On Thursday, the Chicago White Sox placed second baseman Nick Madrigal on the 60-day injury list after suffering a “proximal tear in his right hamstring.” General manager Rick Hahn told reporters that Madrigal will be shut down for six weeks and that the end of the season is an option. Meanwhile, Leury García seems likely to take over in second place.
Madrigal, who hit .305 / .349 / .425 (118 OPS +) in 215 record conditions, is the third notable White Sox hitter to be placed on the 60-day injury list this season, joining outfielders Luis Robert and Eloy Jiménez. Despite those absences, the White Sox are in first place in the American League Central with a 37-24 record. Chicago also has the best driving differential in the AL with a plus-86 mark.
It is obvious that Hahn will look to maintain Chicago’s good position by exploring the trading market now and until July 30 – for help in the outfield and in light of Madrigal’s damage some reinforcement in the cornerstone. What can the latter entail? Below, we’ve highlighted six realistic second-base options for the White Sox.
Remember, as always, that this exercise is more of an art than a science, and that the players are presented in alphabetical order.
Jon Berti is not an exciting starting point; he is nonetheless a versatile defender who sent a 102 OPS + during the 2019-20 seasons. This year has not gone so well for him so far: he came in on Thursday and hit .190 / .291 / .292 (64 OPS +) in 159 record appearances. He’s still walking thanks to a patient proach, and he’s cut down on his strike frequency. The fly in his offensive salvo has been a .159 stroke average on founders lower than his mark on flying balls. Of course, it is not likely that it will stand. When Berti’s ground stoppers start running through more often, he should resume being a decent help option. The White Sox can almost certainly do better in a starting capacity, but perhaps they would have an interest in Berti as a bench option.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have two potential passes to the White Sox with veterans Eduardo Escobar and Asdrúbal Cabrera. Escobar has had a rebound season (.237 / .286 / .452), splitting the time between the keystone and the hot corner, while Cabrera has returned the clock to hit .275 / .378 / .450 (126 OPS + ) in 143 plate bulbs. Both are on expiration of contracts, meaning the Diamondbacks have no reason to stick to any of the deadlines.
Probably the most obvious name in the play, Adam Frazier is in the middle of a career season (.329 / .392 / .468 or a 139 OPS +) and is another season away from free agency, making him an obvious trade candidate for the humble Pittsburgh Pirates. As with some other names here, Frazier is a contact-driven hitter with enough defensive versatility to predict he will have a role if Madrigal returns before the season ends.
Josh Harrison was nearing the end of his big league career as late as July last year when he was released by the Philadelphia Phillies before the start of the season. He joined the Nationals shortly thereafter, hitting .264 / .340 / .382 (103 OPS +) in 288 record appearances since. Harrison’s play is about putting the ball into play (though not to Madrigal’s level), and his energetic playing style seems to fit well with this iteration of the White Sox. Moreover, his defensive versatility would be handy if Madrigal is able to return before October. (The White Sox could also ask about Harrison’s teammate, Starlin Castro.)
While Jonathan Schoop is a natural second baseman, he played primarily first for the Tigers this season as a means of giving Detroit a longer look at Willi Castro. Even with the position change, his offensive profile remains the same. He is dependent on striking for power as he does not walk or hit for a high average. Schoop has met nine times in his first 238 record appearances, putting him at a pace of 20-plus over an entire season. Schoop is an almost inverted of Madrigal, so if the White Sox prioritize contact chops above all else, he would not pear to be fit.