The White Sox are attempting to attack their needs at second base.
The South Siders have expressed interest in acquiring Kansas City Royals infielder Nicky Lopez in a trade, according to a report from The Athletic.
The White Sox have expressed interest in trading the Royals IFer Nicky Lopez, sources say @TheAthletic. The royals aren’t eager to move Lopez, considering him important depth. The team plan is to go with Witt Jr. SS, Massey 2B, Lopez UT. But Lopez could open at 2B if Massey isn’t ready.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 24, 2023
The report details that the Royals are not thrilled to trade Lopez, as they see him as a valuable piece of depth and a useful utility player. However, if the White Sox front office can package a tempting offer, they might be able to close a trade for the versatile infielder.
Lopez, 27, is in his fifth season in the majors. He spent the first four seasons of his career with the Royals. During that time, he played every infield position except first base.
In the 2021 season, Lopez recorded his best two-way year to date. He has reached in the top 50 players for most league hits, making it to 149 that year. He also slashed .300 / .365 / .378 from the plate and stole 22 bases, 12th in MLB that season.
Last year, Lopez had a down year, despite playing 141 games. He slashed .227 / .281 / .554 from the plate, recording under 100 hits on the season and a modest 20 RBI. At second base, he recorded his worst defensive runs saved, bringing home a -8.
However, the White Sox have a need for second base beyond Lopez’s 2022 season.
As of this writing, the White Sox plan is to hire Romy Gonzalez, Lenyn Sosa and utility Leury Garcia at the position. But, in early January, Rick Hahn hinted at the potential of tackling the position outside the organization.
“If, in the end, we choose between Romy and Lenyn, with Leury as a potential backup, it’s something we definitely feel will give us an opportunity to win, but at the same time it won’t necessarily preclude us from looking at ways to improve,” Hahn said. in early January.
MOREOVER: Hahn content with 2B options; door remains open
Of course, giving way to Gonzalez offers more risk than Lopez. Lopez has played over 10 times more games in the major leagues than Gonzalez and has a proven track record of success at the position.
Interestingly enough, Hahn said that at the height of the offseason he believed most of the team’s offseason legwork would come through the commercial market.
However, early on, they abandoned that plan with the free agent acquisitions of starting pitcher Mike Clevinger and outfielder Andrew Benintendi, the latter of whom received the highest guaranteed contract in franchise history.
However, Hahn’s prediction about his offseason plans may not be wrong just yet.
The Kansas City Royals have been active in the commercial market and also in the AL Central. They traded center fielder Michael Taylor Jr. to the Minnesota Twins on Monday for pitchers Evan Sisk and Steven Cruz.
And according to separate reports, the Royals aren’t even done yet in the commercial market, despite executing two in January.
The city of Kansas City #Real they’ve been busy in the commercial market and still have a couple of other deals that they’re lining up now. Stay tuned.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 24, 2023
Thus, an opportunity arose to address the needs of the White Sox at second base.
The need to boost the roster at second base is clear, both for defensive and batting advantages. A committee of Gonzalez, Lenyn Sosa and Leury Garcia might be able to hold the fort, but without full confidence.
Lopez is a stronger and more consistent option in the position, whose resume speaks to the level of quality he can bring to the position. In addition, he played with current White Sox manager Pedro Grifol throughout his major league career.
Hahn said earlier this offseason that he has a consistent mindset to improve the roster.
The question remains: Can he form an intriguing, yet cautious, trade to acquire Lopez? Or can she find another suitor to help fill the gap at second base?
“We will always try to improve,” said Hahn. “It’s a cliché, but, I suppose, a cliché for a reason. You’re never satisfied with where your roster is. We’ll keep looking.”
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