KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The White Sox have begun the search to fill one of two possible vacancies on the left side of the infield for 2016 when they claimed Mike Olt off waivers.
The former Cubs third baseman was claimed on Saturday and is expected to join the White Sox soon, though a specific arrival hasn’t been determined. Olt, 27, has a .158/.245/.333 slash line with 13 home runs and 119 strikeouts in 314 major league plate appearances, including 16 with the Cubs this season. The White Sox have been happy with the defense provided by rookie Tyler Saladino but he could slide to shortstop in 2016 if Alexei Ramirez becomes a free agent.
“(Olt is a) third baseman, power bat,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “And I think we’ve been kind of searching for that and we are going to see how it goes. I think we are fairly intrigued by having him here and getting him going. Hopefully he can make it by this weekend or the start of next week.”
In a previous attempt to fill their void at third, the White Sox acquired Matt Davidson from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Addison Reed in December 2013. Davidson has hit 43 homers at Triple-A Charlotte the past two seasons but he also has struck out 351 times, including 187 this season.
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Beyond that, the White Sox have Nick Delmonico (.695 OPS at Double-A) and Trey Michalczewski (.735 OPS at Single-A with 34 doubles).
To fill next season’s void, the White Sox could attempt to acquire a third baseman in an offseason trade or sign someone from a relatively thin free agents class that includes Juan Uribe, David Freese and Mike Aviles.
But for now Olt is expected to get a look over the team’s final 28 games. Ventura hopes a change of scenery might spark Olt.
“There was a fit there,” Ventura said. “It’s something about getting him in here and seeing what can happen.”
The Cubs acquired Olt as part of a package from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Matt Garza in July 2013. Olt hit .160/.248/.356 with 12 homers but also struck out 100 times in 258 plate appearances in 2014. The Cubs designated him for assignment on Monday after they acquired Austin Jackson from Seattle.