With Yasmani Grandal returning soon, who should the White Sox send down?
The Chicago White Sox have been surging recently by playing the level of baseball they were expected to at the beginning of the season. At the start of the All-Star break, the White Sox at an even .500 record, 46-46. They have won five out of their last six games and are starting to get their team at full strength to make a postseason push.
One of their injured players has been out since June 11 for the White Sox is catcher Yasmani Grandal. In his absence, both Seby Zavala and Reese McGuire have filled in for him but someone on the roster will have to go once Grandal returns.
Zavala has been the better offensive player of the two, hitting .286 in his 84 at-bats with an OPS+ of 119, above the league average of 100. The pitchers on the staff have enjoyed throwing to him and his defense has shown to be better than advertised. Zavala’s hitting has really jumped off the page as he only hit .183 last year, so he has earned the opportunity to get more at-bats recently in Grandal’s absence.
McGuire is known for his defense behind the plate, not so much for his offense. He was acquired before the season from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for fellow catcher Zack Collins. It was expected that McGuire would be the primary backup to Grandal, and he got a good number of at-bats early in the season. Unfortunately, he has not hit well enough to warrant more playing time now, even if his defense is fine.
McGuire sports a paltry .228 batting average this year with an OBP of .265 and OPS+ of 58, well below league average. His throwing has been good and starter Michael Kopech enjoys throwing to him, as he has caught all his starts this season.
It would be easy to say send one of Zavala or McGuire to the minors to create room for Grandal, but there’s a problem with that. They both don’t have any minor-league options left. Therefore, the White Sox would either have to DFA one of them or send another player to the minors. I believe the easiest option would be to send an outfielder down since they would likely have a glut of position players with not enough at-bats for everyone on a regular basis.
Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Andrew Vaughn, and AJ Pollock rotating between outfield and DH would probably mean Gavin Sheets is the odd man out, which is unfortunate because he’s been hitting well recently. General manager Rick Hahn has said in the past that having too many quality big leaguers is good problem to have, and I agree with him because it means the team has a lot of talent, so they should win more games.
Even though Sheets has been performing at a high level, there are better players ahead of him on the depth chart. He can continue getting at-bats on an everyday basis in Triple-A Charlotte and be called back up when needed. Pollock has actually been the worst performer so far out of the players mentioned above but his veteran status likely cements his spot on the roster.
Getting Grandal back in the lineup will be huge for the White Sox as they look to knock off the Minnesota Twins in the race for the division with the second half about to get under way. They will need as many healthy bodies as they can get right now to not fall further behind in the push to the postseason after being a favorite heading into the year and then struggling.
But can Grandal make that much of an impact for the White Sox?
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