The White Sox signed veteran Paul DeJong to man shortstop on Opening Day.
He will play the role of stabilizer and, if things go according to plan, placeholder.
That’s because No. 1 prospect Colson Montgomery is moving toward Chicago fast, and it’s only a matter of time until the 22-year-old is the starter at shortstop.
“Guys who have that kind of talent, they’ll let you know when they’re ready,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “He’s coming to spring training and he’s got to do his thing.
“He’s got to learn the major league game, see major league pitching and we’ll continue to evaluate this thing.”
The White Sox drafted Montgomery 22nd overall in 2021 out of Southridge High in Indiana. In his full-season debut in 2022 he reached base safely in 50 straight games playing for Low-A Kannapolis and High-A Winston-Salem.
Oblique and back injuries limited him to 64 games last season, the final 37 with Double-A Birmingham. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Montgomery got extra work in the Arizona Fall League and he was voted MVP in the Fall Stars Game.
The lefthanded hitter owns a career .410 on-base percentage in the minor leagues and has flashed big raw power.
“In the box, the decisions he makes, the temperament, the under control operation, it really stands out,” White Sox general manager Chris Getz said. “And then defensively, he’s a solid defender at shortstop.”
Even if he stands out during spring training, Montgomery is likely to open the season with Triple-A Charlotte, just to get a needed taste of upper-level competition.
“Colson’s got a bright future, there’s no question about it,” Getz said. “At the end of the day, the goal is for him to be a really good major league player, and I think that’s going to happen.
“He’s going to choose his own path with regards to production, and there’s going to have to be some decisions made on just evaluating when he’s ready to go up to stay.”
— The White Sox signed 17-year-old Venezuelan third baseman Eduardo Herrera for $1.8 million when the international signing period opened on Jan. 15.
— Former White Sox reliever Sergio Santos was named Double-A Birmingham’s new manager.