“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the White Sox organization. Each position is made up of five parts:
- Depth in the Rookie Leagues (Dominican through Arizona)
- Depth in A-Ball (Kannapolis through Winston-Salem)
- Depth in the higher levels (Birmingham Charlotte)
- Under the Radar-type detail on a White Sox player
- 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)
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.
Chicago White Sox
2021 bWAR: 2.0
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.
If the Sox opt for a short-term fix until González or Sánchez are deemed ready, they could do far worse than Harrison.
Solano silently hit .330 in 2019 and .326 last year. He only played two innings away from second base all year.
His outstanding numbers in 50 at-bats in the friendly environment of Coors Field belie his career slash of .243/.288/.372.
Chicago White Sox
2021 bWAR: 0.4
Slash/power: .232/.308/.386 with 21 homers and 62 RBIs
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.
The former Pirate and Tiger played in just 46 games this year.
2021 bWAR: 0.1
Slash/power: .245/.318/.398 with 14 homers and 69 RBIs
Other positions played: Third base
It wasn’t all that long ago (2018) that Lowrie crushed 23 homers and 99 RBIs.
2021 bWAR: 0.0
Slash/power: Didn’t play in 2021
Barreto, a former Athletic, is the youngest player in this group.
Peraza is one of the youngest players in this group.
Garcia has previously played for the Cardinals and Padres.
Strange-Gordon has led the league in stolen bases three times — most recently in 2017 with the Marlins.
Northbrook native Kipnis has produced 126 homers and 136 stolen bases in his career to date.
2021 bWAR: -0.6
Slash/power: .168/.243/.272 with four RBIs
Other positions played: 3B, 1B, LF
Ruiz was once a highly-regarded prospect in the Atlanta system.
Sogard hit .290 with 13 homers as recently as 2019.
Gonzalez was once considered the best utilityman in the game.
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.
Nothing to see here.