Spare Parts: Outfield overflow and old friends

Three of Rick Hahn’s offseason additions made the All-Star Game. One who didn’t come close probably isn’t going to pay dividends for anybody.

The Angels were the latest team to designate Adam Eaton for assignment, because they seemed to realize that the White Sox might’ve already seen the best ball Eaton has to offer this year.

  • with Sox: .201/.298/.344 over 219 PA
  • with LAA: .200/.232/.277 over 69 PA

The good news is that Eaton already feels like a name from another season, probably because he already was one before he came back to Chicago. The White Sox found a more useful left-handed free agent to pair with Adam Engel (Brian Goodwin), and the returns of Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert might crowd them both out to rotational duty as soon as they’re entirely back up to speed.

Eaton’s DFA is mostly a device to point to an article at FanGraphs, in which Jake Mailhot took a look at the White Sox’s sudden depth in the outfield. He notes that Engel and Goodwin have both benefited from big jumps in contact rate. Engel’s now putting the bat on a ball at an above-average rate when he used to have the kind of holes in a swing that drag a league average down. Goodwin merely had to return to his pre-2020 norms, where he accomplished enough to be more attractive to other teams than the one he was currently on.

Goodwin’s hitting just .160/.214/.440 over nine games in August, but it’s not because of swinging and missing, which makes it possible for hot streaks to balance out the cold spells. Engel just needs to get healthy, but with Jiménez and Robert back, there’s finally no need to rush anybody.

SPARE PARTS

Seby Zavala defaulted to reticence even during his better days as a prospect, so of course we didn’t hear much from him during his repeated struggles at Triple-A. Now that he’s succeeding, his perspective on more downs than ups at Charlotte shows why his framing numbers have risen above average.

Zavala was tabbed over Yermín Mercedes because the White Sox trusted him more to run and call a game, and that trust has only further bloomed since he’s arrived in Chicago. Three years after Zavala made it to Triple A, and only slightly less time than he has been on the 40-man roster, this represents his first significant major-league look. Some players could look at such a stretch as being left to rot in the minors; Zavala feels he was preparing, and that his receiving is much better than it was in even April.

“I’ve had a long time in the minor leagues to fail,” said Zavala. “I maybe try a (catching) set up and it wouldn’t work. Give it a couple more tries and it still doesn’t work. So you can it and you try to find something else that works. If I called up to the big leagues earlier, maybe I didn’t have the opportunity to evolve into what I am now. I’ve been able to fail in the minor leagues because you’re training, you’re getting ready for the big leagues.”

Whether it’s Carlos Rodón, Carson Fulmer or Garrett Crochet, fast-tracked White Sox pitchers have shown how Chris Sale made an insane timetable look so simple. On the other side of this equation, Chris Sale has never had to deal with professional adversity like he did with Tommy John surgery. Prior to missing the last two years, his biggest hardship might’ve been, what, uncomfortable jerseys? Anyway, he pitched five innings of two-run ball in a 14-run victory over the Orioles, so everything’s easy again.

I wonder whether subsequent Field of Dreams Games will struggle to capture the magic of the first, but Richard Deitsch digs into why it was the most-watched regular-season game in 16 years.

The Dodgers have placed Trevor Bauer on administrative leave five times as the investigation into sexual misconduct allegations continues, and the Washington Post reported a separate incident. It’s a graphic, disturbing story that ends up in he-said-she-said territory for the time being, but even the version in which Bauer is innocent doesn’t really redeem him. At best, he makes terrible decisions. At worst, it gets gross.

Jake Arrieta’s return the Cubs cratered with an 8.95 ERA over a 15-start stretch, made worse by his requesting that Bruce Levine remove his mask during what turned out to be Arrieta’s final postgame Zoom conference. Somehow, a team that added Mike Clevinger, Blake Snell, Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove over the last 12 months needs him. The Padres’ rotation might be the equivalent of the White Sox bullpen, except bullpen arms come a little cheaper.

(Photo by David Banks/USA TODAY Sports)

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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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texag10

I don’t understand the Padres end goal. They were even in on Scherzer until the end. Is the plan to get 10 starters to piggyback so you don’t ever need a bullpen?

soxygen

Darvish and Paddack are hurt.

Last edited 1 year ago by soxygen
As Cirensica

Arrieta with the Padres? ugh. Can’t believe how that team might miss a post season after adding so many pieces. The San Francisco team baffles me so much I just can’t put it into words how the heck they are this good. Only thing is that the Giants have feasted on lesser teams such as Arizona (14×2) and the Rockies (9×4), and they are beating San Diego (5×4) and holding a tie with the Dodgers (8×8).

HallofFrank

Is the Arrieta bit sarcasm? He just got released by the Cubs and has been hot garbage this year. He hasn’t been good in a while. I assume this is just a flyer/reclamation project, a tick above signing Jake Lamb.

As Cirensica

No, it is no sarcasm. It is a poorly expression of “I feel sorry for the Padres” that they had to resort to getting a horrible pitcher and even horrible person such as Arrieta to keep the head above water.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Never feel sorry for the Padres. Their jerk GM deserves whatever he gets.

HallofFrank

Ohhhh I see now. I thought you were saying, “wow, now Arrieta, too? These guys are stacked.” That’s why I was very confused.

As Cirensica

FJA

calcetinesblancos

Yermin should take that advice and spend every waking second in AAA focusing on how to catch.

As Cirensica

I think that ship has sailed. Yermin’s only option is DHing. That is, been traded.

tommytwonines

All Sox catchers seem to love the passed ball.

Crap – Adam Engel to the ILL (again).

jhomeslice

If there is one thing to address this offeason, it is RF. As we’ve known all year. Engel has become a decent player but I still think he’s 4th OF material on a championship team. Now he’s apparently injury prone as well.

If they’re kicking around the idea of Eloy/Robert/Vaugh as an outfield trio, that would be a mistake. And still leaves a hole at DH. The real solution is Vaughn/Eloy platoon LF/DH, and get a real RF this winter. Hope Jim picks somebody good and writes an article about it to make it happen.

tommytwonines

Engel reportedly has shoulder inflammation – didn’t see that coming.

Right Size Wrong Shape

At least it’s the left one. Although that one might be more important when hitting.

jhomeslice

So it’s shoulder, and groin? Wow, I assumed was groin/hamistring, did not hear about shoulder.

tommytwonines

I think we all assumed it would be groin/hammy, but they’re saying left shoulder.

To Err is Herrmann

Let’s just hope Hahn doesn’t sign Eaton again.

Is it just me, or did 20-some years ago every third mother named their sons Tyler or Trevor, and then groomed them to be major league pitchers?