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White Sox bring in veteran shortstop DeJong (source)

The White Sox reached a deal with veteran shortstop Paul DeJong on Tuesday night, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

The club has not confirmed the deal, which is pending the result of a physical.

Since taking over, general manager Chris Getz has expressed that improving Chicago’s defense across the diamond — but especially up the middle — has been one of his main goals. The White Sox currently have All-Star Luis Robert Jr. in center field; Korey Lee behind the plate; and DeJong and Nicky Lopez at shortstop and second, respectively.

“Well, you know it’s piece by piece, it really is,” Getz said at the General Managers Meetings in early November. “In setting out to really improve our defensive play, it will allow our pitchers to attack the zone and be more efficient. We need to become more athletic, and that speaks to the improved defense we hope — and obviously running the bases, taking extra bases, those types of things.

“We’re looking for players that understand what it takes to be on a winning ballclub. That starts with their approach on a day-to-day basis, being in the right place at the right time on the field and more or less being baseball players going out there and working together, competing.”

DeJong, 30, spent time with three teams last season. He began the year with the Cardinals — the only team he had played for since debuting in 2017 — before being traded to the Blue Jays at the Trade Deadline. Toronto released DeJong three weeks later, and while he signed with the Giants on Aug. 23, he was released less than a month later.

An All-Star for the Cardinals in 2019, DeJong slashed just .207/.258/.355 (.612 OPS) last season. Over the past three seasons, he has a .192/.265/.353 (.618 OPS) line in 302 games.

DeJong, who is from Antioch, Ill., and played at Illinois State University, has played almost exclusively at shortstop in the big leagues, especially of late. The only other defensive position where DeJong has made an appearance is second base, but 20 of his 22 appearances at second came in his rookie season in 2017.

Lopez, acquired as part of the five-player return for Aaron Bummer in the White Sox trade with the Braves on Nov. 17, has the ability to play shortstop and third base as well. 

“One thing I do hang my hat on is being versatile and playing Gold Glove-caliber defense, whether it’s at short, second or third,” Lopez said during a Zoom call on Tuesday. “Played a little of the outfield as well. To be able to know I can go fill a spot wherever they need me is something I take a lot of pride in.

“I do think that being able to go from short and bounce around to second and go to third is very valuable on the team, especially a winning team. So, let’s see where it goes but I’m very excited.”

Of course, the eventual answer at shortstop figures to be Colson Montgomery, Chicago’s No. 1 prospect and the No. 17 overall prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline. Though he’s just 21 years old — he’ll be 22 by Opening Day — the goal for the 6-foot-3 left-handed hitter is to break camp with the team.

Getz doesn’t want to put any arbitrary restrictions on the development of Montgomery, who made a strong impression with his play for Glendale during the 2023 Arizona Fall League. Even if he doesn’t leave Spring Training with the White Sox, Montgomery’s jump from Triple-A Charlotte to the White Sox could very well arrive early ’24.

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