The Chicago White Sox have once again found themselves in a jam. After losing star outfielder Eloy Jimenez in spring training due to a torn pectoral muscle, the team once again struggles with a serious injury in the outfield. On Sunday, centerfielder Luis Robert suffered a Grade 3 Hip Flexor Strain, forcing the young star to miss ‘12 to 16 weeks‘.
This leaves the question left to be answered: Who will fill in for Robert? While it’s expected the team will try to solve this issue in house, there will be no shortage of options on the open market. However, with Adam Engel facing another setback, paired with questionable play from Billy Hamilton and Jake Lamb, the latest injury could force their hand. Luckily, the White Sox and Rick Hahn have quite a few young trade pieces at their disposal, so finding a trade partner shouldn’t be difficult. They can also be broad in their outfielder search, with Adam Eaton and Billy Hamilton having experience in center field.
Let’s take a look at some names who could potentially fit in a White Sox uniform.
Current Team: Free Agent
2020 Stats: .233 AVG, 8 HR, 26 RBI
Career Stats: .296 AVG, 352 HR, 1,154 RBI
One of the most well known names on this list, Ryan Braun brings the big name and resume to the table. However, his days of posting elite numbers are in the past. While it could be seen as a typical Jerry Reinsdorf move, it can’t hurt to kick the tires on a player with the history of Braun’s production. At the right price, Braun could be a solid low risk, high reward move for a team looking for a temporary contributor. He wouldn’t be asked to carry the lineup and wouldn’t cost any high valued talent. 2020 proved he can still swing a bat in big moments as well.
It has been reported that Braun has been enjoying time with his family, but he hasn’t officially retired from the game and claims to be staying in shape in case he decides to return. Perhaps he is waiting for the right opportunity? What better opportunity than to join a potential contender?
Current Team: Free Agent
2020 Stats: .161 AVG, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Career Stats: .273 AVG, 165 RBI, 528 RBI
If it was up to Yoenis Cespedes, he would’ve been on an Opening Day roster. While it’s impossible to justify his numbers (or lack there of) the past few seasons, it should be noted that Cespedes just can’t stay healthy. In four seasons before signing with the Mets, he played in a total of 518 games. In his six seasons in New York, he played in 318 games. However, when he played, he was effective. He batted a respectable .279 over his tenure with the Mets, adding 76 home runs and 205 runs batted in. He also sports an impressive .980 career fielding percentage.
Cespedes has been clear on his intentions to continue his major league career. He even hosted more than ten major league teams at an open workout in March. One scout was quoted, saying that Cespedes “remains impressive at his age”. This signing would be an absolute longshot, but the White Sox do currently have younger brother Yoelqui under contract.
Current Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
2021 Stats: .265 AVG, 4 HR, 15 RBI
Career Stats: .279 AVG, 109 HR, 360 RBI
Now we enter the trade market. What makes a player like AJ Pollock so interesting is the high expectations that come with playing for the Dodgers. For the most part, Pollock has been a consistent major league outfielder. However, when the Dodgers signed him to a four-year, $55 million dollar contract in 2019, they expected more than what they’ve received. Many see Pollock’s contract as a reason why the Dodgers allowed Joc Pederson to walk this past offseason. While he’s been consistent for the most part, it seems as though a change of scenery could be best for all involved. Especially considering Pollock’s performance in the postseason (career .176 average).
Pollock is NOT the best fielder in the world, but he does have 653 career games in center field. It would probably require moving a significant prospect, but Pollock would be a great addition to a struggling lineup.
Current Team: Milwaukee Brewers
2021 Stats: .223, 3 HR, 13 RBI
Career Stats: .269, 101 HR, 402 RBI
It seems like a lifetime ago that Avisail Garcia was playing in Chicago, but who says you can’t come home? In his six seasons with the White Sox, Avi put up some respectable numbers for some bad teams, keeping an average of .271 with 74 home runs and 289 runs batted in. It can’t be that crazy for the White Sox to bring back a familiar face, just look at the return of Adam Eaton!
In all seriousness, the Brewers have an abundance of outfielders and rumors were swirling about them moving Garcia before the season began. When healthy, they perfer to start Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the outfield. The Brewers could be willing to part ways with Avi at a low price, which could be exactly what Rick Hahn is looking for. Meatball takes aside, it could certainly be much worse.
Current Team: Chicago Cubs
2021 Stats: .323 AVG, 9 HR, 22 RBI
Career Stats: .282 AVG, 151 HR, 436 RBI
Well… if Rick Hahn wants to make a splash, this is the move to make. In the midst of a contract year, Kris Bryant has been unconscious at the plate this season, while also showing his versatility. This season alone, Bryant has seen time at third base, first base, and all outfield positions. The 29-year-old has been the bright spot of a struggling Chicago Cubs team and his value is at an all-time high. After being toyed around with by Cubs management, it would appear this relationship is likely to end with both sides going their separate ways. That could mean that the Cubs are looking to get ahead of the curve.
While Bryant would be an incredible addition to an already loaded White Sox lineup, the price would be steep, especially for an expiring contract. While it’s likely Hahn and Co. stray on the side of caution, don’t be surprised if rumors begin swirling the closer we get to the trade deadline.