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The 26th Man? Jake Lamb!

In need of depth and flexibility, the White Sox are in line to sign a corner infielder with a career .764 OPS

Wild Card Round - Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics - Game Three Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

As we are all anxiously awaiting news of the final White Sox cuts this spring, some of us even slapping together 1,500 words on it, a few surprises seem to be emerging.

First, learned early by our SSS Insider, the White Sox plan to sign Jake Lamb and apparently break camp with him as their 26th man.

This does fall into a category of solving a problem that falls far down the page. Yes, the White Sox have no proven third-base depth behind Yoán Moncada, who is coming off of a season slowed by Covid. While he’s looked very strong this spring, he’ll need a blow here and there.

Leury García is currently the primary infield depth at second, short and third. However, he’s played just 23 of 451 career games there and saw zero action at the hot corner in 2020.

Lamb, on the other hand, is primarily a third baseman, one who can throw a first baseman’s mitt onto the pile of 10 or 20 already on the Sox roster as well. He’s a “Tony La Russa guy,” albeit one with a career .764 OPS.

Danny Mendick, presumed to be breaking north with the club particularly in light of the Adam Engel and Eloy Jiménez injuries that will at least briefly push García to a starting outfielder role, would be the one directly hurt by the Lamb acquisition. Mendick is younger and more flexible on the field than Lamb, as the Dance for Dubs star can sub at third, short, second and left field. On the offensive side, Mendick has a career .696 OPS in 49 games.

Lamb was in camp this spring with the Atlanta Braves, who cut him loose in choosing Pablo Sandoval for their backup IF spot. So yes, the White Sox in pursuit of a pennant, trusts panda leavings over their own organizational talent.

To be fair, Lamb was aces at the end of 2020, after joining the Oakland A’s — OPSing a career-best .882. However, that was in 13 games, and despite the existence of the photograph above, was essentially invisible in the playoffs.

Lamb’s salad days as a major league came under La Russa (as executive) in 2016-17, providing 5.2 bWAR in 984 plate appearances. With the exception of that 13-game playoff push for Oakland in 2020, Lamb has absolutely fallen off the table since then.

No, Lamb has never played a single game in left field.

Jonathan Lucroy has been told he won’t make the Opening Day roster and thus he asked for his release. Zack Collins is the primary backup catcher.

But will there be a third catcher? Stay tuned ...