The Chicago White Sox are having a subpar season. With a 33-35 record, this team isn’t playing well and has yet to pick up momentum to give the Minnesota Twins or the Cleveland Guardians any pressure. The lineup particularly has struggled this season, scoring only 4.28 runs per game and the front office needs to inject life into the batting order.
White Sox lose to the Orioles, 4-0
Just the second time the Sox offense has been shutout all season, despite reaching base 13 times, and flying out to the track roughly 57 times. Lenyn Sosa debuted, due to (minor) injury of course, and drew a walk.
Sox are 33-35
The trade deadline is a month away. While the team has multiple issues to address, the lineup has to be a priority. So, why should they try to acquire an outfielder? For a handful of reasons but one primary one will be to allow for a rotation in the outfield that constantly provides a strong bat in the lineup.
Eloy Jimenez has yet to return to the team and when he returns, it’s unclear what player the White Sox will be receiving. AJ Pollock is a viable option in the field but hasn’t provided the same power to the lineup. The White Sox pitching staff has been a pleasant surprise but the lineup will need to find another hitter who can play the outfield to build on the rotation, one that can provide the much-needed spark to the team.
In terms of adding a spark, Andrew Benintendi seems like a non-starter. With the Kansas City Royals, he’s slashing .295/.360/.390 with three home runs and 99 total bases. Essentially, Benintendi has developed into a contact hitter who is an excellent fielder.
Despite all the criticism, Benintendi is a viable option for two big reasons. For starters, he’s a cheap option for the front office, being that he’s on the final year of his deal and the Royals might look to trade him for any value whatsoever. The second thing Benintendi adds to the White Sox is valuable at-bats to the end of the lineup. The 27-year-old outfielder will get on base and keep the line moving at the end of the lineup, something that will ultimately help the White Sox batting order.
Mitch Haniger is having a rough season with the Seattle Mariners, largely because of injuries, which have kept him out of the lineup. A promising April was derailed by an ankle injury and the projected timetable for a return is the All-Star break. Haniger is a pending free agent and considering where the Mariners are in the standings, they could trade him at the deadline, shortly after he returns to the lineup.
What would Haniger bring to the lineup? Mostly power. Through nine games this season, he had a .486 Slugging Percentage and he has had a Slugging Percentage over .400 in every season of his six-year career. Aside from the power that joins the White Sox lineup, Haniger can notably add a left-handed bat to contrast Jose Abreu, Luis Robert, and Eloy Jimenez. The White Sox batting order is good but when teams go to the bullpen, they can counter the right-handed heavy lineup at the top, without much resistance. As a result, the move would round out the order while still adding a spark.
It might sound weird for the White Sox to make a deal with the rival Chicago Cubs. However, the two teams have been surprisingly open to trading players with one another. Jose Quintana was dealt in 2017 for Eloy Jimenez. In 2021, Craig Kimbrel was traded for Nick Madrigal. Ultimately, these two teams will make a trade if the best offer is made.
Jason Heyward has been a letdown since signing with the Cubs back in 2016, never tapping into that potential baseball fans saw in his early years with the Atlanta Braves and in the contract year with the St. Louis Cardinals. That being said, the White Sox could make an offer and still add power and strong fielding to the team. Moreover, Heyward wouldn’t be a rental acquisition, allowing the front office more flexibility if the trade fails to turn the season around.
Last year, the Braves improved their lineup not with splash trades but with minor moves. One of the moves they made was acquiring Jorge Soler, who was having a down year with the Royals but possessed that rare tool of power. Heyward could add that to the White Sox and kickstart a strong second half to the season.
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