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Even with Injuries, White Sox Need to Move on from Harrison

The time has come for the White Sox to cut ties with veteran, Josh Harrison. The low cost signing has failed miserably, and the team needs to move on immediately.

Josh Harrison Chicago White Sox Los Angeles Angels
Photo: NBC Sports Chicago

The injury to Tim Anderson will leave the Chicago White Sox with some roster decisions to make and how they manage those decisions will be fascinating over the next few weeks.

Second base was identified as a position of need for the White Sox following the 2021 season. As is typical of this organization, they didn’t aggressively address the position in a meaningful manner. Instead, they chose to go bargain-basement shopping hoping that they could plug a hole without a significant financial outlay. Hence, Josh Harrison’s arrival on the Southside.

Needless to say, Harrison’s performance has left a lot to be desired to this point. The 34-year-old veteran has provided little value to a team that has struggled offensively all season. Any hope the organization had that he could provide a spark or offensive lift to the club, should be all but diminished at this point. Tim Anderson’s groin injury will likely give Harrison a stay of execution.

Cooked

Josh Harrison has had himself a nice career. He’s shown positional versatility going back to his days in Pittsburgh, being able to play a number of positions across the diamond. While he has most notably played second base in his time with the Sox, he’s spelled at 3B on occasion. His offensive performance has done nothing to help lift a team that is in dire need of a jolt.

As of this writing, Harrison is slashing a paltry: .167/.245/.260. That simply isn’t going to get it done. Harrison has not shown any semblance of plate discipline either (maybe that’s why he was signed. I kid, sort of) putting up a meager 3.7% BB rate. For a team that outlined second base as a position of need, did they really anticipate getting more production than this?

I think it is very evident at this point, that Harrison’s best offensive days are behind him. The team sits at 23-23 and maintains a 4.5-game deficit behind the first-place Twins. With all things considered, the team can no longer afford to wait out Harrison’s offensive struggles if they are to break out of this season-long malaise.

On the defensive side of the coin, Harrison has been sufficient putting up 1 DRS at both 2B and 3B. If he was putting up otherworldly defensive numbers, maybe just maybe, you could try to talk yourself into continuing to roster the veteran. However, the defensive value is not making up for the offensive shortcomings at this juncture.

Viable Alternative

Should the Sox decide to move on from Harrison, who could possibly take his roster spot? The most obvious choice would be 25-year-old Cuban, Yolbert Sanchez. Sanchez has equated himself nicely across Double-A and Triple-A so far this season at the plate.

AA67 PA.353/.507/.373157 wRC+19.4 BB%
AAA112 PA.295/.357/.371102 wRC+6.8 BB%

As you see above, Sanchez has done a solid job of working counts and taking free passes, which we all know this team needs right now. Granted, he hasn’t shown power in the minors, including his time in the bandbox that is Truist Park in Charlotte. However, he can add a clearly needed offensive dimension to this lineup to help create more runs by taking walks when the opportunity arises.

Right now, this team needs more base runners and Yolbert could help accomplish that objective. Plugging him in at the bottom of the order in place of a player like Josh Harrison could help the top of this lineup develop more run-producing consistency.

Defensively, Yolbert was billed as a Gold Glove-caliber defender at SS when he defected from Cuba and joined the Sox organization. He’s seen been spread out around the diamond in 2022 thus far, seeing time at short, second, and third. This added defensive versatility will be needed in the wake of Tim Anderson’s hamstring injury.

This is another plus in Yolbert’s column as Harrison cannot provide the ability to fill in at short if needed. This flexibility could allow Tony La Russa to utilize Leury Garcia more frequently in a corner outfield role, helping to minimize the need for 1B Andrew Vaughn and Gavin Sheets to see time alongside Luis Robert. For a team that has been abysmal defensively to this point, this would be a significant boost. With Sanchez and Danny Mendick seeing the action up the middle, the team would be in good hands defensively, if nothing else.

Make The Move

At this point, Josh Harrison serves no functional purpose for the White Sox. He’s proving next to no offensive value and defensively, he’s been sufficient. However, being sufficient in just one area is not a reason to warrant a roster spot with a team that can’t seem to find its footing so far in 2022. It’s time for the organization to realize they made another mistake shopping the bargain bin and just eat what is already a sunk cost.

The South Siders have a reasonable alternative to fill a roster spot that could add some needed dimensions to a flawed roster. It’s time to cut bait with the 34-year-old veteran and plug in the player the Sox committed a seven-figure bonus to out of Cuba, instead of investing in younger Latin American talent. If the time isn’t now for Yolbert Sanchez, I don’t know when it will be.

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Former scrub JUCO pitcher

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