3 questions for the offseason about the Chicago White Sox infield, including what’s ahead at 1st and 2nd base

José Abreu, the Chicago White Sox first baseman since 2014, is a free agent.

Second baseman Josh Harrison is also a free agent after the Sox declined a team option for 2023.

Third baseman Yoán Moncada had a down 2022 season affected by injuries. And a finger injury prematurely ended shortstop Tim Anderson’s season.

What’s ahead for the Sox infield? Here are three questions to monitor this offseason.

1. What’s the plan at first base?

Andrew Vaughn spent most of his first two seasons in the outfield. His future is at first base.

Whether the future means 2023 remains to be seen.

“Vaughn is a first baseman; that’s how he was drafted,” Sox general manager Rick Hahn said this month at the GM meetings in Las Vegas when asked where he ideally envisions Vaughn. “Doesn’t mean he’s going to be our first baseman next year, not necessarily.

“But in the end, his best defensive position is first base and … whenever the time comes when he settles into that position, you’re asking a lot less of him and perhaps that even increases his offensive production as a result.”

Vaughn slashed .271/.321/.429 in 2022, leading the Sox with 17 homers and 76 RBIs in 134 games. He played 45 games in right field, 44 in left, 29 at designated hitter, 23 at first base and two at second base.

After hitting .301 in the first half, Vaughn batted .234 after the All-Star break.

“I think he was worn down,” Hahn said. “Obviously greater physical toll on you playing the outfield. He was a guy over the course of the year who played through some leg issues, probably somewhat exacerbated by having him out there in the outfield. But nothing that should linger into 2023.

“And we’ll see come March or April what the roster looks like in the end. But we’ve asked a lot of that kid in the last couple years and he’s performed quite well all things considered — his lack of experience, his age (24) and the fact we were playing him out of position.”

As far as what it means for Abreu, Hahn said: “It’s nice to have a guy you believe in as an alternative (in Vaughn), but it doesn’t take away from what José has accomplished for us over the years and his importance in the clubhouse. And if he’s not with us next year, he’ll be missed.

“It’s good that we’re insulated from a production standpoint against that departure. But certainly never would disrespect the importance he’s meant to this organization, and even if he winds up elsewhere, the fondness that we should look back on his time with us by saying, ‘Oh, it’s good we got this guy in his place.’”

2. What’s next for Yoán Moncada and Tim Anderson after a disjointed 2022 season?

Moncada suffered a right oblique strain on the last day of spring training and began the season on the injured list.

It was the start of a challenging season for the third baseman, who slashed .212/.273/.353 with 12 homers …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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