To conclude our look at players who might fill the gaping chasms on the White Sox roster, we turn to starting pitcher.
In addition to right field and DH, Rick Hahn indicated that he’d like to add two established major league starters this winter. That makes sense, since the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation were filled by (*deep breath*) Dylan Cease, Ross Detwiler, Dylan Covey, Manny Banuelos, Carlos Rodon, Hector Santiago, Ervin Santana, and Odrisamer Despaigne, who combined for (*horrified gasp*) a 6.80 ERA in 339 innings.
The good news from 2019, obviously, is that Lucas Giolito made steps towards becoming a legitimate ace. Reynaldo Lopez was at least able to take the ball every 5th day for a second consecutive season, and Cease graduated to the majors despite uneven results. Those three are probably guaranteed rotation spots assuming good health. Who else can the Sox look at for the two remaining starting slots?
Covey, Dane Dunning, Michael Kopech, Rodon, Jonathan Stiever
Kopech will definitely get starts at some point this season and Rodon is likely to join him, assuming that they complete their rehab assignments without issue. However, Hahn has said that he doesn’t want to count on Kopech to begin the season in the majors, while Rodon won’t return until midseason at the earliest. The same goes for Dunning, who has yet to pitch at AAA and hasn’t made an appearance anywhere since June 2018.
Covey will likely be around again as depth; let’s all pray the Sox don’t have to use it. Stiever was the breakout prospect of 2019 and will start 2020 in Birmingham. He’s nice depth to have for the second half of the season, but is more realistic as the 8th man on the depth chart than the 4th or 5th.
This year’s free agent class is inarguably weaker than last season’s, but luckily starting pitcher is where it’s deepest. I’ve sorted the options into tiers based on their 2019 seasons, with the caveat that I eliminated pitchers who I think will end up signing minor league deals (your Clay Buchholzs and Trevor Cahills, etc.) The Sox need actual solutions for the back of the rotation, not Ervin Santana-style open questions.
Elite (6+ wins): Gerrit Cole (7.4 fWAR)
If you’ve been watching the playoffs, you know that Gerrit Cole is an absolute beast. I talked about this on my podcast: he throws 98, his breaking stuff defies physics, and he’s been extremely durable throughout his career.
There’s some small risk that he might regress outside of Houston’s pitching lab, but that won’t stop him from getting the biggest contract ever for a pitcher. There are few players of his quality in the league, period. Even with teams like the Yankees, Angels, and Astros likely in on him, I’d go all out to bring him to Chicago if I ran the White Sox. (Ed. note: Greg doesn’t run the White Sox.)
All Stars (4-6 wins): Jake Odorizzi (4.3), Hyun-Jin Ryu (4.8), Stephen Strasburg (5.7 – player option), Zack Wheeler (4.7)
This isn’t a bad second tier. Strasburg is the biggest name and best pitcher here. He’ll probably opt out, but I’d be surprised if he left the Nats. They’re built around a rotation featuring him, Max Scherzer, and Patrick Corbin, and the front office already faces the possibility of losing Anthony Rendon. I think he sticks in D.C., especially if they win the World Series.
Ryu has been important to the deep-pocketed Dodgers and is represented by Scott Boras, so those facts probably combine to take him off the White Sox’s radar. He’s also fragile, so he’s unlikely to eat as many innings as the Sox need. Unless his market is extremely slow, I don’t think he’s a great fit.
That leaves Odorizzi and Wheeler. Both are 29-year old former top prospects coming off solid seasons. Wheeler has the stronger track record in terms of pure performance, accumulating 8.9 fWAR with excellent peripherals in 377 2/3 innings over the last two years. However, he only threw 86 1/3 innings from 2015-2017 and will always be a health risk. Odorizzi significantly upped his strikeout rate in 2019, going from dependable innings muncher to solid #2 starter in the process. He remained a fairly extreme fly ball pitcher though, and with just one All-Star caliber season on his resume, I’d rather bet on Wheeler’s plus fastball/slider combo than Odorizzi’s change-up heavy approach.
