Chicago White Sox: Possibilities at Third Base
Chicago White Sox: Third Base Possibilities
One of the biggest positions that the Chicago White Sox need to fill is at third base. A position that has been an issue for the organization since Joe Crede left. So what should the White Sox do?
There are a few routes that the White Sox can go. First is to resign Kevin Youkilis. The White Sox already have declined the option on Youkilis. General Manager Rick Hahn said that he would like Youkilis back. The question is does Youkilis want to come back and play for the White Sox?
Near the end of the season Youkilis did say that he liked playing for the White Sox. However, he also said he didn’t understand how a team that was in first place for the majority of the season was still playing second fiddle to the Chicago Cubs. Youkilis is used to having the ballpark filled all the time. So this might be a factor, also he might want to play closer to home which is on the west coast.
It’s more than likely that Youkilis won’t resign with the White Sox. He might want more money than the White Sox are willing to give him. He also started to show his age near the end of the season. True, he did provide a spark for the White Sox when he was traded there. But, when they needed him down the stretch he faltered.
That leaves option number two. Keep it in house. Brent Morel is the obvious candidate for this but he has struggled. He also is already having back issues which are a big warning sign this early in his career. That is probably why he looked so lost at the plate and in the field when he was playing.
I’m just not confident that Morel can get the job done. So that leaves option three. The White Sox signing a free agent in the offseason.
I decided to take a look at these free agents more in depth. So let’s begin shall we?
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True he has played 17 years but that could be a good thing. He most recently played for the Cincinnati Reds. In 2012 he only was in 70 games for the Reds so it’s better to look at his 2011 numbers. In 2011 he batted .265, drove in 33 runs, and hit eight home runs. He is also is a decent fielder. Cairo is a bit older and would be a one or two year player if the White Sox sign him. So consider it a stopgap until they develop someone in the minors.
Polanco might just be the best fit for the White Sox at third base. Polanco only played 90 games for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2012 and still batted .257. In 2011, he was named to an All-Star team and was a Gold Glove winner. He batted .277 and had 50 runs batted in. He isn’t much of a power hitter so if the White Sox are looking for power from third base he isn’t their guy. More importantly he is a solid glove at third base. The White Sox should look at Polanco long and hard.
The White Sox actually had a chance to sign Inge when he was let go by the Detroit Tigers early in 2012. Instead the White Sox decided to go with Orlando Hudson. 2012 wasn’t his best year but he still played in 74 games for the Oakland Athletics and hit .226. Inge isn’t one that would impress just by looking at his numbers alone. In 12 years his career average is .234. He does bring a lot to the field. In nine years at third base his fielding percentage is .961. Inge can also be an emergency substitute at catcher if need be.
The one true third baseman on this list is Kouzmanoff and he might just be what the White Sox are looking for. Kouzmanoff wasn’t on a MLB roster in 2012. He was a minor league player that played for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in AA and then for the Omaha Storm Chasers in AAA. These are both minor league affiliates for the Kansas City Royals. In 90 games for both of these clubs he batted .302 and drove in 46 runs. Career wise he is a .255 hitter. I’m sure that Kouzmanoff is itching to play again in the big leagues. Because of this, the White Sox might be able to sign him for cheap. He is 31 and still has a chance to impress.
I remember when anything that headed into Chavez’s direction when he was at third base for the A’s would be an instant out. Back in the day Crede and Chavez were two of the best third basemen in the American League. After battling back injuries Chavez still wants to play. He might fit in at third base for the White Sox. In 2012 he played 113 games for the New York Yankees. He batted .281 and drove in 37 runs. He isn’t what he was at third base in terms of fielding but he can still do a better job than most. He would also be a stopgap but he is worth long consideration by the White Sox.