New duds, new drive? Mazara sounds determined to be the full-time right fielder on the South Side in 2020. (@MLBTradeRumors)
In the shadows of the aggressive pursuit of Gerrit Cole by the Yankees, the Chicago White Sox announced the acquisition of Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers in exchange for OF prospect Steele Walker.
Mazara, at only age 24, has compiled an underwhelming career so far compared to the lofty expectations set for him from the Rangers organization. Known for his highlight-reel home runs, Mazara has yet to develop that power consistently, with a .754 career OPS and a middling oWAR of 3.5 over four seasons. To make matters worse, Mazara’s defense rates below average by most metrics.
Despite this, Mazara is an upgrade from the revolving door of blah that filled RF in 2019, but it isn’t the massive upgrade Sox fans may have wanted.
On the other side of things Walker, great name aside, hasn’t lived up to expectations, either. His hit tool was the calling card going into the draft, and he hasn’t been able to make much use of it, especially against lefties. Also, at age 23, he hasn’t shown the polish you’d tend to expect from a college draft pick.
All in all, this is a change-of-scene trade that could be beneficial for both teams, and in a vacuum, it’s an entirely sensible trade.
With the heightened expectations for the White Sox to spend in 2020, it is entirely underwhelming. This is especially true if Mazara ends up becoming the primary starter in right field. The optimist, however, can only hope that Mazara thrives in a platoon role and in working with new hitting coach Frank Menechino, unlocks his potential.