Above Average (2.6-4 wins): Homer Bailey (2.9), Madison Bumgarner (3.2), Kyle Gibson (2.6), Michael Pineda (2.7), Jose Quintana (3.5 – team option)
From 2014-2018, Homer Bailey was worth 2.8 fWAR. In 2019, Homer Bailey was worth 2.9 fWAR. Baseball, huh?
Bumgarner is no longer an ace, but remains a very effective pitcher. He shook off health problems in 2017-2018 to throw 207 2/3 innings last year, and is still only 30 despite ten full major league seasons. I would be very happy if the Sox slot him in behind Giolito. I’d also be very happy to welcome back Quintana, but I imagine the Cubs will pick up his option, if only for their lack of alternatives.
Pineda and Gibson were both solid for the Twins in 2019; if I had to put a bet on the Sox signing one guy this offseason, it might be Gibson. He just seems like a White Sox in some ineffable way. But honestly, it wouldn’t be the dumbest plan in the world to sign Gibson AND Pineda AND Odorizzi away from Minnesota… forcing the division favorite to fill three rotation holes would be nearly as impactful as the Sox filling three themselves.
Average (1.5-2.5 wins): Brett Anderson (2.0), Cole Hamels (2.5), Wade Miley (2.0), Ivan Nova (2.0), Martin Perez (1.9 – team option), Rick Porcello (1.8), Tanner Roark (2.0)
We’re officially in Ivan Nova territory, which means it’d be disappointing if the Sox sign any of these guys as a “solution” rather than rotation depth.
Hamels is probably still the best of this bunch despite entering his age-36 season; he’s quietly averaged 2.4 fWAR in 170 1/3 innings per season since 2016. Porcello, meanwhile, has been average to slightly below since winning the Cy Young in 2016. On the other hand, he’s extremely durable, having missed only three starts due to injury over an 11-year career. One question for either: will they accept a bullpen role if they’re supplanted by Kopech or Rodon at some point in 2020?
Roark has improved his peripherals since his Nationals days, but the results have gotten worse thanks to a worrisome jump in HR rate. He’ll likely give 180 innings, but I wouldn’t count on them being above-average at Guaranteed Rate Field. Miley has been quite effective the last two seasons for the Brewers then Astros, and Made Wiley is a HOF-level spoonerism. He seems like an ideal swingman.
Anderson is Porcello’s diametric opposite, with just three healthy seasons in an 11-year major league career. One of them was last year and he was fine, but the injury history makes him more of a 6th starter than a 4th. I’ve never been a fan of Perez and won’t be converting now after a 5.12 ERA in 2019.
Below Average (Less than 1.5 wins): Chris Archer (0.7 – team option), Andrew Cashner (1.8 – team option), Jhoulys Chacin (-0.1), Gio Gonzalez (1.4), Matt Harvey (-0.3), Rich Hill (0.9), Dallas Keuchel (0.8), Collin McHugh (0.5), Julio Teheran (1.6 – team option), Jason Vargas (1.8 – team option), Michael Wacha (-0.2), Alex Wood (-0.2)
I might actually be more interested in this tier than the last, despite warts all around.
Archer carries one of the more interesting team options this offseason. He’s been pretty bad for Pittsburgh, but the Pirates gave up three potential stars in Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow, and Shane Baz to get him at last year’s trade deadline. That deal seemed questionable at the time and looks brutal in hindsight… is it worth $9 million for the rebuilding Pirates to try and recoup some value? If they do retain him, he becomes an interesting buy-low trade candidate.
There are several other former All Stars in this tier. Keuchel was pretty solid in his half-season with the Braves, and fits better with the Sox now that he won’t have a qualifying offer. Gonzalez pitched similarly for the Brewers and will likely come cheaper. Wacha and Wood are both young enough to be intriguing swingmen with upside. Teheran has regressed over the last three years, mostly because he can’t find the strike zone often enough, but can still eat innings. Harvey sadly seems to be a lost cause, but it wouldn’t be surprising if teams keep taking chances on him.
