Yolmer Sanchez is a Gold Glover. He also might be at the end of his time with the White Sox.
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Monday that the South Siders put Sanchez on outright waivers one week before the non-tender deadline.
#WhiteSox Gold Glove 2B Yolmer Sánchez on outright waivers, sources tell The Athletic. Loomed as non-tender candidate with @mlbtraderumors projecting him to earn $6.2M in arbitration. Available to any team in waiver process. CWS clears 40-man roster spot.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 25, 2019
It's been speculated for a while now that Sanchez might be nearing the close of his White Sox career. Despite his defensive excellence during the 2019 season, he figured to be little more than a reserve player after top-rated prospect Nick Madrigal, expected to reach the majors in the early stages of the 2020 season, takes over the everyday job at second base. Throw in the projected $6.2 million he's projected to receive through the arbitration process, and Sanchez might just be too expensive for a backup infielder's job.
None of that, of course, diminished the White Sox feelings toward Sanchez, who was talked about by team brass as a great presence in the clubhouse, in addition to the more obvious contributions he made on the field.
But Sanchez making way for Madrigal hasn't been difficult to forecast, either. After slashing .267/.319/.413 with 12 homers in 2017, Sanchez saw his numbers dip in each of the last two seasons, hitting a combined .246/.311/.349 with 10 homers in 2018 and 2019. Madrigal, meanwhile, showed why the White Sox spent the No. 4 pick on him in the 2018 draft, striking out just 16 times during a breakout season in the minors in 2019. General manager Rick Hahn said during his end-of-season press conference that the White Sox expect Madrigal to be the team's second baseman for much of the 2020 season.
"(Sanchez has) been awesome in the clubhouse," Hahn said during the GM meetings earlier this month in Arizona. "He's a great guy to have around. He's a positive influence on the young players. And obviously now he's a Gold Glove infielder.
"In the end, it comes down to pricing. He's arbitration eligible. That comes with a certain salary range through that process. And ultimately, we have to decide: Is the arbitration number going to be worth what kind of production we expect to get from him going forward versus the production we can get, potentially, from some others?
"Certain guys, it's tough. Yolmer is a good dude, and you like having him around."
Sanchez hitting waivers would open up a 40-man spot for the White Sox, who just filled the roster to its capacity last week. When the team announced the signing of Yasmani Grandal, Daniel Palka was designated for assignment. Palka, by the way, was outrighted to Triple-A Charlotte on Monday.
That reportedly vacated roster spot spurred speculation that another addition might be coming, especially with the White Sox still a week away from the non-tender deadline, when they must decide to offer or not offer contracts to their arbitration-eligible players.
It's been a busy offseason on the South Side, and we haven't even hit Thanksgiving yet. Stay tuned.