Late evening December 10th, the White Sox acquired OF Slugger Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers for their #6 prospect OF Steele Walker. Despite the mixed bag of opinions passed around social media since the deal was completed it is considered a low risk high reward move. But, should the White Sox consider other OF options to platoon with Mazara for 2020 and possibly beyond? On paper they can do this already in house with utility man Leury Garcia who hit well vs lefties, which is one of Nomar’s struggles. But there are other OF platoon options the Sox should explore instead of hoping Mazara can fully reach his touted prospect potential. It seems GM Rick Hahn maybe hinting at this based on the below quote. Lets dive into some options to platoon with Mazara in the OF.
Marcell Ozuna, 29, is the cousin of former White Sox infielder Pablo Ozuna. He also has worked under the tutelage of new hitting coach, Frank Menechino, with the Miami Marlins. Marcell has slashed .272/.329/.455 with a .784 OPS over his 7 year career. Ozuna is also a former gold glove winner back in 2017, and even though his defense has taken a little bit of a downturn in recent seasons he only committed 4 errors in LF and still had a 5.7 UZR in 2019. Given the familiarity with the coaching and his past success, Ozuna should fit in well.
Yasiel Puig, 29, is the former teammate of newly acquired C Yasmani Grandal from his time with the LA Dodgers. Puig has a career slash line of .277/.348/.475 and a 10.5 UZR playing defense in the outfield. The Wild Horse has lived up to his nickname over 7 seasons with the Dodgers, Reds, and Indians, and is notorious for struggling with behavioral and character issues. Perhaps joining a team with a plethora of players of Latin descent, Puig will feel more welcome with the Pale Hose.
Nicholas Castellanos, 27, was a converted to the outfield from third base in the latter half of the 2017 season. After his time in the outfield with Detroit and crosstown rival Chicago Cubs, Castellanos has still managed sub par defensive metrics in the outfield. He did improve after being traded at the 2019 deadline from a -4.5 UZR in Comerica Park to a -.6 rating in Wrigley Field, which is a notably smaller ballpark. Despite the defensive shortcomings, Castellanos has solid bat skills with a career slash line of .277/.326/.471 and also managed a career high 58 doubles in 2019. Hopefully, if acquired, Castellanos can keep working on his OF defense in a similar ballpark in Guaranteed Rate Field
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, 28, has had his services posted this offseason from the Yokohama Bay Stars of the Japanese Nippon league. Tsutsugo has spent 10 seasons in Japan with an impressive career slash line of .284/382/.525 and a .907 OPS. Tsutsugo is indeed a wild card since he has zero major league experience but it is possible his skills can translate into the majors. The White Sox have some history with other Japanese players like closer Shingo Takatsu and 2B Tadahito Iguchi, so he may be an option for the Southsiders.
It seems too much of a gamble for the White Sox to solely commit to Nomar Mazara as the primary RF. Acquiring a 2nd OF/DH option to split with Nomar would be the ideal decision. One of these 4 options should provide a good platoon tandem with Mazara for the White Sox in 2020 and beyond.
Featured Photo: White Sox Twitter