Rich Hill still has electric stuff when he can take the mound, but that’s not quite often enough for the Sox’s needs. He’s a better fit on a team that can try to save him for the postseason. Chacin, Cashner, and Vargas are extremely uninspiring but probably still count as upgrades on Covey and Detwiler. I like McHugh as another swingman option, but his season ended with elbow problems so who knows what that means going forward.
THE TRADING BLOCK
Matthew Boyd (3.3), Dylan Bundy (2.5), Johnny Cueto (0.0), Danny Duffy (1.3), Marco Gonzales (3.7), Jon Gray (2.9), Clayton Kershaw (3.4), Mike Leake (1.0), Joe Musgrove (3.3), David Price (2.3), Robbie Ray (2.4), Jeff Samardzija (1.5)
The big question here is whether any of these pitchers (or whatever comparable names out there that I forgot) are worth giving up prospects, with similar pitchers available on the free agent market. However, a savvy trade could save the Sox some cash without meaningfully hampering their farm system.
Kershaw is a huge name and it would be very strange to see him in another uniform. But someone will have to pay a price for the Dodgers’ most recent playoff flameout, Dave Roberts is already returning, and L.A. fans have (somewhat unreasonably) gotten tired of their ace. He has two years left on his deal at $31 million apiece; if the Dodgers want to get off his salary I’d be willing to eat the money in exchange for a shorter term commitment than someone like Bumgarner.
Price and Cueto are in similar boats. The Red Sox want to shed money, but Price is older than Kershaw, not as good, and costs $96 million over three seasons. Boston will most definitely have to offset his salary to move him. Meanwhile, Cueto has two years plus a team option left at $22 million per season. He’s a huge risk to ever recapture his ace form coming off Tommy John surgery.
Of the youngish guys currently going through arbitration, Boyd has the best statistical profile, with a 30.2% K rate and 6.4% BB rate in 2019. To acquire him, the Sox would have to answer two questions: Have the Tigers learned their lesson from hanging onto Michael Fulmer for too long? And can he be had without a top 100 prospect?
Bundy is remarkably only 26 years old. With his prospect pedigree and peripheral stats, you’d think he’d be an easily above average pitcher. However, home runs have always been a bugaboo that keep him more in the 4th starter range. That’s about where Duffy lands these days as well, as he’s regressed heavily since Kansas City’s World Series runs.
Ray has the stuff to put up down-ballot Cy Young seasons, but his control is inconsistent and he comes with only one year of team control. He’s probably not worth what it would cost to get him from a quasi-contending Arizona team.
I’m curious how available Gonzales, Gray, and Musgrove are, since all three of their organizations are kind of unpredictable. I like the idea of betting on Gray’s upside, but Gonzales is probably more likely to move. He’s been good the last two years, despite carrying an extremely low strikeout rate for a pitcher in the 20teens.
Leake and Samardzija are unremarkable, but each will take the ball until their arm falls off. In Shark’s case, some Sox fans might actually be rooting for that to happen.
That’s it for our offseason shopping list. Obviously the Sox may not stick exactly to the three positions I profiled and there are more questions left to answer — Is Yasmani Grandal a real option? Will they add to the bullpen?
But I look forward to reading the creative ways in which Sox Machine readers build their rosters when the Offseason Plan Project launches this weekend — perhaps even more than I’m looking forward to the ways in which the actual White Sox will eventually underwhelm us all!
(Sorry Rick, just a little gentle ribbing. Please sign Gerrit Cole.)
I dream about seeing Gerrit Cole in a White Sox jersey but I don’t want to be hurt anymore.
I think the chance Hahn signs Cole is close to 0
Merkin’s been going out of his way to mention the Sox are not players for Cole, and he’s pretty much The Mouth of Sauron as far as the Sox are concerned.
