With the World Series complete, off-season moves now begin for all 30 teams and the White Sox have already begun making them.
Though most likely past his prime, the former All-Star was a veteran leader who many young Sox players looked at as a mentor.
In addition, the White Sox picked up a $4.65 million option on closer Nate Jones. The move makes it much more likely that Jones – presently the most tenured player on the team – will be back in 2019.
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Vinnie Duber of NBC Sports Chicago wrote about the Jones deal:
"” [A]t least one spot is filled in the 2019 bullpen with the return of Jones. The injury-plagued lefty will be 33 on Opening Day and has thrown just 41.2 innings in the past two seasons, but his salary is a low one for a team with so few big financial commitments.”"
The Sox front office made a small move to keep Michael Kopech on the team. In a standard move for players with major injuries in the off-season, he was taken off of the 60-day disabled list and placed on the 40-man roster. When the season starts, he will return to the DL.
Besides Shields, only a few other ChiSox are on the free agent market. Those include relievers Jeanmar Gomez and former All-Star Hector Santiago. Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez who is coming off of the 60-day disabled list is now a free agent as well. Two other players who were in the White Sox minor leagues are also free agents, Jason Bourgeois and Steve Johnson – according to the free agent records on Spotrac.
More than one person – including our own writer Kristen Bentley – believe the White Sox should target top third baseman Manny Machado. Though extremely talented, Machado drew the ire of some fans this October with his actions in the NLCS. He is still an attractive consideration, however.
The ChiSox will have potential to land several free agents this off-season, along with picking up some players via trade and choosing how to develop and select from the players they have. With many saying that 2018 was their last rebuilding year and 2019 is supposed to be the year they break out, putting together a competitive team to win now may be Rick Hahn’s biggest challenge as a GM to date.