The Chicago White Sox appear to be shopping at the bottom of the barrel in free agency this off-season.
The White Sox made their first free-agent signing this past week as they signed shortstop Paul DeJong. DeJong remains an above-average defensive shortstop but his offensive skillset has completely diminished.
It would seem that the White Sox are moving forward with DeJong as their starting shortstop and Nicky Lopez as their starting second baseman. Lopez was acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Braves earlier this month.
However, neither DeJong nor Lopez should deter the White Sox from making other moves at either position this off-season.
Andy McCullough of The Athletic (Subscription Required) ran through the perfect Black Friday free-agent deals for each team and the player mentioned for the White Sox was Whit Merrifield. Merrifield has been a common name in the rumor mill for the White Sox this off-season given their need for middle infielders and the connection to manager Pedro Grifol.
Merrifield was selected to the 2023 All-Star game with a slash line of .286/.342/.392 with a 110 OPS+ during the first half of the season. Merrifield struggled during the second half of the season with an OPS+ of 87.
Merrifield is not a move that will change the trajectory of the White Sox’s upcoming season as they appear well on track for 100 losses but given the emphasis on establishing a new culture, Merrifield certainly would help. This could be a situation where the White Sox sign Merrifield to a one-year deal with the goal of moving him at the MLB Trade Deadline if he has a successful first half of the season.
A signing of Merrifield likely will move DeJong to a reserve role and that would be the best course for this point in his career given the offensive struggles.