As much as I would love to see the Sox sign Gerrit Cole, I don’t see any way that happens. A few of his Astros’ teammates have said he’s going to play on the West Coast, and there are a few teams out there that will definitely be in on him (Angels, Padres). Plus the Yanks obviously need starting pitching and will make a huge run at him. I have planned on putting him at the top of my Offseason Plan Project list, but the odds of the Sox signing him are almost nil. Plus as Greg mentioned, Strasburg will probably stay in DC even if he opts out. Fortunately there are still a few other pitchers who could fit in behind Giolito in the rotation.
This will be a very interesting offseason. I’m pretty sure the Sox will raise payroll to the $100-$120 million range. Who they sign or trade for to get there is anybody’s guess, but there are quite a few options at each postion this winter.
I noticed Merkin ruled Cole out in his end of season column. He didn’t think we would pursue him. I wondered if he was just assuming the Sox would be too cheap to pursue or if he got that sense from talking to Hahn.
He also mentioned that when he was on the podcast. Considering the source, I’m inclined to think Cole has never been an option they’d consider. Not that I had much hope to begin with.
I think the Angels are the big favorites to sign him.
Wheeler, Keuchel, Grandal, put together a trade package of Lopez and some minor leaguers for a RF and bullpen arm.
Obviously I love Cole (headline news there). Strasburg (assuming he opts out) is another “no shit, they should go after him”. Assuming they can’t reel in either of those two, I like Wheeler. Big-time velocity, the injury history should keep his price down to some degree and he’s kind of survived the HR barrage the last two years (which is obviously important in the current environment).
Other than those three, I don’t hate Keuchel (another big GB guy). I do absolutely hate the idea of Odorizzi (which probably means they’ve got him at the top of their list). Lots of flyballs and there was a lot of flukiness in his profile this year.
I really like Alex Wood as a cheap second arm. Has always gotten GBs and whiffs. Issues last year seemed injury related. In terms of the trade targets, I’ve been intrigued by Musgrove for some time, but it seems like he needs an approach tweak to really make it work (i.e. he needs to narrow his repertoire a bit, throw less FBs and more offspeed). I’m not sure that jives really well with Coop’s philosophy (though we did see something like that from Rodon last year before he went down).
Yep, Odorizzi just feels like a guy the Sox would sign and he would immediately proceed to suck. Jerry shopping at Marshalls again for a discount.
Agree with you on Wheeler. I don’t see the Sox spending big so this is more than likely our best option. However, I could see Miley as a second selection. In a perfect world he battles for the #5 slot with Lopez when Kopech settles in. I don’t see Kopech starting the season with the Sox (ease him back and control his innings/usage), Miley and Lopez should each have had a handful of starts by then. It would be my hope that Lopez wins this battle and Miley becomes the swingman/starting depth. Would not be upset to see another pitcher signed, but I do want $$ allocated to other needs before a third starter is signed in FA.
As far as the 2nd starter goes, I would like to see more of a swingman, someone who has both started and relieved recently. In an ideal world, the rotation by mid-May would be FA, Giolito, Cease, Kopech, Lopez. if all 5 are healthy then the 2nd FA could move to the bullpen. I wouldn’t mind seeing Drew Pomeranz for that role. He was really good for Milwaukee out of the pen last year, and does have starting experience. Miley would be good, but he hasn’t pitched in relief in many years.
No issue with Pomeranz. I just liked the idea of a softer tossing lefty coming in after 95+ heat from everyone of our starting righties!
I like that too, which is why I like Bumgarner. I nice change of pace from a bunch of hard throwing righties.
My ideal world doesn’t have Lopez in the rotation.
I’m not sure I agree about Odorizzi. His xwOBA .296, and he cut his Hard Hit % by 3+% from 2018 while raising his K% by 4.3%. Even though the fastball is mostly average velocity this point at 92.9 mph, hitters xBA was .206 (actual was .210) and xSLG was .382. He gets good results from the fastball. Besides, if he only allowed 16 home runs with the bouncy ball despite his fly ball tendencies I can imagine him holding up well when they starting using the postseason baseballs next regular season.
I also don’t agree with your thought about Wheeler’s price being held down. I’m expecting a Jeff Samardzija-type deal at 5 years, $90 million as he greatly benefits from wider market of teams who don’t want to spend the money for Gerrit Cole.
