The White Sox have agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder Nick Williams, reports USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (via Twitter). Williams, a client of the Boras Corporation, would be paid $900K if he cracks the big league roster.
Now 27 years of age, Williams is a former second-round pick (Rangers, 2012) and highly touted prospect. Ranked as the game’s No. 27 overall farmhand back in 2016, Williams was one of the centerpieces of the trade sending Cole Hamels from Philadelphia to Texas, but he’s yet to replicate his impressive rookie showing from the 2017 season. A 23-year-old Williams debuted for the Phils that year and went on to hit .288/.338/.473 with a dozen homers, 14 doubles and two triples in 343 trips to the plate.
Since that time, however, Williams has struggled both in the big leagues. He batted .234/.298/.388 in 560 MLB plate appearances from 2018-19, though he still posted very strong Triple-A numbers during that ’19 campaign. Williams opened the 2020 season in the Phillies organization but eventually went to the Reds via waiver claim. He never appeared in a Major League game with Cincinnati, though, spending a month at their alternate training site before being designated for assignment and going unclaimed on waivers the second time around.
The White Sox have a full outfield with Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Adam Eaton and Adam Engel, so there’s no immediate path to playing time for Williams. He’ll look to make the club as a bench bat and DH option, though he could also head to Triple-A Charlotte as a depth piece. In some ways, this is a smaller-scale version of last year’s addition of Nomar Mazara, another still-in-his-prime former top corner outfield prospect. Williams, of course, won’t go on the 40-man roster as Mazara did, but if he surprises and finds himself with the ChiSox, he’d be controllable all the way through the 2024 season via arbitation.
Depth is depth. Maybe they get lucky and I suppose you could do worse on a minor league deal.
Dude had a 105 wRC+ in his two semi-full-time seasons. And this was with obvious struggles. Not out of the question he figures something out and starts raking. A lot of guys don’t figure it out until their late 20s.
Good pickup for Chicago. Low risk very high reward.
It looks like Williams got a job in the nick of time.
I hope for the best for that kid as a Phillies fan. Needs to be more patience at the plate.
Huge fan of Nick, but he just couldn’t put it together. Here’s hoping.
Dumpster divin’ Theo
You mean Hahn or just trolling?
It’s a meme
Brought on by trolling
100% Dumpster Dive right here
JDGoat: I think you left out part of your comment. Your comment was intended to say “It was about me, it’s always all about me”, am I right?
He’s just fishing for likes
This is great!
tom brunanskys black sock
Whitlock nails it again!
Sure hope this isn’t Hahn’s solution for the hole at the spot for a much needed lh dh
Sure hope people see this isn’t Hahn’s solution at anything more than getting a minor league piece, cause that is what he very clearly is…
Hell yeah why not? Charlotte could us another bat
If you take everything he’s accomplished in his entire career & condense it down to one day, it looks decent!
Why can’t this team ever sign or trade for a quality OF? They’ve been looking for a RF since Magglio.
Does Adam Eaton not count as quality?
How? He was an above aveage hitter and averaged about 4 fWAR a season.
@chisox Amen (to your “no” reply to asking if Eaton counts as quality).
The under the radar guy that nobody is talking about that would be a great fit for the Sox is Rosario. A left handed bat who can actually hit (and not injury prone). Not a RF but can DH and play left… his numbers excellent in 2019 and his homers/rbi’s last year identical to Eloy. I would call that an improvement over Encarnacion.
Eddie Rosario would be an OK fit for the White Sox. His low contact rate and OBP are not an ideal fit for a White Sox batting order that still has a few other hitters with that same profile.I’d rather have free agent Joc Pederson. Despite his lower BA, Pederson can at least work a count, draw walks and produce a better OPS+. I also prefer Pederson’s outfield defensive acumen and versatility over Rosario’s.
That said, I’d rather the front office roll the dice and trade for a suddenly available Andrew Benintendi if the price of acquiring him only cost the White Sox a MLB depth piece or two from their roster (Reynaldo Lopez, Matt Foster, Leury Garcia?) and/or prospects outside of their top-100. (Jonathan Stiever, Micker Adolfo, Blake Rutherford?).
The pre-2019 version of Benintendi would be a perfect fit for the White Sox for the next two seasons and perhaps longer if he returned to form. At 26 years old and without the unnecessary bulk he added following his excellent 2018 season, I believe Benintendi will do just that. His high contact/line-drive hitting bat, ability to draw walks and proficiency with stolen bases on offense, matched with his speed and athleticism in LF would complement the lineup nicely and be a perfect finishing touch to a productive offseason. Benintendi starting the majority of games in LF pushes Eloy Jimenez into more of a DH role where he’s less likely to hurt himself or the team. Benintendi joining Adam Eaton and Nick Madrigal in the bottom third of the batting order is better than many teams top-3. Add in the other starting six and boom!
