Ranking the White Sox’s best second base options for 2023

Ranking the White Sox’s best second base options for 2023 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

As it has been since the departure of Gordon Beckham (“I just wanna use your love, toniiiiiiiiiiight…”), second base was a revolving door for the White Sox in 2022. Leury Garcia and Josh Harrison garnered the lion’s share of the work, starting 130 games between them at the position. Harrison turned things up down the stretch to muster a 98 wRC+, 1.4 fWAR campaign, while Leury was notoriously awful with a shocking 39 wRC+ and -1.1 fWAR.

Danny Mendick also looked decent across a few positions for a month before suffering a season-ending injury, and the call-ups of Romy Gonzalez and Lenyn Sosa yielded poor results. Case in point, the South Siders had minimal production and zero consistency at second base in 2022.

Yet, while the holes in the outfield have largely been addressed with the signing of Andrew Benintendi and the likely early call-up of Oscar Colas, second base has only gotten thinner. Harrison is a free agent, and Mendick has signed a one-year deal with the New York Mets. Shortstop Elvis Andrus, who has zero second base experience anyways, walked in free agency too. So, the obvious question presents itself—who is going to man second base in 2023 for the Sox?

Many fans seem content to roll with the young tandem of Gonzalez and Sosa, who have both flashed talent in the minors. Gonzalez, 26, boasted an .895 OPS in 93 games across Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte in 2021, while Sosa, 22, broke out in 2022 with an .881 OPS in 117 games between the same two clubs. Notably, Sosa is younger and higher-regarded as a prospect. Steamer, though, projects similar numbers for the pair in 2023 with fWARs of 0.7 (Romy) and 1.1 (Lenyn) in 66-68 games played.

Young players can be hard to accurately project, especially when neither are blue-chip prospects and both produced mixed results in the minors. Specifically, both players enjoyed exactly one good campaign at the two upper tiers of minor league baseball, with little to show in the majors or previous seasons. That variability is a problem.

Unfortunately, viable free agent options are basically non-existent at this point. Adam Frazier and Jean Segura were the only notable names available, and with Segura’s reported signing on December 28, both are off the board. Shucks. Josh Harrison is the next best thing out there, but his age and batted ball profile are uninspiring. Another one-year flier as a depth move wouldn’t be the worst thing, considering his floor is higher than Sosa’s and Gonzalez’s. But Harrison’s floor/ceiling combination is still weak enough to leave many fans apathetic.

Regardless, a reunion with Harrison seems improbable at this point. In that case, no free agent signing leaves Hahn, Grifol and Co. with two options: exploring several trade candidates or utilizing some mix of Sosa and Gonzalez. Although it’s easier to advocate primarily for a trade, there is also a proper recipe for how to handle the young duo otherwise.

Option No. 1: Trade for Jazz Chisholm Jr.

“Do you like jazz?” – Barry B. Benson (Bee Movie2007).

Jazz Chisholm Jr. made waves in the beginning half of the 2022 season with a 14-homer, 2.6-fWAR showing in just 60 games, which earned him All-Star honors. He missed the entirety of July through October with two related back injuries. At just 24 years old, his powerful lefty bat would fit in perfectly with the White Sox.

Read more about all the White Sox’s potential options – including internal ones – at second base by finishing this article at soxon35th.com.

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