PHOENIX – With Yoan Moncada moving to third base, who is going to play second base for the White Sox this season?
Nick Madrigal is a solid bet to eventually occupy the position, but last year’s first-round draft pick (No. 4 overall) isn’t expected to be ready for the major leagues until sometime in 2020.
Yolmer Sanchez, the Sox’s regular third baseman last season, is ticketed to play second this year.
“Sanchy is a natural second baseman, but that doesn’t preclude him from being able to play other positions as well,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s so early in the spring right now, but we’ll see how it continues to play out.”
Machado watch: After a brief lull, the Manny Machado/Bryce Harper rumors are heating back up.
Both 26-year-old star free agents still are on the market, but that could change this week with position players reporting to major league training camps in Arizona and Florida.
According to multiple reports, Harper has been offered a contract in excess of $300 million and appears to be leaning toward the Phillies. Machado has been offered a deal worth $280 million over eight years, possibly from the Padres.
Both figures are likely more than the Sox want to pay, but they still seem to be in the mix for Machado.
The four-time All-Star met with the Sox on Dec. 17 at Guaranteed Rate Field. That was two months ago, but Jose Abreu was there, and he still is hoping Machado comes on board.
“It was an outstanding conversation,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “(Manager) Ricky (Renteria) and I talked to him. We talked to him about the organization, our plan, what we want to accomplish here. And he got it. He was open; we were open to all his questions. Right now, it’s just wait and see what his decision’s going to be.
“I think everyone in every organization is talking about him, just to have the chance to have him as a teammate or as a part of your organization. But we don’t know where he is in his mind or his plan. He’s a very good ballplayer. But if we don’t get him, I think we’re going to be OK, too, because we have guys with talent that can play and help this team to win games.”
More Machado: With Moncada moving to third base and Tim Anderson in place at shortstop, where would Machado play if he does sign with the Sox?
Machado spent most of his six seasons with the Orioles and Dodgers at third, but he prefers short.
“I’ve been saying I can’t worry about who’s not here,” Renteria said. “I’ve been focused on the guys that are here. I have to move forward that way. And like any team, anything can happen. You make adjustments as those changes occur, if they occur. Right now, the guys that are in that locker room are the ones that I’m most focused on.”