It was the future of a prestigious club… Will De Jong, who fell quickly, turn around in Chicago
De Jong gets a fresh start with the White Sox.
The Chicago White Sox agreed to a free agent contract with shortstop Paul De Jong on November 22 (Korean time). The White Sox, one of the market’s ‘stars’ over the past few years, have changed their strategy this time. The White Sox, who recently lost left-handed bullpen Aaron Bummer to the Atlanta Braves and acquired five players, including Mike Soroka, are starting with small steps first rather than spending a large amount of money.
Shortstop has long been one of the positions the White Sox are most confident in. The White Sox had a reliable starting shortstop, Tim Anderson. Anderson, a first-rounder (17th pick) in the 2013 rookie draft, debuted in the big leagues in 2016 and has always maintained the White Sox’s central infield. He finished seventh in Rookie of the Year voting in his debut season, was named an All-Star twice (2021-2022), won the Silver Slugger Award in the shortened season, and also earned votes in MVP voting.
The White Sox signed Anderson to a team-friendly long-term contract worth $37.5 million over 7 years ahead of the 2017 season. Anderson fell miserably this year, the final season of his guaranteed contract, and the White Sox gave up exercising the club’s option for the 2024 season, sending him to the free agent market. And De Jong was recruited as a candidate to fill the position that Anderson left.
However, De Jong is not a great alternative. De Jong is also a player whose position is not much different from Anderson. Like Anderson, he is a player in desperate need of a turnaround.
De Jong, who was born in 1993 and is the same age as Anderson, was once the future of the prestigious St. Louis Cardinals. De Jong, who was drafted by St. Louis in the fourth round of the 2015 rookie draft, debuted in the big leagues in 2017 and immediately stood out. Appearing in 108 games in his debut season, De Jong hit .285/.325/.532 with 25 home runs and 65 RBIs, finishing second for National League Rookie of the Year honors and firmly establishing himself as St. Louis’ starting shortstop.
De Jong hit .241/.313/.433 with 19 home runs and 68 RBI in 115 games in the 2018 season, and hit .233/.318/.444 with 30 home runs, 78 RBI, and 9 stolen bases in 159 games in the 2019 season, reaching the 30 home run mark. He was also selected as an All-Star. His performance in his first three seasons was .251/.318/.467, 74 home runs, 211 RBI, and 11 stolen bases in 382 games. De Jong was the shortstop with the 5th most home runs in the entire major league during that period. The only players with more home runs than De Jong were Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado, Trevor Story, and Javier Baez, who all played in 50 more games.
De Jong, who established himself as a ‘sweeping shortstop’, seemed to become a ‘franchise star shortstop’ that St. Louis has never had in its long history (team legend Rogers Hornsby played shortstop for a short period of time, and Aji Smith played for the San Diego Padres). from). Although De Jong did not have a high batting average and was not very good at starting pitching, he was a player with destructive power and there seemed to be a lot of room for his growth. St. Louis quickly signed De Jong to a six-year, $24 million, team-friendly long-term contract ahead of the 2018 season.
But it ended there. The 2019 season became De Jong’s first and last All-Star selection season, and it was the last season in which De Jong showed hitting productivity above the league average.
De Jong fell with an OPS of 0.671 in the shortened season and suffered from injuries afterwards. De Jong, who only hit .196/.280/.351 with 28 home runs and 95 RBIs over the three years of the 2020-2022 season, showed a slight rebound by hitting .233/.297/.412 in 81 games through July of this season and signed a summer transfer. He wore a Toronto Blue Jays uniform through a trade in the market. However, after the transfer, he went silent with 3 hits in 44 at-bats in 13 games and was released less than a month later. He later wore the San Francisco Giants uniform, but performed poorly and was released at the end of September. 먹튀검증
De Jong up until the 2019 season and De Jong after were completely different players. The sophistication that was originally lacking was further reduced, and the pioneering plan, which was also lacking from the beginning, became even worse. In addition, De Jong’s slugging ability, which was his greatest strength, fell, and he was reduced to a player who did not have much value as a hitter.
However, as a fielder, there is still value left. Although his debut was somewhat disappointing, his defensive ability, which has improved since the 2019 season, still remains above the league average. Having spent almost all of his career as a shortstop, he is not highly utilized as a utility player, but he is certainly valuable as a shortstop with reliable defense.
It is unlikely that the White Sox recruited De Jong as a long-term resource. The White Sox are awaiting the debut of the team’s top prospect, shortstop Colson Montgomery, born in 2002. Montgomery, a TOP 100 prospect, finished this season in Double A and is raising expectations as a player with outstanding hitting ability.
However, as he is still a developing player, it will still take time for Montgomery to reach the major leagues. Of course, there is a possibility that he will go directly to the major leagues without going through Triple A due to his excellent performance in the spring training exhibition games, but it seems that he will still need more time.
Although it is not a long-term option, De Jong is expected to be given a chance until Montgomery settles down as a big leaguer. If he takes this opportunity and shows signs of rebound, he may be able to expand his position as a major leaguer again in the future. At 30 years old, De Jong is not very old yet.
Attention is being paid to whether De Jong, who was expected to be the player who will carry the future of the prestigious club, but fell after a short period of success, will be able to make a comeback with his new team.