Ever since the loss of star outfielder Luis Robert, White Sox fans have been contemplating who may be a good fit for the shorthanded club.
As recent lineups have included depth pieces like Billy Hamilton, Leury Garcia, and Jake Lamb, reactions have been less than ideal. Additionally, the multiple setbacks that Adam Engel has experienced with his hamstring injury has lead to fans questioning the club’s rehabilitation process for such injuries.
General Manager Rick Hahn spoke about the team’s desire to continue pushing forward in their desire for a World Series title, and to do that, the White Sox are going to carefully explore their options for the outfield void over the next 12-16 weeks. Regardless of who the team brings in, whether it’s an in-house call up, a free agent addition, or a trade acquisition, this is a sure sign that depth, and good depth at that, is extremely valuable in the hunt for a championship.
Free agency doesn’t yield great options, but a plus of going to the open market is that there isn’t any depletion of the farm system when doing so. Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, and Ryan Braun are a few names out there, but realistically, how much value will any of them bring to the team? It is always a good idea to look to build from within, but again, the question arises, how ready are these younger guys to step into a club with high expectations?
As far as trade talks go, players like Kris Bryant, Avisail Garcia, and Joey Gallo are popping up in Sox Twitter’s search for a quality candidate, but there may be one option that has been left out that may not cost an arm and a leg.
The White Sox just signed a pair of former Cincinnati Reds in the aforementioned Hamilton and Brian Goodwin, who just began his stint with the Charlotte Knights in Triple-A. Why not add another to the list? Jesse Winker just walked off the Sox in their ten-inning game on Wednesday, and has been putting up great numbers to begin the 2021 season. This is a name that flies under the radar for most MLB fans, but might just be what the White Sox need.
Winker, 27, was a first-round pick by the Reds in 2012. He was selected 49th overall out of high school and made his debut in 2017. His contract is up this season and is worth $3.15 million. The beginning of his contract year features a .354 batting average with six home runs and 17 knocked in. As far as wins above replacement goes, Winker is at 1.0 for this season and 3.5 for his career. A left-handed bat, Winker is slugging over .600 so far and has an on-base percentage of .415. Another stat that may peak the interest of those Yasmani Grandal opposers is that Winker has grounded into just one double play this year.
A career .287 hitter on a team that needs bullpen help could be someone that the White Sox could call about. Of course, no one knows exactly what the Reds want or the Sox would give up, but Winker is another name that should be added to the unofficial list of reinforcements for a south side team who has suffered two big losses in Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert.
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