by soxygen

It would make sense that the disappointment in his career derailment would be higher, but the context doesn’t change that it’s injuries that altered both Moncada and Crede’s trajectories and one that’s constantly trying to play through the injury is getting hit with “soft and lazy”.

It is irrational to label one that way and provide grace to the other just because of one being more highly touted. Moncada isn’t injuring himself on purpose because he got paid earlier in his career. He could make a heck of a lot more money if he reached his potential anyways.

As Cirensica

i think it is the body language and the money he made and will make. The fact he will cash in more than 100 million after the White Sox extension for such lackluster career rubs people the wrong way. Melton is vintage White Sox for many fans, and Joe Crede never amassed the fortune Moncada made. Not even close. Crede went on his business quietly. Moncada is all flashy. Rubs people in the wrong way.

Joliet Orange Sox

The only way Moncada will make more than $100M from the White Sox is if they not only exercise the team option for 2025 but also sign him beyond that. This seems unlikely.

As Cirensica

I didn’t say 100 million on his White Sox career. I said he will cash in more than 100 million.

The White Sox will pay him 69 million and change if they don’t exercise his option. The Redsox paid him 31 million and change as part of his singing bonus. That’s more than 100 million.

People dislike undeserved richness. Moncada’s performance hasn’t been worth 100 million thus far. Not even close.


Crede was a grinder. Moncada a lap dancer.

Right Size Wrong Shape

This is infuriating.


I think the maximum white sox thing to do is learn the wrong lesson, fire Pedro at the season’s end, rehire Larussa, and finish .500 again.

Last edited 3 months ago by StockroomSnail
Augusto Barojas

They never learn. Although I think it may be more true that they just don’t care.

The Padres are off to a very disappointing start. Yet there is no doubt that the ownership cares about winning, and has done its best. I think they’ll be better by seasons end. It’s one thing to fail, and another thing to fail completely because of no effort whatsoever. Failure even with effort happens. But failure from being lazy, incompetent, and cheap are much less forgivable.

Last edited 3 months ago by Augusto Barojas

That’s only 1 step backwards, not Soxxy enough. They’ll go 2 steps back and hire Ricky to bring order to the clubhouse again.


Replace him mid season with Terry Bevington’s C̶o̶r̶p̶s̶e̶. (Turns out he’s alive or nobody updated his Wikipedia.)