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Second base? First base? Outfield? Chris Getz suggests Yoán Moncada can do it all for White Sox

Vinnie Duber Avatar
November 8, 2023
Yoán Moncada

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Yoán Moncada is due a big bump in pay in 2024.

Is he also due for a trip around the diamond?

Fans routinely ask me whether the White Sox would consider moving Moncada back to second base, where he played when he first arrived on the South Side, including during his ugly 2018 season, when he made 21 errors at the position, in part prompting his move to third base, where he’s been mostly sensational defensively ever since.

That query typically comes because there might be an opportunity for the White Sox to add a different third baseman to bolster their lineup. Given that the offseason is upon us and Chris Getz has plans for a serious makeover after saying “I don’t like our team” Tuesday, I decided to volley that scenario toward the new general manager.

The answer was not what I expected.

“I think he is capable of playing different positions,” Getz said. “He’s played some second base with us. I think he’s a better third baseman than second baseman. That doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be some days where perhaps he goes over to second base or plays first base and perhaps even the outfield. We’ll do what’s best for our club.

“He’s a very good athlete, he is. And if that means we need to have Yoán be more versatile to help our lineup on a nightly basis, you do that.”

It was an interesting answer from Getz, who spent much of his session at the GM meetings talking about the need for the White Sox to improve defensively.

Moncada is one of the team’s best defenders. But not only did he struggle back in 2018 when playing somewhere other than third base, but players playing out of position has been one of the reasons the White Sox have been among baseball’s worst defensive squads in recent seasons. Doing that again, even with someone as athletic and talented as Moncada, would seem to be a step in the opposite direction when it comes to improving the White Sox’ defense.

Of course, this wasn’t exactly Getz presenting a firm plan to use Moncada as some sort of utility guy, rather a trumpeting of his ability. The expectation is still that Moncada will be the White Sox’ everyday third baseman in 2024. But this was something we’ve never heard before.

It was something, though, that was presented to Moncada during a challenging season for him.

He spent much of the year affected by a springtime back injury and was only toward the end of the campaign able to produce offensively. His strong end to the season was enough to produce the possibility that a return to the kind of form he showed during his breakout 2019 season is possible, but that will require health, something he hasn’t experienced since 2019.

“I would play any position they ask me to play,” Moncada said through team interpreter Billy Russo in July. “I’m here to help the team. I don’t have any problem moving around.”

That came when the White Sox still had Jake Burger, who was hitting enough to demand an everyday spot in the lineup, to the point where Pedro Grifol was trying him out at second base. Burger was traded to the Marlins in early August.

The White Sox no longer need to find a place for Burger; they need to find someone to man second base. But a glance at the free-agent market reveals a dearth of exciting options for second base and shortstop. There is a Gold Glover on the market in 30-year-old third baseman Matt Chapman, though he’s coming off of a season in which he hit only 17 home runs, the lowest full-season total of his career.

We’ll see what the offseason has in store. Getz certainly has holes to fill in the middle of the infield, and if the best solution is filling a nonexistent hole at third base, perhaps Moncada does end up playing elsewhere.

But barring a surprise addition of Chapman’s caliber, a focus on improving defensively would figure to include running the best defensive lineup out there every day, which would figure to mean Moncada at third every day.

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