We’ll all find out soon enough if the current version of Adam Eaton qualifies as a quality RF in 2021. What most White Sox fans already know is that the Adam Eaton Rick Hahn TRADED for in 2013 became a 6.6 bWAR RF in 2016, just before he sent him packing again to the Nationals for Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning. So, aside from a pretty competent and often excellent Jermaine Dye from 2005-2009, the White Sox also had a stud out in RF in 2016.
Eaton amassed a 15.9 bWAR metric in his 3 years patrolling the White Sox OF from 2014-2016. That was negatively impacted from more than a few stints on the disabled list.
As a National, Eaton spent too much time on the IL which impacted any potential WAR even more. His injuries were the ‘freak’ variety and none are considered debilitating. Three of Eaton’s four years in Washington barely amounted to a full season, his first two due to injuries and an abbreviated 2020 because of the pandemic.
The good news is that Eaton’s most recent full season in 2019 was a solid one. He played 151 games, accumulated 656 PA’s, scored 103 runs, slashed .279/.365/.428 with 15 HR’s and 15 SB’s in 18 attempts. He also earned a ring in 2019 while contributing a solid postseason that produced better numbers the further it went. Eaton was a candidate for World Series MVP with a .320/.433/.560 triple slash in 7 games played but lost out to Stephen Strasburg’s great pitching performance.
The only blemish in Eaton’s 2019 season was the drop in his defensive ability in RF. Some of that might have resulted from his return to a position he hadn’t played much since 2016 with the White Sox. Bryce Harper was the Nats RF until he left as a FA following the 2018 season. Eaton spent most of 2017 and 2018 in LF or CF when he wasn’t on the DL. ‘Spanky’ did manage to play 41 games in the abbreviated 2020 season, all of them in RF. He continued struggling with his defense so it remains to be seen if he can regain any part of his 2.3 dWAR metric from 2016 that earned him a nod as a Gold Glove finalist in RF. If not, the White Sox have another Adam in Engel who can platoon and finish games in RF while Eaton slides over to LF and spells Eloy Jimenez. Leury Garcia will also be available for OF duty when he isn’t needed backing up in the infield.
I do think that if Eaton can manage to stay off of the IL in 2021 he will produce some solid offensive numbers, one that will compliment a potent White Sox batting order very nicely. When the White Sox reach the postseason, they will also have a player who was there recently, performed well and took home a ring. All White Sox fans will welcome a repeat of that in 2021!
15 years ago?
“since Magglio” are your words, not mine.
Since you consider Dye a top tier signing, I have a bridge to sell you.
You said quality. Not top tier. Dye was a quality RF who has an OPS + of 121 in five seasons.
Jermaine Dye won WS MVP the very next year after moving on from Maggs. And then went on to have an excellent run with the Sox, so….
So that was 15years ago. And he worked out, but was considered a journeyman when they signed him.
DON’T ARGUE. The White Sox have done a great job building the roster. But their frugality and penchant for signing middle to low tier players to fill HUGE holes in the roster will continue to undermine their efforts.
Eloy is injury prone in left. Eaton is devoid of HR power, and an aging top of the order hitter, not a run producer. They need a real freaking RF.
I agree with you about RF, but stop trying to gaslight people into thinking Dye and Eaton were not solid players to prove you argument.
If the team had Dye or 2014-16 Eaton, they would have a very quality outfield and easily be considered the top contender in the AL.
How were Dye and Eaton not quality players during their time with the White Sox? Dye had a 122 wRC+ and smacked 164 home runs in the five years he was with the White Sox. Eaton was a 4 WAR per season player from 2014-2016. What team wouldn’t consider those quality numbers?
Dumpster Divin Theo
@max No offense, but comparing Dye to Eaton is a joke. Dye was good for 30 homers a year, which is more than Eaton has had in his last 4, and he was not hurt half the time.
@Chisox well said on their penchant for signing middle to low tier guys. Last year, they got Mazara, Encarnacion, Cishek for well over 20M combined. Quantity is not better than quality. One very good player is sometimes way more valuable than multiple mediocre ones.
I don’t know that they are going to get a real RF, thought I wish they were. I think more likely a DH/OF type, can only hope someone like Rosario is on their radar because he might not cost a ton.
Why are you prioritizing a single stat like HR’s in making a comparison between Jermaine Dye and Adam Eaton? If you want a good comp, how about matching Adam Eaton’s best White Sox season of 2016 when he amassed a 6.6 bWAR versus Dye’s best in 2006 that produced a 4.6 metric. Better yet, compare Eaton’s entire 3-year White Sox run from 2014-2016 (15.9) and match that up with Dye’s best 3 seasons of 2005, 2006 and 2008 (9.9). I’m certain you wouldn’t think about including Dye’s -1.6 (2007) and 0.2 (2009) in any equation. One more factual tidbit: Dye’s 4.6bWAR in 2006 was his single best as a White Sox while Eaton’s 4.1 in 2015 was his worst!
No “offense”, but who’s the “joke” now?
@aaron First of all my reply about Dye was not to you. But Eaton’s seasons you were referring to are like 5 years ago. It’s 2021. What about 2017, 18, 19, 20?
