It’s early December and the playoff hopes of the Bulls, Blackhawks and Bears are on life support, so I’m doing what I usually do when this happens, look forward to the baseball season. The White Sox size up as being one of the most interesting teams in baseball in this offseason, and on the field in 2020.
The Sox have already made a big move with the signing of catcher, Yasami Grandal. That still leaves huge holes in right field and starting pitching. I more concerned about starting pitching, as starters are starting to go off the board. I really liked Cole Hamels as a fit for the Sox starting rotation. Unfortunately Cole signed with the Braves for one year at $18 million. Zack Wheeler was a primary target for the Sox, but his signing with the Phillies for five seasons at $24 million means the Sox have to regroup.
Generally I mock the Sox about finishing second in the race for big time free agents, but I’m giving them a pass on Wheeler. They actually offered more money than the Phillies, but other factors entered into Wheeler’s decision. There has also been some discussion about the White Sox not spending big on pitchers. Well, actually they had paid big money on a starting pitcher. Remember James Shields? The Sox paid him $21 million a year. They also traded away Fernando Tatis Jr. for the privilege of doing it. That was almost Zack Wheeler money.
What the Sox could really use in their rotation is a solid innings eater. Dallas Keuchel and Madison Bumgarner fill that bill. In addition, each is a lefty which would be an added bonus. The White Sox rotation currently has some guys who have a ceiling of being the front of the rotation starters. Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech and even Reynaldo Lopez have the potential to be at least a number two starter. Carlos Rodon should also return sometime during the 2020 season. There’s plenty of potential with the Sox starters, but also plenty of question marks. A little stability would be nice.
Hyun-Jin Ryu would be another left-handed option with a little higher ceiling but also comes with a history of durability issues. Tanner Roark would be another less flashy option. Tanner went 10-10 with the Reds and A’s last season with an ERA of 4.35. That doesn’t sound particularly impressive until you line it up against the possibility of watching more Dylan Covey starts. An in case of emergency beak glass option is Ivan Nova. Nova would be a nice addition as a supplement to a more effective pitcher.
As El Guapo of Three Amigos fame would say, the Sox have a plethora of candidates to feel their hole, no, canyon, in right field. The Sox have reportedly been involved in trade talks with the Dodgers regarding Joc Pederson. That would be great. They’ve also been linked with free agent, Nicholas Castellanos. Castellanous raked as a member of the Cubs last year but there is some question if he can sustain the OPS of 1.002 in 225 plate appearances with the Cubs. While unlikely, Nick is still an excellent hitter. In addition, getting out of Detroit might have been more of an elixir than generally thought.
Another right field option is Kole Calhoun. Calhoun brings an excellent glove and some power with him. In addition, Calhoun is a left-handed stick. Calhoun and Pederson would help balance out a right-handed heavy Sox lineup. Failing all of that, even bringing Avisail Garcia back would be a big step up. If the White Sox really want to take a flyer on a talented player with a lot of baggage, Yasiel Puig is available. Puig has a world of talent, and even has a career OBP of .348. I actually think the Sox are better equipped to deal with Puig than most. If the Sox do sign Puig, Ricky Renteria has an opportunity to be the AL Manager of the Year.
At the risk of having the rug pulled out from under me, I think the Sox will actually pick up a good starter, a decent right fielder and maybe even a little help for the pen.
I just hope that I don’t see a lot of Dylan Covey and Carson Fulmer starts in 2020.
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