The White Sox have agreed to a minor league contract with free-agent infielder Hanser Alberto, reports Robert Murray of FanSided. The CAA client will be in Major League camp as a non-roster player this spring.
Alberto, 30, spent the 2022 season with the Dodgers and batted .244/.256/.365 with a pair of homers, nine doubles and a pair of triples in 159 trips to the plate. The Dodgers declined a $2MM club option on the well-traveled veteran, instead choosing a $250K buyout and sending Alberto back to the free-agent market.
The 2022 season was the least productive of Alberto’s career, but he’s not far removed from a more respectable .292/.315/.411 showing in 1036 plate appearances split between the Orioles and Royals from 2019-21. Thanks to plus bat-to-ball skills (career 12.2% strikeout rate) but also one of the freest-swinging approaches (career 2.3% walk rate) of any hitter in baseball, Alberto can regularly be counted on for respectable batting averages with middling OBP marks. He’s lacking in terms of extra-base pop, which has also contributed to negating some of the value derived from his penchant for putting the ball in play.
Still, as far as bench infielders go, a career .272/.294/.380 is decent — and it should be pointed out that Alberto carries a much stronger .323/.341/.449 slash in his career against left-handed pitching. He’s able to play second base, shortstop and third base, and Defensive Runs Saved pegs him as above-average at all three spots. (Statcast’s Outs Above Average likes his left-side defense but has panned his work at second base.)
The White Sox are still in search of a clear everyday second baseman, with current in-house options including Leury Garcia, Romy Gonzalez and Lenyn Sosa. Alberto will add some depth and could win a spot on the bench to help out against left-handed pitching. It’s unlikely he’d slide into a strict platoon with the switch-hitting Garcia, though, as Garcia’s career numbers are better against left-handed pitching than against right-handed pitching himself. Both Gonzalez and Sosa, meanwhile, are right-handed hitters as well. That arguably creates some redundancy, but a quality, versatile defender who can put the ball in play isn’t a bad depth option to stash on the bench or in the upper minors.