I think we can all agree the Sox should make a splash, a big one. I want the White Sox to hold a press conference with either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado holding up jerseys shaking hands with Rich Hahn and Ricky Renteria. Now is the time, it is time to show your fans, your players, and your fans that you are for real and that the tear down part of this rebuild is over and it’s time to open up the window. Since there are more teams than there are 26 year old mega stars that are available on the free agent market, what happens if the Sox fall short. There are many options to fill some of the holes that need to be plugged, even if they don’t get one of the big two Rich Hahn still needs to start making steps toward competition, here are some ways i think that can happen, in no specific order.
Let’s start with the hole in right field left by the non-tendered Avisail Garcia. The Sox have two guys waiting in the wings in Luis Alexander Basabe and Miker Adolfo so a long term free agent signing, again assuming it is not a generational talent, wouldn’t be ideal so i would think about adding Andrew McCutchen. I assume Cutch can be had on a team friendly one or two year deal and can provide some veteran leadership. Now if you don’t want him and would like someone younger who could be around longer there is a team in the northwest that is currently rebuilding and should be considering moving their right fielder in Mitch Haniger, who will not be free agency eligible until 2023.
Another place to look could be catcher, Zach Collins seems to be defensively deficient and Seby Zavala performed very well last season but is still largely an unknown. An upgrade over either would be the Marlins J.T. Realmuto, whose agent has not been bashful in saying his client would not be signing an extension before he hits free agency after this upcoming year, and would like a trade. The Mets are among several teams that are checking in on him, as well as the Dodgers. The Dodgers have a young catcher named Will Smith and with them reportedly calling in to check on Jose Abreu that could be part of the return. There are a couple catchers on the free agent market, headlined by Yasmani Grandal but Kiley McDaniels from Fangraphs has him signing a 3 year 13 million dollar deal, keeping him under contract until his age 33 season and that’s normally not ideal for a catcher.
Some other free agents that the Sox should and could target start with, breathe and don’t close the page never to return again, James Shields. There is a 160 inning hole in the rotation left by Michael Kopech and his Tommy John recovery, those innings will need to be filled by a competent starter. Shields was north of 200 innings last year and was exactly competent, he had a team option for 2019 that was not picked up by the White Sox much because of the 15 million dollar price tag attached to it. If the White Sox are looking for an innings eater a 5 million dollar one year deal for Shields is just what the doctor ordered.
There are 2 other free agents that could be targeted to fill some holes, one will fill many holes. Marwin Gonzalez is the super utility player that gained national attention in the 2017 Houston Astros season by playing several positions en route to a World Series win. He can not only provide veteran leadership that has won it all on the highest level but he can DH and spell guys at several positions, in this MLB with 13 man bullpens flexibility is key. Another is Jeurys Familia at the age of 29 Kiley McDaniel estimates a 2 year 22 million dollar total deal. He can be a high leverage reliever and pairing him with Alex Colome at the back end of that bullpen could certainly hold down some wins.
This won’t fill every need for the 2019 Chicago White Sox but it would go along way on making the goal of hovering around 81 wins and some growth attainable.
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