Alex Wood might get a Brett Anderson-type deal of 1 year, $10 million.
I read something on Odorizzi (which of course I’m not going to be able to find now) that outlined the warning flags. IIRC there were no real changes in terms of his pitch usage or movement. He did get a bump in velocity, but that kind of eroded over the course of the season. Target Field looks to be pretty HR friendly for pitchers, I’d be pretty nervous about him coming to GRF with all of those FBs. I may have missed it, but I haven’t seen anything conclusive about the ball they’re using the the playoffs or what the plan is for next year. I admittedly place less emphasis on these xstats with pitchers. Not sure if that’s warranted or not, but they don’t seem to have as much control over that stuff as hitters (i.e. I feel like it’s not as predictive for them). He’s not a big spin guy either. I dunno, I’m just not crazy about the profile. Maybe if he ends up being cheaper than I think.
You could certainly be right on Wheeler’s price tag, I’m just going on what I’ve seen from the folks at FG and MLBTR. I had him tagged for something like 4 for 80 initially, but I’ve read multiple writers at each of those sites peg him for something more in the 60s.
I think the key for Odorizzi moving forward is how successful his cutter can be because that’s a pitch he was using more this season. I still think he can be a stabilizing presence in any rotation and best serves as the 3rd or 4th best starter in a contending rotation. I guess I prefer Odorizzi than someone like Tanner Roark which I think the decision will come down to for the White Sox front office.
Where are you looking? FG PitchInfo has his cutter usage (and slider usage, which it could be confusing between) slightly down this year.
I don’t disagree re: Odorizzi vs. Roark etc. But I expect Odorizzi will be looking for substantially more money, so I’m not sure that’s really an apt comparison.
Also, side note, my head almost exploded when looking at the list of FAs and I saw that Wheeler and Bumgarner are the same age. That seems impossible.
…oh my god you’re right! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE
Plenty of choices. We need two. I would call them A and B.
A needs to be signed right away. That means no Boras clients, because he’s a procrastinator.
I like Nova for Pitcher B. He should be available for one year with an option. 2021 brings many in house options, and we don’t need two multi year contracts.
He quick, steady, well liked, and a ground ball pitcher.
I am on board with Nova as long as we sign (or trade) another really good pitcher
I want two A pitchers. If it takes two multi year contracts, oh well, you can never have too much pitching. Gio, FA, FA, Cease and Lopez to start the season, and by the time Kopech is ready one of Cease or Lopez will most likely have failed and become a long reliever. 2021 will work itself out when it gets here imo.
In an ideal world, if they end up needing one, the Sox would acquire a multi-year #1 or #2 starter with fewer miles on his arm through a trade.
Hoping Giolito, Kopech and Cease will make that unnecessary.
If you’re the Sox, I don’t know how you leave this offseason without signing two reliable, strong starting pitchers, assuming your intention is to contend in the next 1-3 years. I’ve said this before, but being truly realistic, the Sox rotation is currently: Giolito, followed by a whole bunch of question marks. Can Kopech bounce back from injury? Can Lopez make real, lasting strides? Can Rodon ever get healthy? Can Cease improve? Can Dunning get healthy *and* cut in the majors? Granted, the severity of these questions vary, and if we were talking about these kinds of questions for 2, maybe 3 guys, fine. But when it’s 80% of your projected rotation (assuming you stand pat), that’s a recipe for utter disaster.
I’d like to see them sign Gibson and a Roark/Anderson type. That’s where I’d put my free agent dollars, because I wouldn’t be looking to sign a DH–not with Collins, Vaughn, maybe even Sheets and Mercedes, and Abreau all in that mix. Sign two good arms and someone to significantly improve RF, and the Sox might actually be in decent shape.
(And, BTW, I’d totally pursue Wheeler if his price tag isn’t higher than it realistically should be.)
