Madrigal back to White Sox? Give it some thought

For now, it's only a thought.

Potentially, an idea.

So here it is - the Cubs have plenty of money to spend on free agents this offseason.

There is an enticing group of shortstops on the market: Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson.

The Cubs are reportedly interested in all four, even though they already have a solid player (Nico Hoerner) at short.

But ...

Hoerner has also played a lot of second base for the Cubs and was a Gold Glove finalist at the position in 2020.

Open to doing what's best for the team and playing wherever he's needed, Hoerner would shift to second if the Cubs go big and land Correaw, Turner, Bogaerts or Swanson.

If that does happen, Nick Madrigal is on the outside looking in with the Cubs.

The thought here is, the White Sox swing another trade with the Cubs involving Madrigal and bring their former first-round draft pick back to the South Side.

Wait ... what?

Here's the thought.

The Sox need help at second base again.

Josh Harrison primarily manned the spot this season but didn't make much of an impact. Earlier this month, the White Sox declined his $5.5 million club option for 2023.

Madrigal opened the 2021 season as the Sox's starting second baseman but tore his hamstring running to first base in early June and missed the rest of the year.

Even though he was physically unavailable, the Cubs acquired Madrigal and relief pitcher Codi Heuer from the White Sox in a July 30 trade for closer Craig Kimbrel.

It was a disastrous deal for the Sox, and it hasn't been much better for the Cubs.

Heuer, viewed as a potential closer, missed this entire season after having Tommy John surgery.

Madrigal did get back on the field but - like his short stint with the White Sox - he couldn't stay healthy.

The 25-year-old second baseman was on the injured list three times, once with a lower back strain and twice with groin strains.

Madrigal played in only 59 games for the Cubs and hit a rather sickly .249/.305/.282 with no home runs and 7 RBI.

The Sox had some serious injury issues themselves this year, so the obvious question is why bring back a player that has been so fragile?

After debuting with the White Sox in the COVID 19-shortened 2020 season, Madrigal missed most of August after separating his left shoulder on an awkward slide into third base.

It's a relevant question, one the Sox would no doubt seriously ponder before bringing Madrigal back.

But the potential move does make sense.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has already indicated he's more likely to address roster holes through trades rather than free agency.

The market for second basemen is weak this year and it's Jean Segura and Adam Frazier heading the thin crop.

If the Cubs do land one of the premier shortstops and shift Hoerner to second base, Madrigal would waste away on the bench. He did play some short in college at Oregon State but he's become a one-position player in the pro ranks.

The trade cost for Madrigal shouldn't be too prohibitive.

The White Sox have built up some pitching and infield depth at the lower levels of their minor-league system and should be able to put something together that interests the Cubs.

There's no doubt Madrigal is a health risk, but the upside is still there.

The No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 draft did slash .340/.376/.369 over 29 games during his rookie season, so the Sox have seen the talent.

Will they see it again?

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