Luis Alexander Basabe was one of nearly 30 SF Giants minor leaguers to declare free agency earlier this month, but it appears that his foray into free agency will not last long. According to Baseball America, Basabe will return to a familiar environment after signing a deal with the Chicago White Sox.
Former SF Giants speedy outfielder signs with the Chicago White Sox
The terms of the deal were not revealed but it is likely a minor-league pact with an invite to spring training. Basabe originally signed with the Boston Red Sox as an international free agent for $450,000 during the 2012 J2 signing period. However, he was flipped to the White Sox along with Victor Diaz, Michael Kopech, and Yoan Moncada in a move that sent Chris Sale to Boston.
Basabe excelled in the lower minor league levels but struggled to maintain that level of production against more advanced pitching. He has always possessed an intriguing skill set including impressive athleticism, good speed, a selective eye and he hits from both sides of the plate.
This made it easy to envision him carving out a role on a major league roster but it did not happen in his first run with Chicago as he was placed on waivers in August of 2020. The Giants claimed him at a time when they were one of the more aggressive teams on the waiver wire.
Basabe spent the bulk of the 2020 campaign at the alternate training site but he made a cameo appearance with the Giants as well. The 25-year-old recorded only two hits in 14 at-bats but he coaxed four walks and scored five runs in nine games. He did not hit the ball well but he provided a bit of excitement in a brief showing.
Despite this, Basabe was designated for assignment when Tommy La Stella inked a three-year, $19 million deal with the Giants. The bad luck continued as he sustained a sprain in his left wrist during a spring training game that kept him out for the first half of the season.
When he did return, the speedy outfielder struggled to make an impact following an assignment to Double-A as he posted a .688 OPS in 83 plate appearances. Given how much the Giants' depth has improved recently, it was tough to envision Basabe making his way back to the major league roster even if he was not a free agent.
Perhaps, a return to a familiar environment will create an opportunity for the 25-year-old outfielder. For Giants fans, he offered a brief glimpse of excitement and upside that did not go unnoticed.