I think they need someone better than Gibson as their #1 signing. I think it needs to at least be in the Wheeler/Bumgarner/Odorizzi type. Gibson tops out at a 3 or 4 starter.
I totally agree. My fears are twofold:
One, they sign a “top starter” and end the spending there.
Two, someone like Wheeler is going to be overpriced, and the Sox will pursue him, miss out, and point to him being overpriced as a reason for doing nothing at all.
What I said above is the bet-hedging model that gives the Sox reasonable pursuits while safeguarding themselves against those many questions. If they can get a top guy, great. But I wouldn’t want that to prohibit them from also getting a mid/back-end guy as well.
Yeah, Gibson is better than nothing, and this is the Sox we are talking about. I just hope they shop near the top end of the pitching bin.
This is one of the many unfortunate things with the constrained spending. If they really are going to target the top names like Cole, Strasburg, etc., those guys are likely going to hang out on the market until later into the offseason trying to get the best deal. We saw that movie last year with Machado. They waited around for him and ended up holding an empty bag. What they should really do (I think this is what you’re proposing) is go after those guys, but also bring in someone a little lower on the FA pecking order so they’re protected if those guys go elsewhere. And if they’re somehow able to reel in Cole, well too many good starters is a good problem to have.
Of course this means you need an owner who is flexible with the payroll in the event you end up somehow signing both guys…
If they want an elite guy, they can just make an aggressive offer to force the market. Corbin wasn’t hanging out there all winter because the Nats jumped on him. The only reason Machado took so long is because the Sox tried to get cute and save $2 mil per season.
Dont you think that had something to do with it being the nats though? I.e. a contender instead of the sox who are still not that.
Nah. Most guys go wherever is offering the most money. Robinson Cano, Albert Pujols, Zack Greinke, etc.
I don’t disagree that money often wins out, but don’t you think in your specific example (Corbin) that he only accepted an offer early in the offseason because it was a team he wanted to go to? Like if the Sox had made him that offer last year around the same time, I would assume he probably puts it out there to other teams and tries to leverage that into another offer from a better team, no?
BTW this is a great series Greg, thanks for putting these together.
We can safely rule out Cole and Strasburg. So, my hope: Bumgarner and Wheeler. Reasonable expectation: One of Bumgarner/Wheeler plus one of Gibson/Roark/Wood/Wacha.
If the sox dont sign 2 guys from the above average or better lists they may as well contract as a baseball organization.
If we assume the ball won’t be as lively next year, which pitchers are going to benefit most (i.e., pitchers who only issue is HR rate or happened to give up a lot of short HR’s)?
It’s fairly disconcerting and not at all surprising that people are already ruling the Sox out on Cole. Not because they can’t afford him or that it doesn’t make sense, just that the Sox won’t bother.
With arbitration raises the Sox have around 40M committed to payroll next year. This year, according to Spotrac, the league average payroll was 137M. So they could spend 100M this off-season season and be barely above league average for payroll. Some have mentioned a 100-120M payroll as a target for the Sox. For context, 120M is less than what the Indians spent this year when they were actively trying to cut payroll.
There’s no reason they can’t sign 2 high quality starting pitchers, a RF, DH, and Grandal this off-season. You’ve still got Giolito, Anderson, Moncada, and Eloy playing well and providing surplus value on cheap contracts. The time is now, be aggressive and turn this team into a contender.
I’m not sure why many seem to think they won’t go after him. They went after Harper and Machado last year and both figured to get a ton of money and have a ton of suitors. I don’t know why this would be any different (unless they really still have some crazy rule about spending big on arms).
Jerry Reinsdorf has a crazy rule about spending money on starting pitchers.
Hence the caveat “unless they really still have some crazy rule about spending big on arms”.
Any arms, really.
They made a push for Masahiro Tanaka for over 100 million. Still well short of what he got.
The White Sox made a “large but obviously not close to what was realistically needed” to a premium free agent? Stop the presses
hmmm where have I heard that one before?
I don’t believe there is any legitimate evidence that they actually pursued Harper. As for Machado they obviously had a ceiling on their pursuit.
