Rongey: Future options at third base for Chicago White Sox

  • Toronto Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson follows through on an RBI double off Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer during the second inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in Toronto. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

    Toronto Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson follows through on an RBI double off Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer during the second inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in Toronto. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

 
 
Updated 9/6/2015 11:26 PM

With newcomer Mike Olt starting at third base for the White Sox in the Royals series finale, he became the 22nd different player they've tried at the position since Joe Crede (hat tip to Chris Kamka at CSN).

The other 21 were a mixture of capable stopgaps (Kevin Youkilis), failed free agents (Jeff Keppinger) and prospects (Josh Fields), and temporary fixes (Omar Vizquel).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Olt is yet another attempt by the Sox to find someone -- anyone -- who can play that corner and be productive while doing it. Injuries for Olt highlight disappointment, and it seems a longshot the first-round-pick-caliber talent will find its way to the surface, but it doesn't hurt to try.

However, the likely reality is the White Sox will have to look outside the organization for an upgrade at third, even if that could be difficult to do.

For this exercise, let's assume the team will remain mostly intact for next season with a dismantling doubtful. The relative youth and strength of the pitching staff might dictate that course of action.

What we know is this: Of all teams in the American League, the Sox have gotten the second-worst production from third base in two of the last three seasons, and this year the fewest amount of home runs.

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Unfortunately, the free-agent list is thin, aging and uninspiring (although Juan Uribe is just the best). Therefore, the club's best chance at significantly improving the position would have to be via trade.

Of the best third basemen in the league, there probably won't be much available. The likes of Arenado, Bryant, Machado, Kang, Carpenter and Moustakas aren't going anywhere, but there are a few who might make sense.

Kyle Seager and Evan Longoria are under contract for the rest of their lives and each are getting expensive, but I wouldn't completely rule them out as possibilities. The Reds aren't going anywhere anytime soon, and Todd Frazier can be a free agent in 2018. He could be obtainable, but I figure Cincinnati would want prospects in return, which isn't an asset for the Sox.

I would say Yunel Escobar could be a candidate, but I can't see the Washington Nationals looking to trade for more pitching. Their rotation hasn't been as dominant as predicted, but they're still good there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Which brings me to my fantasy, so indulge me: How about Josh Donaldson? No, seriously.

For the Toronto Blue Jays, I believe what they opt to do next season will somewhat depend on how far they get this postseason. Should they win the World Series, it may satisfy the organization enough they'd be willing to part with one of the best hitters in the game. On the other hand, the Jays have money coming off the books, money to spend, and may decide to reload in 2016 regardless.

Toronto has offense to spare, and what they'll likely want next season is pitching. There's no guarantee David Price re-signs with them and the Jays will want a starter to replace him if he goes. The Sox, meanwhile, have pitching to offer if it'll fill a major hole they've been desperate to plug for seven years.

While Jose Quintana may not be considered an ace, he's seventh in the league in wins above replacement for starters and was eighth last year. In other words, Quintana has quietly been one of the American League's best starters for the last few years.

Of course, this is ambitious thinking, but it may not be all that outlandish. I'd hate for the White Sox to lose Quintana, but they desperately need some lineup help, and dealing a terrific starter might be the only way to get it.

• Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter@ChrisRongey and at chrisrongey.com.

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