Eaton’s WAR for 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 are 0.3, 1.1, 1.5, and -0.7. I think pretty fair to call those close to pitiful. How likely is it that Eaton miraculously produces like he did 5 years ago, like the last 4 seasons never happened? The Sox have Eaton for 2021, not 2016. If he produces like his best seasons 5 and 6 years ago, of course he is a good player. The past 4 years he has averaged missing more than half a season, and hasn’t been all that good when he has played. I’m a Sox fan and hope he does well, but hoping for production last seen 5-6 years ago is just not likely. Hence why he was the cheapest outfielder on the market. I hope he has a WAR of 4. It will most likely be about 1, and he will likely miss 60-90 games. That’s what anybody would conclude if they are objective, and consider the past 4 seasons more meaningful than 5-8 years ago as a gauge of what to expect.
If he does a lot better, we will both be happy! Hope you chill out. Cheers.
How did the Phillies kill so many promising young OF’s careers? Williams, Altherr, Quinn, Odubel, Hyun Soo Kim all showed a lot of potential, but never went very far. Kingery has underperformed, too.
Odubel’s problem was he got lazy. Altherr and Williams never were patient. 20BB to 100SO is not good.
lazy and a terrible person
Quinn has had a lot to do with injuries, Odubel was stubborn, and im pretty sure Kim’s contract was up and really wasnt “developed” by us rather then in Korea and a little by BAL. Williams is probably the only true developmental fail, though hard to say how much rests on him there.
@DarkSide830 Yeah, I should have included Kim on the list. I was thinking about when Baltimore initially signed him.
But Altherr was the guy I really thought was going to be a stud, who just never put it together with the Phillies.
Good low-risk signing.
Offensive profile was similar to early years of Tim Anderson. If he can get back to 2018 numbers, he could be useful as a depth piece.
Those defensive metrics though . . .
south side hit men
This is NOT similar to Mazara. We traded a prospect to acquire Mazara. We were stuck throwing Mazara out there (for a while at least) because he was getting paid. This is just a lottery ticket
Your take from the article suggests “similar”. Steve Adams take is, “this is a smaller-scale version of last year’s addition of Nomar Mazara….”
A good example of the objectiveness involved with semantics, no?
I’ve always liked Williams, definitely showed some flashes in his first couple years. If it pans out you get a cost controlled 27 year old for the next 4 years, no real downside here for Chicago.
Good pickup. Could still develop into a good hitter but mediocre defensively.
wish him the best. i think the talent is still there for him to at least be a good reserve option.
Nick Williams will provide MLB insurance depth at AAA Charlotte and would also be a potential candidate as a White Sox reserve outfielder if they include either Adam Engle of Leury Garcia in a trade this offseason.
If the White Sox are involved in the Andrew Benintendi trade discussions, Chaim Bloom might have an interest in acquiring either Engel or Garcia as part of a package that would center on a MLB depth piece he covets from the White Sox pitching staff. That pitcher could be a starter like Reynaldo Lopez and/or a reliever like Matt Foster. With the signing of new closer Liam Hendriks, the White Sox could conceivably include a young reliever in a potential trade that might help solidify another area on their MLB roster.
Aside from all this, the addition of ‘Williams’ be a very ‘Kenny’ move by the White Sox front office. lol
@aaron I can only hope the Sox are not interested in Benintendi. The guy is coming off one of the worst seasons imaginable, hitting literally .105, and he was pretty mediocre in 2019. He is unlikely to give them anything better than Eaton would if he is healthy. I would not trade Engel for Benintendi straight up. I think Engel is way undervalued and would have done half way decent had he played more instead of freaking Mazara, and Benintendi is overvalued, one of those guys that had a lot of hype that looks like is not panning out so well. They have Eaton already. Huge, huge pass.
They should be totally out of trades unless it is for quality players coming off quality seasons, for multiple years like the Padres did. They can sign any number of guys better than Benintendi without giving up anyone.
You might want to do some background checking on why Andrew Benintendi struggled in 2019 and for the abbreviated 2020 season and not just rely on statistics. I’ve done research on it and also noted plenty of opinions and feedback from Red Sox fans. I won’t bore any commenters in an article not directly related to Benintendi but you can peruse the recent MLBRT article and sift through comments (400+) that centered on AB last week for all this information:https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2021/01/red-sox-discussing-andrew-benintendi-in-trade-talks.html
I think Adam Engel is slowly becoming a decent hitter. He started out awful, but every year he’s been a tad better. I wouldn’t trade him. He’s a great outfielder, and if his bat keeps improving, we won’t need another RF.
@prun I agree. Engel should have been playing full time the last month of the season to see what he had, when it was obvious Mazara was hopeless. I would not trade him for Benintendi straight up, honestly. If he got to play full time, they might not have had a need to get Eaton. I’m far from convinced that Eaton will wind up a better player than Engel actually. He will likely spend enough time on the DL that Engel should get plenty of playing time.
Wazz up Nick is back big time prospect for W/Sox before I bet if given a fair shot could beat Engle out for the 5th/ of & DH backup