White Sox will need to address a lot of holes this offseason through signing free agents. Which free agent will be a top priority for this team to sign?
The White Sox have the opportunity to address many of their needs this upcoming offseason. There will be a plethora of available free agents the Sox can sign that will address their current holes and help the team become competitive going into the 2019 season.
Coming off another losing season, the Sox can add free agents this offseason to complement their young roster and move closer to being a contending team next season and beyond. While there are Sox fans who would like the team to target top free agents such as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, there are other players the Sox could sign that will help them for the next few years.
The Sox will need a lot of help with its starting pitching as their rotation will be young and will need two starters. With James Shields likely not coming back and an injury to Michael Kopech, the Sox would be wise to heavily target one or more of the free agent starting pitchers that will be available.
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One of those free agents will be Dallas Keuchel. The 2015 Cy Young award winner would give the Sox a top of the rotation left-handed starting pitcher if signed. Keuchel has a lot of postseason experience and could help anchor the Sox starting rotation over the next two or three years.
After winning a career-high 20 games in 2015, Keuchel has been unable to replicate his success from that season. However, he did rebound nicely from his 2016 season where he went 9-12 with a 4.55 ERA to go 14-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 2017. This past season, Keuchel finished with a 12-11 record, 3.74 ERA and recorded 153 strikeouts in 34 games started for the Astros.
The Sox could sign Keuchel to two or three-year contract this offseason. Although Keuchel might not be the same pitcher he was in 2015, he would still provide the Sox with veteran stability in their pitching rotation. Another pitcher the Sox could target this offseason will most likely be targeted by other teams with deeper pockets.
Patrick Corbin is another left-handed starting pitcher that could help the Sox. Corbin hasn’t won a Cy Young award, but he is coming off an impressive 2018 where he went 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA. The one knock on Corbin has been consistency. His 2018 season was good, but he hasn’t been able to put together consecutive strong seasons in his career.
Corbin had a stellar 2013 season where he went 14-8 and a 3.41 ERA along with an All-Star Game selection, but couldn’t follow that up the following year. He missed the 2014 season and most of the 2015 season as he recovered from surgery to repair a torn UCL. Corbin made just 16 starts in 2015 and went 6-5 with a 3.60 ERA.
In 2016 however, Corbin would make 24 starts and appeared in 36 total games but saw his record drop to 5-13 with a 5.15 ERA that year. The 2017 season wasn’t all that kind to Corbin as he finished that season with a 14-13 record and a 4.03 ERA. The Sox might want to be cautious before making Corbin a top priority this offseason as he will likely command a lot of money, but hasn’t shown enough consistency throughout his career.
The Sox will also need to sign relief pitchers this offseason as their bullpen was one of the worst in MLB in 2018. There will be many relief pitchers on the market as free agents including Craig Kimbrel and Kelvin Herrera. The Sox could target Herrera as he would give them a great option to use in the seventh or eighth inning of a ballgame.
Kimbrel could be targeted by other teams with deeper pockets similar to Corbin. The Sox don’t have a definitive closer and Kimbrel would give them better opportunities to close out games next season. Another pitcher the Sox could target is Andrew Miller. The Sox would benefit greatly from a solid left-handed relief pitcher in their bullpen to go along with Jace Fry.
There will be some free agents the Sox could target who would give their offense a boost as well. While the focus will be on Harper and Machado, other players that could help the Sox offense are Marwin Gonzalez, Josh Donaldson and possibly Mike Moustakas if his option isn’t picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Gonzalez would give the Sox a versatile veteran player that they can put in multiple positions around the infield and outfield. This past season, Gonzalez appeared in 145 total games with the Astros. He appeared in 24 games at first base, 32 games at second base, three games at third base, 39 games at shortstop, 73 games in left field, two games in center field and one game in right field.
The Sox should certainly go after Gonzalez as he also has a lot of postseason experience and could fill in at many different positions. This offseason should be very exciting for Sox fans. There are some fans who fear the Sox front office won’t make many additions to their team through signing free agents. With a team that hasn’t reached the postseason since 2008, don’t expect the Sox to waste an opportunity to address many of their needs this offseason.