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Three Moves the White Sox Could Make to Wrap Up a Great Offseason

Exaining a few things the White Sox could do in the next 32 days to improve an already much-improved team.
Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP

Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP

As we have 32 days remaining until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, the White Sox have had a superb winter by adding to the team's young core. During the course of the offseason, the White Sox have added Yasmani Grandal, Nomar Mazara, Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Kuechel, Edwin Encarnacion, and Steve Cishek to their 2020 roster. They also extended top prospect Luis Robert, ensuring that La Pantera will be prowling centerfield on Opening Day.

These moves would make the 26-man roster look something along the lines of this:

With this roster, the White Sox have the South Side of Chicago buzzing for the first time in a really long time, but it could be even better. Here are a few things the Pale Hose could do in the next 32 days to improve an already much-improved team.

Relief Help

The White Sox bullpen was decent last year. Closer Alex Colome saved 30 games but is due for some regression in 2020. Lefty Aaron Bummer broke out in 2019 and should continue to become a household name in 2020. Evan Marshall also broke out in 2019 and should get every opportunity in 2020 to show it wasn’t a fluke. To go along with those three at the back of the bullpen, the White Sox added sidewinder Steve Cishek and his 2.95 ERA in 2019. To round out the bullpen for right now, the White Sox will have Kelvin Herrera, Jace Fry, Jimmy Cordero, and Dylan Covey. I have Dylan Covey in the bullpen, but I think the White Sox will add another reliever to take his spot and solidify the bullpen. I have my eyes set on a free agent and trade piece the White Sox can go after.

Free Agent: Pedro Strop

From 2013-2018, Strop was the Cubs' best reliever by a long shot. He never had an ERA over 2.91 to end a season and averaged over 10.2 K/9 during that stretch. In 2019, Strop saw his H/9 jump from 5.7 the year before to 7.1. He also saw his ERA+ fall to 90 after never finishing a season with the Cubs with an ERA+ below 138.

I think a deal for Strop would be somewhere around $4 million to $8 million on a one-year prove-it deal. The old saying “Coop will fix him” applies here, but I think after so many years of success, Strop still has something to prove. Even at 34, Strop could be a cheap addition to solidify a bullpen that has the arrow pointing up.

Trade Piece: Ken Giles

Giles only has one year remaining on his contract, but he is coming off his best season by far. He posted a 244 ERA+ with a 1.00 WHIP and 14.1 K/9 with Toronto in 2019. At age 29, Giles would be a perfect fit in the White Sox bullpen especially if they can lock him up for the future. If this move happened, I’d expect the Sox to move Giles to the closer role and have Colome set up with Bummer.

Since Giles only has one year remaining on his contract, the White Sox wouldn’t have to give up an arm and a leg for Giles. I think some kind of package revolved around catcher Zack Collins would get the job done. Let’s say Zack Collins and Alec Hansen for Ken Giles.

Second Basemen

With Nick Madrigal most likely starting the season in Charlotte, the White Sox have a void at 2B. It could possibly be Leury Garcia to start the year at second, but I think the White Sox should take a shot on one of these free agents at 2B and let Garcia play the utility man role.

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Jason Kipnis

Hometown lefty Jason Kipnis would be a nice power boost to 2B for the White Sox while Madrigal waits in the wings. Kipnis hit 17 HRs last year while driving in 65 runs, and he posted 18 HRs the year before with 75 RBIs. He also owns a .984 fielding percentage at 2B in his career. I think Kipnis would be a nice lefty addition to the lineup while Madrigal is being groomed. Even when Madrigal is up, Kipnis can contribute and give the White Sox a veteran lefty bat off the bench. It wouldn’t take over $5 million to get Kipnis on a one-year deal.

Scooter Gennett

Another name that intrigues me is Scooter Gennett. Gennett recorded an .874 OPS in 2017 with the Reds and a .847 OPS with Cincinnati in 2018 as well. Gennett’s 2019 season started with a groin injury that would linger all year, ruining his season that started with the Reds and ended with a release from the Giants. I think if Gennett is fully healed, taking a shot at him could end up rewarding the White Sox very nicely. As Gennett is also a lefty, he can give the White Sox some power from the left side and at 2B until Madrigal is ready. Gennett can then take a bench role and give the Sox a formidable lefty to use in different situations. Like Kipnis, it wouldn’t take over $5 million to sign Gennett.

Right Field

The White Sox addressed right field by trading for Nomar Mazara during the Winter Meetings. Mazara may very well get a chance to be the everyday right fielder, but the White Sox should go out and get a right-handed hitter to platoon with Mazara. A few free agents would make sense if the White Sox went this route.

Yasiel Puig

Puig slashed .267/.327/.458 last year with the Reds and Indians, adding 24 HRs and 84 RBIs. He had a better OBP against lefties but a better slugging percentage against righties. Puig could platoon with Mazara, especially since his market seems weak and he may have to settle for a one year deal. There’s a rumor that he and Jose Abreu don’t see eye to eye, as Puig is a bit of a loose cannon, but I don’t see why it couldn’t work out. If the Sox can sign Puig, I could see it being somewhere along the lines of $10 million to $15 million for one year.

Kevin Pillar

Pillar is one of the premier defensive outfielders in the game. He can play all three positions and play them all at a Gold-Glove level. You may think Adam Engel, but Pillar has much more power and is a better hitter. Pillar also is a much better hitter against lefties than righties, which would be a perfect option to platoon with Mazara. If the White Sox can get a deal done, it would likely be somewhere in the $5 million to $10 million range for a year.

These are the three areas I think the White Sox could address next in the offseason before pitchers and catchers report on February 12th. If they can address all three, the White Sox will have had one of their best offseasons in franchise history. Just for fun, I’m going to look at what a 26-man roster could possibly look like in mid-summer with these three additions, along with the addition of Nick Madrigal and injured pitchers Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodon. I know it’s a long shot, but this roster would be deadly.

  • SP Lucas Giolito
  • SP Dallas Kuechel
  • SP Michael Kopech
  • SP Gio Gonzalez
  • SP Dylan Cease
  • SP/RP Carlos Rodon
  • RP Alex Colome
  • RP Aaron Bummer
  • RP Steve Cishek
  • RP Pedro Strop/Ken Giles
  • RP Evan Marshall
  • RP Jace Fry
  • RP Jimmy Cordero
  • C Yasmani Grandal
  • C James McCann
  • 1B Jose Abreu
  • 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion
  • 2B Nick Madrigal
  • 2B Jason Kipnis/Scooter Gennett
  • SS Tim Anderson
  • 3B Yoan Moncada
  • LF Eloy Jimenez
  • CF Luis Robert
  • RF Nomar Mazara
  • RF Yasiel Puig/Kevin Pillar
  • UTL Leury Garcia

I think this roster would be the best in the AL Central. They would have depth not only at the plate but also in starting pitching, which is something the White Sox haven’t had in a very very long time. I think Reynaldo Lopez is the odd man out and could be traded around the deadline or sent to Charlotte if all of the starting pitchers are healthy, which is most likely not going to be the case. I have Rodon slotted as a starter and reliever, as I think the Sox will ease him back in after his Tommy John surgery, but he would be a starter if the Sox are thin in the rotation come July.

It may be unlikely the White Sox address all three of the areas mentioned, but I believe all three are possible and at least one or two can be addressed. Either way, the South Side of Chicago should be excited about what is coming in 2020 and beyond.