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White Sox Miss Out On Sean Manaea; What's Next?

The White Sox's search for starting pitching will continue — likely at the trade deadline — with Sean Manaea going to the Padres.
Tony La Russa Rick Hahn Chicago White Sox Sean Manaea

Photo: AP

On Sunday afternoon, the San Diego Padres acquired starting pitcher Sean Manaea from the Oakland A's. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Chicago White Sox also had interest in Manaea before the Padres pulled the trigger.

The Sox had the trade capital to match or exceed San Diego's package but could not reach an agreement. Particularly, first baseman/DH Andrew Vaughn was rumored to be part of the potential compensation. Other potential trade options included players such as Gavin Sheets, Jake Burger, and Micker Adolfo.

Manaea, 30, has spent the last six seasons with the Athletics. A 2013 first-round draft pick by the Kansas City Royals, Manaea made his way to the Bay Area in a 2015 trade that sent Ben Zobrist and cash to Kansas City. In 32 starts last year, Manaea pitched to a 3.91 ERA with 194 strikeouts in 179.1 innings. The big lefty from Valparaiso, Indiana now solidifies the back end of the Padres' starting rotation.

Moving On

Carlos Rodon departing the South Side via free agency left a big hole in the White Sox starting rotation. The lefty produced five bWAR in 2021 and was a Cy Young candidate prior to a midseason injury.

The White Sox pursued Sean Manaea looking to fill the void Rodon left. The South Siders have to consider the struggles of Dallas Keuchel and the likely innings restrictions for Michael Kopech when evaluating the 2022 starting rotation.

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Adding another complication to the mix, Lance Lynn left his Saturday start early due to knee discomfort. The White Sox are awaiting further tests on Lynn's knee, but the team must brace for the possibility of him missing time.

If Lynn's 2022 regular-season debut is indeed delayed, the Sox will likely use Reynaldo Lopez and Vince Velasquez to fill the innings. Those names, in addition to the regular cast of Lynn, Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, Keuchel, and Kopech, give the White Sox seven starting pitching options. Velasquez comes with a pretty dismal track record while Lopez has shown he can be effective, although inconsistent. Those unknowns are less than ideal for a White Sox team entering a season with World Series aspirations.

White Sox 2022 Season Outlook

Starting pitching was a major strength of the Chicago White Sox in 2021 while several of the team's best hitters missed significant time. Tony La Russa is no stranger to navigating the challenges of health, performance, and innings restrictions, and he may have to do so again in 2022.

The Pale Hose still boast one of the best bullpens and lineups in baseball. The AL Central is there for the taking with up to three Sox division rivals unlikely to play above .500. No question about it, Sean Manaea would have been a nice addition to the White Sox rotation. But there is a strong possibility that a trade will occur at the deadline as the team further assesses its needs.

Until then, sit back, relax, and strap it down because Opening Day is just around the corner.

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