Could Chris Johnson be the answer to the White Sox third base problem? - Bob Levey
Here are some guys that the White Sox could target to play third. After all, someone has to.
Now that the hot stove is getting turned up a little bit, I figured it would be a good time to take a look at some possible candidates that the White Sox could acquire to play third base. Some good old-fashioned rosterbation never hurt anybody.
On Thursday, Dan Hayes named four guys who could possibly be on the block. Dayan Viciedo, Gordon Beckham, Gavin Floyd and Alejandro De Aza were said to potentially be available for trade. One would think that if the White Sox were to move one of them, they would look to fill the black hole at third base that has been there since Joe Crede's back gave out over four years ago. Josh Fields, Wilson Betemit, Mark Teahen and Brent Morel have been unable to fill it. Kevin Youkilis finally provided something in the second half of last year, but he's a free agent.
Here are some potential targets for Rick Hahn:
Kevin Youkilis: That is the easy suggestion. Youkilis came over from the Red Sox last year and played really well before cooling off towards the end of the season. He smashed 15 homers in 80 games for the Sox. On the downside, he is the gem of the third base free-agent class. He's been linked to the Phillies and Indians and is sure to draw interest from other teams. In the free agent outlook, Gus said he wouldn't go more than two years and $15 million for him. I think he is going to cost more than that. Youk did say he enjoyed playing here, so maybe that will factor in a little bit. He also is in the midst of a steady decline and his back and knees aren't likely to hold up for a full season, so there is some risk.
Alex Rodriguez: Here is another easy one. If the Yankees decide that they have to move ARod and are willing to pay big money to do so, I don't see why the White Sox wouldn't get involved. Brian Cashman has stated that they aren't going to move Rodriguez, but that might be an attempt to get a team to take on more cash. He struggled terribly in the playoffs, but still hit .272/.353/.430 during the regular season. The Yankees would have to really want him out to make this a reality, though.
Chris Johnson: I'm going to stay away from the Brett Lawrie and Chase Headley arenas because they are most likely out of the Sox's league. Johnson could be a nice fit, though. The 27-year old hit .281/.326/.451 last season, which he split between Houston and Arizona. He added 15 homers and 76 RBI and won't kill you on defense. He's under team control through 2017, and the Diamondbacks may be willing to part with him for the right price as they have Matt Davidson coming up through their system.
Eric Chavez: If the White Sox run out of options, I would look towards Eric Chavez to buy us another year to find someone else. His major issue has been health. Herm Schneider has proven time and time again that he can keep guys on the field better than anyone else. Chavez was able to play in 113 games last year, his highest total since 2006, and he performed well, hitting .281/.348/.496 with 16 homers as a member of the Yankees. Part of that is Yankee Stadium-aided, but the Cell isn't exactly a canyon, either. It seems like forever ago since he put one up on the right-field concourse as a member of the Athletics, but maybe the Sox could get one more year out of the former Gold Glover.
Matt Davidson: If the Diamondbacks are sold on Johnson, maybe they make Davidson expendable. They seem to think they can win now, so for the right price he could be available. He was rated the 97th-best prospect in baseball by MLB.com prior to last season. The 21-year-old hit .261/.367/.469 with 23 homers in his first stint in Double-A. According to John Sickles, his defense is still in question. He might need a little more seasoning in the minors, so an ideal situation would be to acquire Davidson and sign Chavez.
Is there anyone else you see who makes sense?