Sep 9, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcherJohn Danks
throws a pitch against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago White Sox have systematically filled almost every need this offseason. However, most White Sox fans would agree that the back end of the rotation remains one of the weakest points on a team that is labeling itself as a legit contender.
Jul 30, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcherHector Noesi
(48) pitches in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
As it currently stands, veteran John Danks and Hector Noesi will slot in at the No. 4 and No. 5 spots respectively. It’s possible that pitching coach Don Cooper continues to mold Noesi into a serviceable backend option, but the stuff of the RHP would potentially play better in the bullpen as a long reliever, a position the White Sox have yet to lock up this offseason.
John Danks isn’t going anywhere, at least not with two final years of his contract ($28.5 million) still on the books.
The lefty Danks is still trying to reinvent himself after a shoulder injury caused him to lose velocity, which has made him much more vulnerable to opposing hitters. The question for Chicago is, “What Danks will they get?”
Will they get the manageable, pre All-Star break Danks (who was good for a 3.99 ERA) and a nice June, or the post All-Star Danks, who posted a 5.96 ERA, and was awful across July and August?
If they get the latter, the White Sox are in trouble.
The other issue is that if one of their front three arms were to miss a significant amount of time due to injury, the rotation would be in a dire situation.
Prospect Chris Beck is a nice depth piece, and obviously where top prospect Carlos Rodon spends ’15 will have a lot to do with the success of the rotation, but there aren’t any veteran options ready to step in should things go south.
The fact is, the White Sox need to make one more impact move to shore up this rotation and stamp themselves as AL Central favorites. There is reason to believe General Manager Rick Hahn could at least be pontificating such as move. The following quote is from a CSN piece by Dan Hayes
"“There are still a few names out there,” Hahn said … Kenny and I talked about this the other day. There’s always one more move in your mind that you would like to make. … Despite what we’ve accomplished, there’s no exception to that mindset right now.”"
While Hahn said that he doesn’t anticipate much movement before the club heads to Arizona, he did add:
"“Things will pick up again once we get to camp.”"
To me, that means we may see some activity during spring training. With that said, there are a variety of ways for Hahn and company to try to remedy this situation before the start of the ’15 season, and the best solutions exist on the trade front. Let’s take a look at who the White Sox may target.