With MLB’s offseason rumor mill in full swing, reports indicate that the Sox will be major players for this year’s top acquisitions. Given it might make sense to allow for one more season of losing before going for it, the bevy of elite options on the free agent and trade market must seem too much to let slip through their grasp. On top of that the South Siders also have virtually no money committed for 2019, meaning any and all options should be explored when expediting the rebuild.
So who are some of these players they could sign? Rumor has it the Sox are interested in outfielder Bryce Harper and shortstop Manny Machado, however both of them have an astronomical price tag attached to any contract a team hands out. I am not saying the Sox shouldn’t at least look into them, but if Rick Hahn does bring them to the South Side it would be wise to give the Sox an ability to opt out after four or five years.
As for the pitchers, Patrick Corbin is a potential fit at the top of the Sox rotation but there is a major risk when signing starters to long-term deals. They tend to either decline or get injured, meaning if you are paying them $25 million per year for seven straight seasons your franchise could be hamstrung by a contract of that size.
Another option could be position players who are a bit older but might have something left. Reports have stated that the Sox have offered outfielder Michael Brantley a contract, not to mention are interested in designated hitter Nelson Cruz. Both of these bats would help a lineup tremendously in the instance that they stay healthy (Brantley especially), and in Cruz’s case if he has anything left in the tank.
If you want to make a trade, there will be plenty of option via that route as well. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant could be moved, but Theo Epstein will not deal him just for fun. Hearing Bryant is potential trade bait is not a surprise, as a previous article of mine discussed the North Siders moving stars to help overhaul a lineup of power hitters. If Hahn wants to talk to Epstein I would encourage it, but pitching prospects such as Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning, and Dylan Cease might be brought up. This season’s first round pick Nick Madrigal might be of interest to Epstein as well in trade talks with the Sox, however I would be hesitant to move him unless Machado was already in the fold. Keep in mind one thing with the Cubs: they have no pitching in their farm system, nor do they have any star level contact hitters. That could make a crosstown blockbuster possible.
Before we wrap up, I want to mention the fact that you may need to temper your excitement at times during this offseason if the Sox do make several big splashes. Understand what they have coming, and realize the fact that blocking those prospects would destroy the last two years of their hard work. Bringing star players in to your organization may seem exciting, but as we have seen in the past their star can fall in hurry.
All in all, this offseason could be a wild one. Not wild as in bringing a star in, but historic by White Sox proportions. They have virtually nothing on the books, and one more year of Jose Abreu who no one wants to waste. If the Sox put talent around Abreu who knows what he can do, as Abreu is already one of the better hitters baseball. Abreu wants to win, not lose and fail in Chicago. Hopefully he gets he wants, because if the Sox brass doesn’t surround him with enough talent they will have failed one of the better offensive talents in franchise history. Which would be sad, both for him and Sox fans everywhere.
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