They had him in for a meeting in Chicago, no? I’m not saying they’re going to sign any of these guys, but they obviously tried to some degree on the two last year. I don’t see why it would be different this year, they have a better sales pitch to offer now and a roster that’s closer to contention.
All I have seen were leaked pics at the UC. I don’t recall hearing they actually made a formal offer.
I didnt say the made an offer, but they obviously pursued him.
Having one meeting is pursuing a free agent?
Well…yes! What else would they invite free agents to have meetings? Say hi?
“Come on in and have a seat Bruce. We just wanted to get you here to Chicago to let you know we aren’t interested in making you a Chicago White Sox. You can expect an invoice for the plane flight and limo in the mail in 2-4 weeks.”
I would assume they made an overture and were told harper wasnt interested so dont bother with an offer.
10000000% This!!!!!!!!! Imagine the beat down a franchise has to unload on their fan base to make them this willing to accept top tier free agents are of no interest, high end free agents are unlikely, and the mid tier is where we belong. ZERO reason any of these arms should be off the table, and like I said if we dont come away with two good ones whats the point
What I want: Gerrit Cole + Madison Bumgarner. Sox have the money for it, and that would surely be a way to silence critics of Hahn. How exciting would a Cole/Giolito/Bumgarner/Kopech/Cease rotation be?
What I would be content with: Zach Wheeler + Kyle Gibson. Some would be dissapointed with a return like this at SP and I definitely understand that. But given my expectations for the Sox, landing these two guys would be an OK solution. Which leads me to…
What I expect to actually happen: Tanner Roark and Wade Miley. I can envision a scenario in which the Whitesox go out and sign Roark/Miley/Kole Calhoun and come back patting themselves on the back for plugging major holes with guys that theoretically fit our needs, without breaking the bank to get them. When in actuality, it will be the same thing the Sox have always done, just going halfway and assuming an “if most everything go right we could win 88 games” approach
Kyle Gibson gives me the shivers. He owes his career to date to the White Sox inability in figuring him out.
I think they are going to sign one of Bumgarner/Wheeler/ Keuchel/Odorizzi and then another in the Miley/Roark/Alex Wood/Nova category. They just have so little money on the books that they are going to probably spend at least $60 million this winter.
I agree with that $60M figure after Jose Abreu. If not, a fairly significant trade might be required. Again, assuming Hahn is actually setting his sights on playoff contention next year. I still think 2021 is Hahn’s real target.
Why 2021? Why waste another cost controlled year of Moncada, Giolito, Anderson, and Jimenez. The time is now. Stop the nickel and dime short sighted bullshit and constant kicking the can down the road and build a contender.
Yeah, the whole point of having young, cheap talent is that it allows you to go out and spend money less efficiently elsewhere to get established players.
Nice job, Greg. This is a lot of work.
I second that. Great job Greg. It sure has given us a lot to talk about these last few days!!
Plenty to talk about, and a lot of smart ideas. Well done to all!
See, Jon Gray really intrigues me as an option (assuming the Rox would trade him). Health has been an issue for him over the years but he gets lots of ground balls and has always had pretty good stuff. He’s been pretty average in his career so hopefully wouldn’t require much in trade. It’d probably end in disaster too.
I actually really like the idea of Rich Hill. We’ve got enough guys who should be coming back midseason, that if Hill can give us 10 strong starts to open the year, hopefully one of those guys should be coming back to roll right into his spot if he gets hurt.
I know the point this year is to add SP, but what would Rodon get back in a trade? I highly doubt he will extend with the Sox, and the money for him could go for an All Star-Above average SP
He has zero trade value. His arb payout will technically put him in the underwater category.
There’s no need to trade anyone to save money for FA. Just like last off-season they have a ton of payroll space before they’re even at a below league average payroll level.
Tell that to Nate Jones.
Of the “realistic” targets I’m liking Wheeler more and more as my top guy.
Me too, but I am not divorced of signing MadBum
If they’re going to spend $100mil, I’d be way more comfortable doing it on him than Bumgarner.
