14 White Sox-adjacent players worth following in 2022

The White Sox’s to-do list wasn’t that long this winter, which is why a lot of fans were frustrated that they spent most of the winter stocking up on medium-leverage relievers and utility infielders rather than addressing the actual needs.

But by the end of the offseason and preseason, they did eventually get around to everything to some degree or another: AJ Pollock as the outfielder, Johnny Cueto as the starting pitcher, Josh Harrison as the second baseman, and Reese McGuire as the backup catcher.

With the rest of the roster requiring minimal tweaking and the White Sox blowing away their previous record for payroll commitments, I found my offseason list of potential White Sox targets/options smaller than usual. Cueto was one of them, but he ended up falling off the list of White Sox-adjacent players once the White Sox struck “-adjacent” from his label.

Nevertheless, here’s the annual list of players who are not (or no longer) on the White Sox, but who I’ll be checking in on from time to time for one reason or another.

Previous holdovers

Harper and Machado haven’t quite hit the back half of their contracts yet, which is when their individual contributions will lose importance. Wheeler is coming off a runner-up finish in Cy Young voting while Dallas Keuchel is trying to inspire confidence in his rebound season. Keuchel’s services cost less than half of what Wheeler received in guaranteed money, which is why you should ignore Rick Hahn when uses “top of market” to describe both.

Former White Sox

Rodón wasted no time establishing peak form, striking out 12 Marlins over five innings of one-run ball in his debut for the Giants. With Rodón, though, the White Sox’s decision pertains more to how Rodón finishes the season than how he starts it.

Speaking of finishing, Kimbrel notched a save in his only appearance thus far, although he gave up a pair of doubles and a run during that inning. He came out of the gate averaging 95.6 mph on his fastball, which is where his velocity fell to at the end of last season. With Madrigal, the biggest question is whether he can survive the wear-and-tear of a six-month season. If he answers that question in the affirmative, next up: What’s his upside after it?


The White Sox reportedly pursued Manaea, who ended up getting traded to San Diego. He threw seven no-hit innings in his Padres debut, so we’ll see whether the White Sox end up kicking themselves for stopping short. They’ve stopped short on Montas for good reason — Oakland wants Andrew Vaughn — and we’ll see if Oakland lowers its price.

Coming off the AL Cy Young Award, Ray signed with Seattle for five years and $115 million, which is a contract the White Sox have offered for comparable pitchers in the past (Wheeler). If the White Sox saw that kind of contract as a continuation of Keuchel’s obligation and a hedge against Lucas Giolito‘s uncertain future, I wouldn’t have hated it.

Position Players

The silence surrounding Conforto‘s market became much more clear when Scott Boras said that Conforto injured his shoulder during the offseason. Given that AJ Pollock wasted no time showing White Sox fans why he’s hard-pressed to play 100 games in a season, I’m curious whether Conforto will be a midseason acquisition possibility at any point. Suzuki, the only other outfielder on the market who could actually handle right field, is well on his way to becoming a fan favorite on the other side of town.

Semien was a popular choice in the Offseason Plan Project, although his seven-year, $175 million contract exceeded most estimates. I liked the Tigers’ acquisition of Barnhart, though it became less of a missed opportunity when the White Sox acquired McGuire, whose possesses a similar skill set.

Abrams represents a path not chosen by the White Sox in the 2019 draft. The Sox went with Vaughn at the third pick, with Abrams going to San Diego three picks later. Breaking camp with the Padres seems like an ambitious assignment for the 21-year-old, and I’d guess that he’s still a year away from becoming a real factor on a 26-man roster, but there’s a chance that he could arrive in time to help a team in 2022, which didn’t seem like a strong possibility on draft day. Hopefully Vaughn will take his next steps so that this discussion is merely an exercise between two great choices, and not one with a right and wrong answer.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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I don’t know how closely the Sox looked at India in 2018. But I find him an interesting comparison to Madrigal. Though less so now that Madrigal has moved on


It’s funny how Harper/Conforto/Suzuki are all players that could have solved the same problem that in all honesty still isn’t solved.


What about all the other relievers that the Sox could have signed?! There must be at least 30 or 40 names that Rick Hahn is losing sleep over.