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White Sox Deep Dive: Free Agent Second Basemen

Marcus Semien leads this list of primarily journeymen second sackers in the upcoming free agent class.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays
With 45 homers in 2021, Marcus Semien is easily the head of this class of free agent second basemen.
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the White Sox organization. Each position is made up of five parts:

  1. Depth in the Rookie Leagues (Dominican through Arizona)
  2. Depth in A-Ball (Kannapolis through Winston-Salem)
  3. Depth in the higher levels (Birmingham Charlotte)
  4. Under the Radar-type detail on a White Sox player
  5. Free-agent options

With the club option for César Hernández declined, and with fellow second-sacker Leury García now a free agent, the White Sox are in need of a full-time second baseman. A couple internal options include Romy González and Yolbert Sánchez, with minimal or no major league experience. Of course, the team could seek a trade to fill this position.

But due to the lack of prospect depth in the system, it seems likelier that free agency may be the most viable option. Below are the free agent options (including Hernández and García) whose primary position this year was second base; other potential free agents (Corey Seager, Chris Taylor, Trevor Story, etc.) will be listed in future Deep Dive free agency posts.

(player age is as of April 1, 2022)

Marcus Semien
Toronto Blue Jays
2021 bWAR: 7.1
Slash/power: .263/.334/.538 with 39 doubles, 45 homers, 102 RBIs and 15 stolen bases
Age: 31
Other positions played: SS

Semien (even factoring guys like Seager, Taylor and Story) was far and away the most productive player on this list in 2021. With 45 homers and 15 stolen bases at a position unaccustomed to those numbers, he will be among the highest-paid free agency options in the entire class. Many White Sox fans will be clamoring for a reunion. But will the White Sox be willing to forfeit a second-round pick as the penalty for signing Semien, who will most assuredly receive a Qualifying Offer? The Sox have been loath at doing this in the past.

Leury García
Chicago White Sox
2021 bWAR: 2.0
Age: 31
Slash/power: .267/.335/.376 with five homers and 54 RBIs
Other positions played: RF, SS, CF, LF, 3B

García’s versatility and credible offensive production may lure Leury some potential suitors. With that said, the Sox could definitely be eyeing him for a return role in 2022.

Josh Harrison
Oakland Athletics
2021 bWAR: 2.0
Age: 34
Slash/power: .279/.341/.400 with eight homers and 60 RBIs
Other positions played: 3B, LF, SS, RF

If the Sox opt for a short-term fix until González or Sánchez are deemed ready, they could do far worse than Harrison.

Donovan Solano
San Francisco Giants
2021 bWAR: 1.1
Age: 34
Slash/power: .280/.344/.404 with seven homers and 31 RBIs
Other positions played: SS

Solano silently hit .330 in 2019 and .326 last year. He only played two innings away from second base all year.

Chris Owings
Colorado Rockies
2021 bWAR: 0.6
Age: 30
Slash/power: .326/.420/.628 with one homer and five RBIs
Other positions played: LF, RF, SS, CF, 3B

His outstanding numbers in 50 at-bats in the friendly environment of Coors Field belie his career slash of .243/.288/.372.

César Hernández
Chicago White Sox
2021 bWAR: 0.4
Slash/power: .232/.308/.386 with 21 homers and 62 RBIs
Age: 31
Other positions played: Shortstop

Hernandez brought only negative value after his trade to the White Sox. It’s possible the White Sox re-sign him at a lower salary, but this scenario doesn’t seem likely.

Jordy Mercer
Washington Nationals
2021 bWAR: 0.2
Slash/power: .254/.307/.364 with two homers and nine RBIs
Age: 35
Other positions played: 3B, SS, 1B, LF

The former Pirate and Tiger played in just 46 games this year.

Jed Lowrie
Oakland Athletics
2021 bWAR: 0.1
Slash/power: .245/.318/.398 with 14 homers and 69 RBIs
Age: 37
Other positions played: Third base

It wasn’t all that long ago (2018) that Lowrie crushed 23 homers and 99 RBIs.

Franklin Barreto
2021 bWAR: 0.0
Slash/power: Didn’t play in 2021
Age: 26

Barreto, a former Athletic, is the youngest player in this group.

Jose Peraza
New York Mets
2021 bWAR: 0.0
Slash/power: .204/.266/.380 with six homers and 20 RBIs
Age: 27
Other positions played: 3B, SS, LF

Peraza is one of the youngest players in this group.

Greg Garcia
Detroit Tigers
2021 bWAR: 0.0
Slash/power: Didn’t play in 2021
Age: 31

Garcia has previously played for the Cardinals and Padres.

Dee Strange-Gordon
Pittsburgh Pirates
2021 bWAR: 0.0
Slash/power: Didn’t play in 2021
Age: 33

Strange-Gordon has led the league in stolen bases three times — most recently in 2017 with the Marlins.

Jason Kipnis
Atlanta Braves
2021 bWAR: 0.0
Slash/power: Didn’t play in 2021
Age: 34

Northbrook native Kipnis has produced 126 homers and 136 stolen bases in his career to date.

Rio Ruiz
Colorado Rockies
2021 bWAR: -0.6
Slash/power: .168/.243/.272 with four RBIs
Age: 27
Other positions played: 3B, 1B, LF

Ruiz was once a highly-regarded prospect in the Atlanta system.

Eric Sogard
Chicago Cubs
2021 bWAR: -0.7
Slash/power: .249/.283/.314 with one homer and 12 RBIs
Age: 35
Other positions played: 3B, SS, 1B

Sogard hit .290 with 13 homers as recently as 2019.

Marwin Gonzalez
Houston Astros
2021 bWAR: -0.8
Slash/power: .199/.275/.304 with five homers and 28 RBIs
Age: 33
Other positions played: 1B, 3B, SS, LF, RF

Gonzalez was once considered the best utilityman in the game.

Matt Carpenter
St. Louis Cardinals
2021 bWAR: -1.0
Slash/power: .169/.305/.275 with three homers and 21 RBIs
Age: 36
Other positions played: 1B, 3B

The Cardinals possess perhaps the easiest rejection of a mutual option this year. While it’s easy to see Carpenter accept the $18.5 million option. The Cardinals — not so much. The 2018 season, when he hit 36 homers, seems like a very distant memory.

Pat Valaika
Baltimore Orioles
2021 bWAR: -1.9
Slash/power: .201/.250/.290 with five homers and 25 RBIs
Age: 29
Other positions played: SS, 1B, 3B, LF

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