HomeBaseballOutside-the-Box Solutions to the White Sox RF problem
Outside-the-Box Solutions to the White Sox RF problem
December 5, 2020
The MLB Off-season has started off more sluggish than us after a week straight of White Sox home games culminating with a full #108ing weekend, including a Saturday tailgate and #SundaySoak. It’s very foggy and has already needed 6 weeks to even begin thawing out. The White Sox have had some movement, they hired a new manager and coaching staff. They picked up Tim Beckham and they tendered some contracts to some and didn’t tender contracts to Nomar Mazara and Carlos Rodon. They also acquired another major broadcasting talent, much to the delight of Brooks Boyer.
The main White Sox off-season objectives remain. Insulate the Starting Pitching and fix Right Field. I am unsure how the White Sox will go about filling out the 5 man rotation come April, but the potential iterations are basically infinite. Right Field has also been discussed ad nausem on twitter with all of our favorite follows opining on their favorite choices and who they don’t like for whatever reason. My guy Josh Nelson dropped a comprehensive breakdown of the free agent Right Field choices that you should all read HERE. However, if you read much 108 stuff, if you read much BeefLoaf stuff, you know that I like to think down some paths that are a little less travelled. These exercises aren’t about finding the most likely solution, they are generally about exhausting remaining potential conclusions. These posts are mostly for me, but I hope you enjoy them. As the kids say YMMV.
Andrelton Simmons ain’t much of a hitter. He used to be the best defender in all of baseball and give you some real WOW plays at shortstop. Some think he’s regressed enough on defense to call him average, I’m skeptical of that assumption. The 30 game sample from 2020 would rate him about average, but in 2019 he was still 2nd in Outs Above Average at Shortstop just behind Javy Baez. So in theory you are buying a glove first shortstop that even though he might not be much of a hitter, still makes a fuckton (that’s a scientific term) of contact. Across 2019 & 2020, he struck out at a 9.6% rate, that was #2 in all of baseball across that time period with a minimum of 500 plate appearances.
WHAT ABOUT ANDERSON!?!?!?!
Of course I don’t want to move Tim Anderson off of shortstop, but we are thinking of some outside the box solutions. The good news is, Anderson’s best years at shortstop line up as merely average defensively and his non-best years at shortstop are borderline ghastly. The other good news is that Tim Anderson’s wRC+ across 2019 & 2020 of 134, would put him tied for 5th with Michael Conforto and Ronald Acuna Jr. for qualified Right Fielders. The bottom line is, Tim hits enough to be in Right Field and given his combination of speed and arm, he’s likely to be a plus defender there. This probably isn’t on the front few pages of the Rick Hahn off-season plan, but it should at least exist on a cocktail napkin.
Seager is 33 and after a couple of meh season at the plate, he’s snapped back nicely. He still handles his position fine and he’s a left handed hitter that still hits right handed pitching well (2020 wRC+ vs RHP 134, career wRC+ vs RHP 118). I’m guessing the Mariners would likely enjoy getting out of the $18M they owe him next year and his $15M 2022 option. They don’t currently have an heir apparent to his role, but playing time is playing time, and they are in the midst of their rebuild.
Yoan Moncada’s 128 wRC+ across 2019 & 2020 would rate him 11th vs qualified Right Fielders, so similar to Anderson, the bat plays. I am not sure if moving Moncada to RF is better or worse for his status as a player that tends to get banged up a bit across 162. I’d like to think it would be better, but it might not. Regardless, athletically he could profile just fine in RF.
Trade for JD Martinez & let him become a 108 fave in RF
Remember before last season, when some people thought JD Martinez would opt out (I was definitely not one of them) and then people thought the White Sox should trade for him (I would’ve been fine with that), well, none of that happened. Then 2020 happened. HE SUCKED. Like his worst year since he was an Astro and he hadn’t “fixed” his swing yet. Idgaf, I’d still trade for him and since the Red Sox are clearly rebuilding, it seems likely he could be had for the low low cost of taking on that contract. He is pretty terrible in RF, but then again, we employ Adam Engel, so the 8th and 9th innings are fully covered.
Us 108ers love immovable RF objects that bash dingers…..so JD would fit right in.
I know these seem weird, but good teams sometimes have to move players around to get the optimal lineup situation together. The Dodgers move Cody Bellinger between CF and 1b. That’s fucking weird….and he’s one of their best players. The Cubs routinely moved Kris Bryant around in his prime. I think this is the type of things a contending White Sox team should be open to.