White Sox

Online prognosticators plan position switch, but White Sox believe Jake Burger will stay at third base

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USA TODAY

Online prognosticators plan position switch, but White Sox believe Jake Burger will stay at third base

Will Jake Burger stay at third base or what?

It’s a perfectly reasonable question, as plenty of prospects have started at one position only to end up moving over to first base when their bat proved more valuable than their glove. Heck, new Hall of Famer Jim Thome was drafted as a shortstop and played third base during his first several big league seasons.

Burger is a masher, the reason the White Sox took him with their first pick in last summer’s draft, and he’s not exactly built like your typical third baseman.

Because of that, the new national pastime of the South Side — projecting the future White Sox lineup — rarely includes Burger at third base. Instead, and I’m as guilty as anyone, Burger is seen as a potential future first baseman by those on the outside. A lot of that has to do with some big-name third basemen hitting the free-agent market in upcoming offseasons, too.

But the bottom line is this: If you’re concerned about Burger’s glove, the White Sox think you shouldn’t be.

“From what I’ve seen, there’s nothing that says that he can’t play third base,” Chris Getz, the White Sox director of player development, said during last month’s SoxFest at the Hilton Chicago. “He’s got a strong arm, he’s got good hands, good reactions. He’s shown some pretty good range, as well.

“If you watch him, it’s probably not the typical. He’s more of a throwback, let’s put it that way. There’s some effort to what he does, but he makes the plays. He’s got great presence in the field, he’s a leader on the field. I do project him to be a third baseman by the time he gets here.”

General manager Rick Hahn talked about how, if all goes according to plan, the White Sox could have championship-caliber options at every position on the diamond. So why throw a crazy amount of money at Manny Machado or Nolan Arenado if Burger’s going to be manning the hot corner? It’s up to Burger and the White Sox player-development staff to prove that would be the case, but it’s an interesting wrinkle to all those down-the-line projections.

Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: Yu Darvish earns first win as a Cub, Reynaldo Lopez earns first win of the season

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USA TODAY

Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: Yu Darvish earns first win as a Cub, Reynaldo Lopez earns first win of the season

Bill Melton and David Kaplan join Leila Rahimi to discuss the possible fate of where Manny Machado will end up. Plus, they discuss all the firsts: Yu Darvish's first win as a Cub and Reynaldo Lopez's first win of this season.

 

Michael Saunders joins Triple-A Charlotte: A potential addition to White Sox banged-up outfield?

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USA TODAY

Michael Saunders joins Triple-A Charlotte: A potential addition to White Sox banged-up outfield?

The White Sox could use some help in the outfield.

Did a reinforcement just join Triple-A Charlotte?

Former Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders signed with the White Sox organization Monday, joining up with Charlotte.

Saunders, 31, has parts of nine major league seasons under his belt. Last year, he split time with the Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies, posting a .202/.256/.344 slash line with six homers and 21 RBIs in 73 games.

The year prior he made his as-of-yet only All-Star appearance, slashing .253/.338/.478 with 24 homers in 140 games with the Jays.

The White Sox currently have both Opening Day corner outfielders on the shelf. Avisail Garcia has been on the disabled list for almost a month with a hamstring strain, and the team announced over the weekend that Garcia's injury is bad enough that it will likely keep him out until late June. Nicky Delmonico suffered a broken bone in his hand during the recently completed series with the Texas Rangers and will miss four to six weeks.

The White Sox have been giving playing time to Adam Engel, Leury Garcia, Daniel Palka and Trayce Thompson. But Engel and Thompson are both batting under .200, while Palka has an on-base percentage under .300.

So perhaps, with his major league experience, Saunders might make an appearance on the South Side sometime this summer.