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Zack Is Back!

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Do you hate the move, or merely not like it?

New York Yankees v Chicago White Sox
We bow our heads in silence, for the defensive competency of the White Sox catching depth.
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Prior to Tuesday’s series opener hosting the Angels, the White Sox made a bevy of moves:

Most were telegraphed and anticipated, including Lucas Giolito’s return from the IL (hamstring) to start tonight and Tim Anderson (hamstring) presumably re-establishing himself in the leadoff role tonight, and yes I pulled a (hamstring) just writing this.

Unsurprisingly it was Danny Mendick, not Romy González, sent down to Charlotte upon TA’s return. Until further notice, González has passed Mendick on the depth chart, and barring injury you may not see Danny back in a White Sox uniform again.

Walking wounded left fielder/right fielder/first baseman/designated hitter/second baseman Andrew Vaughn was moved to the injured list, as well. The tweet above reports back soreness but all along we’ve been told leg fatigue. This is likely an attempt by the White Sox to avoid setting the all-time record for hamstring injuries in a season — much like Adam Dunn or Yoán Moncada might have been rested to avoid setting an all-time single-season strikeout record.

So that leaves one bit of controversy, the flip of Seby Zavala, competent catcher, for Zack Collins, DH playing catcher. No matter how odd it seems on its face, there are two clear reasons to do it.

One, Collins needs to have his option preserved for next season, and had to be back with the club — otherwise you’re likely shedding him from the organization for 2022, for no good reason.

No good reason? Well, yeah. Seby had a three-homer game, and can (sorta?) bunt, but he’s not an improvement on Collins in any other way, at least statistically. Zavala, in spite of being considered the far superior defender, has thrown out a smaller percentage of baserunners and leaked more passed balls than Collins, in about half of the opportunities. Yes, Collins is still considered a worse defender, borne out by -0.4 dWAR on Baseball-Reference to Seby’s -0.1, but the sky doesn’t have to fall over this move.