One of Leury Garcia, Romy Gonzalez, or Lenyn Sosa is slated to be the Chicago White Sox Opening Day starter at second base if general manager Rick Hahn does not make another offseason move. That is enough to make any Sox fan groan.
Second base has been a revolving door of players for the Sox for two decades. From 1995-2002, Ray Durham was a stalwart at second.
Since trading Durham midway through the 2002 season, the Chicago White Sox have had 14 different players log the greatest number of innings at second. Injuries or poor play forced the Sox to have seven different players there year after year.
Injuries or underperformance have been the running theme at second since 2002. Although Tadahito Iguchi played well during the 2005 World Series run. Other than that, it has been one failed prospect after another.
Second base remains a position hole in the lineup yet again heading into the 2023 season. General manager Rick Hahn needs to find a better solution than what they have.
There are a few solutions Hahn should consider to finally solve what feels like a never-ending problem on the Southside.
The Chicago White Sox are likely going to use Lenyn Sosa and Romy Gonzalez.
Going with internal options appears to be the direction Hahn might go.
Hahn indicated at the beginning of the offseason that the 2023 payroll would be around what the 2022 payroll was. Hahn is getting close to his ownership-mandated salary cap.
Hahn chose to use his free agent allowance to sign outfielder Andrew Benintendi and starting pitcher Mike Clevinger. He may not have a lot of financial resources left over to address second.
Well, he could if owner Jerry Reinsdorf realized baseball has no salary cap but you got a better chance of hitting the lottery. Also, the free-agent market is poor at second.
It is not like the Sox do not have options on their roster. It is just the choices are not the most attractive or satisfying during a contention window.
Garcia is still on the roster but as he proved last year, he is not an everyday player. He needs to go back to being the super-utility player he excelled at for a decade.
That leaves Lenyn Sosa and Romi Gonzalez to battle it out for the starting spot during Spring Training.
Yolbert Sanchez had a good season in the minor leagues and could be a dark horse to get the starting job. He is a long shot considering that he never got a call-up to the big leagues like Sosa and Gonzalez did last season.
Also, he was left unprotected in the MLB Rule 5 draft, it would appear he is not viewed very highly in the organization.
Gonzalez had 105 at-bats late in the 2022 season. His slash line was .238/.257/.352 with two home runs. He missed time in the Triple-A ball after needing to have his tonsils removed in June.
He did not put up the greatest numbers because of that. The Sox hope he can replicate his 2021 success when he slashed .267/.355/.502 at Double-A Birmingham.
Fangraphs does give him high grades in raw power and speed on the basepath. Those are two things their lineup could use. He has just three career walks at the Major-League level.
Sosa was called up in late June only to sit on the bench for most of the time he was with the Sox. He also had another cup of coffee in the show in mid-August.
Sosa only got 35 at-bats in 2022 and delivered four hits and a home run. He is just 22 whereas Gonzalez is 25. Fangraphs gives Sosa good prospect grades in fielding, raw power, and speed. Fangraphs also projects Sosa to have a 100 wRC+ if he makes it to the big leagues.
He did slash .315/.369/.552 last year in between Double-A and Triple-A ball. Both options are not name-brand solutions, but both have upside.
Also, neither is going to be asked to carry the offensive load. If one of them can prove they can provide a spark at the bottom of the lineup, then that is all the Chicago White Sox needs.
Really, they just need Sosa or Gonzalez to field the ball and anything offensively they can provide is a bonus. If both compete for the starting job, how the defense is what should be the main deciding factor.