By: Joe Botana
After an extremely disappointing season during which a roster expected to compete failed to do so, the White Sox understandably elected to tear down and rebuild. Several important pieces have already departed in free agency or were non-tendered. Tonight, the team took the first step toward building its 2016 roster by trading for infielder Brett Lawrie from the Oakland Athletics. In exchange, the Sox sent minor leaguers RHP J.B. Wendelken (AAA) and LHP Zack Erwin (A) to the A’s. Neither was on the Sox’s list of Top-30 prospects, so at least on the surface, it appears the South Siders paid a relatively modest price.
Lawrie will most likely slot in at third base and will be a significant upgrade over incumbent Mike Olt. In 2015 he played a total of thirty games split between the Cubs and the Sox, hitting below the “Mendoza Line” at .191, with a .255 OBP and .580 OPS. Meanwhile, in 149 games with Oakland, Lawrie batted .260 with a .299 OBP and .736 OPS. Lawrie is also a better fielder, with a FPCT of .937 compared to Olt’s of .918 in 2015. He also played 42 of those games at second base for Oakland, with an even better FPCT of .972. Thus, he could potentially be an option, either as a plattoon or full time, at second base where Carlos Sanchez is currently slated to start.
Lawrie appears to be a good fit for a roster that is being rebuilt to be at least as competitive statistically as the one in 2015 turned out to be but at a lower payroll.