Starting pitching is actually an area of strength for the White Sox. However, with James Shields’ struggles and Carson Fulmer being unproven, does it make sense to add another arm?
The Chicago White Sox have three great starting pitchers. But as any baseball guy will tell you, it never hurts to have a surplus of arms. Look at how well the Cleveland Indians were able to whether the storm when two of their top pitchers went down. Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodon are all solid options, but then there is a considerable drop off.
Miguel Gonzalez was great and should get an opportunity to battle for a rotation spot, but who is your fifth starter? James Shields is picking up his option, so he will be with the team next season. But after an awful performance, it doesn’t seem like he can return to form. Carson Fulmer is a relative unknown, so it may be hard to count on him to be solid all season.
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The Sox got into a position last season where they were chugging along and then guys who were pitching well i.e. Mat Latos tanked. Latos started off the season great but then couldn’t sustain it. That led to him being released. They then traded for James Shields, who was coming off a 10-run outing. That never worked from the beginning and he had probably one of the worst seasons in baseball history.
Because of this, the Sox could benefit from another arm. Again, there really aren’t many elite starting pitchers available in free agency, but they could find a veteran guy. It would benefit this team if they could bring in someone who could sure up the back-end of the rotation and eat up innings. I’m not ready to give up on Shields, but given his sample size with this organization, I wouldn’t want to be in a position where I have to rely on him.
In 2016, the White Sox kept trotting him out and fans were thinking this is definitely a loss. Now, we’re stuck with him for two more seasons. If anyone can help him return to form, it would be Don Cooper but that’s a tall order. His stuff just isn’t as good as it once was.
The bottom line is pitching wins games and championships. The Indians are a game away from winning a World Series and their pitching has been lights out. The 2005 White Sox team that won the World Series had phenomenal pitching.
Right now, they have two aces and a future ace. After that, they have someone who is unproven and another guy that has no business being in your starting rotation. If you want this team to compete for a division title or wild card spot next season, this should worry you. Pitching is so important and it’s an area the White Sox can’t afford to be cheap on.