Keuchel and Gonzalez are both southpaws and would compliment the current pitching rotation. Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito are right-handed pitchers, while Carlos Rodon throws from the left. Sanchez is a right-handed pitcher and could be a good choice to sign for one year to take Michael Kopech’s spot.
Keuchel could be the ace
Keuchel is 30 years old and coming off of a quality season with the Astros. The 2015 Cy-Young winner was once the ace of the team, but has since been relegated to spot in the middle of the rotation thanks to the Astros signing Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. Even though Keuchel has only played for the Astros, it is likely he will want to join a new team and take over the “ace” position. And, with a career 3.66 ERA, he could do that in Chicago.
Keuchel would be an outstanding pick up, if Hahn can do it. As a AL-West pitcher, he’s faced some of the best hitters in the league on a regular basis – Mike Trout, Nelson Cruz, etc. He was a factor in the 2017 Astros World Series win and could bring his leadership to the Sox clubhouse.
Gonzalez has experience, but has troubles with walks
Gonzalez is 33 years old and has pitched in the MLB for 11 years. His career ERA is also impressive: 3.69. He started his MLB career with the Oakland A’s, the moved to Washington DC. He was traded at the August deadline to the Brewers. Surprisingly, Gonzalez was drafted by the White Sox in 2004 and was moved back and forth between the Sox and the Phillies before he was eventually sent to Oakland. He did pitch in the White Sox minor leagues, making it as high as Double-A Birmingham Barons. Although his ERAs have been satisfactory, he has struggled with walks throughout his career.
Honestly, Hahn should stay away from Gonzalez. On a team that already walks too many batters, Gonzalez would just add more insult to injury. (In 2018, the White Sox walked 653 batters – the most in the MLB.) And, at age 33, Gonzalez would be too much like James Shields, although with a better ERA. His WHIP with the Nats in 2018 was 1.531. In 2017, it was 1.444.
Which Sanchez would the Sox get?
Sanchez would be a familiar face to Sox fans, as a long-time pitcher with the Detroit Tigers. While he struggled mightily in his last two seasons with the AL-Central rivals, Sanchez seemed to remake himself in 2018 with the Braves. At age 34, he is the oldest of the three on Feinsand’s list. But, he also had the best 2018 ERA of the three men, pitching an outstanding 2.83 in 136 innings. Good ERAs are not new to Sanchez, as he won the ERA title (2.57) in 2013 when he pitched in his first full season in Detroit.
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The trouble with Sanchez is that he could be the guy that pitched for the Braves in 2018, or he could be the guy who pitched for the Tigers in the 2017 when he had a 6.41 ERA. He would be the cheapest option of the three. If he’s the 2018 Sanchez, he would be a good replacement for Kopech. He knows the AL Central and could be a true asset. But, if he’s the 2017 Sanchez, the signing would be a complete bust.
The best fits
Of the three pitchers, Keuchel and Sanchez would be the best choices (especially if the 2018 or 2013 Sanchez shows up). They are different types of pitchers. Keuchel prefers to throw sinkers and sliders low in the zone. Sanchez likes his four-seam fastball and his change-up, but his cutter is his most dangerous pitch. Keuchel won’t come cheap, as he made $13 million with the Astros. Sanchez could be a bargain, but will probably ask for more than the $1 million the Braves paid him in 2018.
The 2019 free agent market is loaded with outstanding pitchers. These three would all be good fits with the Sox with their strong work ethic and proven abilties. Unless the Sox take to the trend of bullpenning, the Sox need at least two arms to get through the 2019 season. At this point, we can only dream and speculate about who will join the Southsiders. But, what is for sure is that we fans are in for some excitement in this Hot Stove season.