Cole and Strasburg are the white whales. I would spend the money for either, but do not expect Jerry Reinsdorf to even present them offers.
Doing due diligence on Alex Wood’s medicals could lead to the steal of the winter. If, if, if he is healthy he could be a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year. The guy had a sub-3.60 FIP three years in a row before getting hurt and was especially effective in 2017. He’ll be far cheaper than Zack Wheeler and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him match or exceed Wheeler’s performance.
Wheeler took a couple of years to recover from TJS, so maybe he’d be a good mentor for Burdi, Dunning, Lambert, et al.
I have said it before here, the White Sox need to stop second guessing and supporting their strategies on “what-if” and “if everything goes the right way” philosophy. They have done that for years, and it fails more often (way more) than not.
Hahn needs to plan on safe net. He already has good pieces. No experiemnts. No what-ifs players. No health concern players. No bulshit. Just go and sign players that will produce positive value, even if small. What has killed this team for years is having great stats from stars only to be vanished by black holes. The White Sox need to plan to minimize the risk of having negative WAR players. Tampa Bay, with no stars (highest fWAR player was a 4 WAR – A. Meadows) just made the post season. They only had 2 players with more than 100 PAs producing negative value for a total of -0.6.
The White Sox had SEVEN…for a whopping -4.7 value subtracted. That…THAT can’t happen anymore.
I agree with what you’re saying but I think you launched it on the wrong platform.
Alex Wood is extremely intriguing. Hes got a career 3.49 FIP to go along with his career 3.40 ERA. and 2020 will be just his age 29 season. Hes constantly missing time due to injury and so is not somebody to be relied upon, but he did start 25 games and 27 games in 17/18
If the Whitesox walk away this offsesaon with Tanner Roar and Alex Wood as their main Starting Pitching additions, that is a failure, in part due to all the reasons you listed.
But Alex wood isn’t gonna get more than 2 years, tops. Good chance he is a 1 year/12M candidate or something like that. What if the Whitesox walk away with Wheeler, Miley, and Wood? Thats a starting pitching ‘haul’ that I would definitely be content with.
They already have two players coming off the DL with high ceilings and likely to perform well but who can’t be relied on. Adding a third doesn’t seem like where they should be aiming, especially given their history with being unable to cope with any injuries at all.
Guys with this talent level who have clean injury histories cost a lot more. If you’re shopping at the bargain store for a second starter, you’re compromising talent or health. That’s not to say one is necessarily better than the other, but the more guys you have, the less injuries matter. If they can line up 7 or 8 legit MLB starters, I’d prefer the more talented guy (i.e. someone like Wood) over the less talented guy who’s more likely to stay health (i.e. someone like Nova), but that’s just me.
The Dodgers have shown that can work to a certain extent, but you really need to line up a lot of them, it’s exceptionally cost-inefficient, and they’d probably need to change managers to make it work anyhow.
Maybe I’m missing something, but what does the manager have to do with this?
Also not sure how you’d look at it as cost inefficient. Like I said, a comparably talented starter with a clean bill of health would cost several multiples more. I dont know that you’re saving any money going down that road.
Since signing with the Dodgers three years ago Rich Hill has averaged $16 million a year in salary and just under 110 IP, and he sorta epitomizes the quality without quantity mentality you seem to be promoting. The manager comment was because it takes a lot of forward planning and bullpen savvy to make that plan work (including being willing to use an opener on occasion), and I don’t think Ricky has that in him.
Great work with these, Greg.
I know the Sox won’t sign Cole, especially after Merkin saying as much, but I’d love to hear someone ask Rick or Jerry why they won’t try. If they are willing to offer Machado $250m, why not redirect that to Cole?
At least pull a Machado and offer him $200m so you can finish in a strong 2nd place and act like you’re trying. Just don’t sign his family this time.
Honestly, if they’re not even putting $250m on the table, I’d prefer they not even bother. I don’t need to hear any more of how Jerry has made big offers when it’s pretty clear he’s satisfied with not actually signing the player.