The White Sox added middle infield depth on Wednesday when they acquired minor league shortstop Jose Rondon from the San Diego Padres in exchange for the oft-traveled cash considerations.
The 23-year-old Rondon was once among the Top 10 prospects in San Diego’s system, rising as high as No. 6 prior to the 2016 season. His star has fallen since, to the point where he wasn’t mentioned in BP’s write-up of the Padres’ system either of the last two seasons, and he was DFA’s by the club four days prior to Wednesday’s trade.
The move is curious in that it comes just six days after the White Sox sent another minor league infielder, Jake Peter, to the Dodgers in a deal that netted a pair of veteran relievers. But the main difference between Peter and Rondon is that the latter is a pure shortstop, something the White Sox are of despite the strength of their system. It’s true they have an abundance of major league utility-types, but Tyler Saladino is 28 and coming off a lost season amid injuries and ineffectiveness, and it’s possible they’d prefer Yolmer Sanchez and Leury Garcia, two more players capable of handling shortstop, to focus on third base and center field, respectively. Outside of those options, the next man up on the shortstop depth chart is, uh … Eddy Alvarez?
So Rondon makes sense, even if his upside offensively doesn’t match that of Peter, who slugged .506 in the second half of the season with Triple-A Charlotte a year ago. With a minor league option left, Rondon, who was added to the 40-man roster, will likely be the Knights’ starting shortstop to enter the season and be used as insurance in case of injuries to incumbent starter Tim Anderson or one of the other utility infielders.
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