White Sox can fill many needs this offseason as they’re many free agents available on the open market. Who will be the top target for the Sox?
The 2019 free agent season has long been anticipated. But Manny Machado and Bryce Harper aren’t the only players the Sox should pursue.
News of the Sox signing either of Harper or Machado would be exciting to hear for many fans. But they aren’t the only two names to be focusing on. In this article, I’ll go over some of the starting pitching free agents the Sox may want to sign, either for a long-term central figure or as a short-term fill-in piece until prospects make their way up to Chicago:
Clay Buchholz: At 34 years old, Buchholz would be a bridge from the current rebuilding pitching staff to one that becomes a top contending staff. He brings obvious veteran leadership and big game experience. This past season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, he had a 7-2 record with a 2.01 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.
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This would probably be a two-year deal and obviously, his past injury history would be a concern. But, since being signed last May to a minor league contract with Arizona, he reinvented himself and had 16 starts for a contending team. His veteran leadership would be a welcome addition to the club.
Nathan Eovaldi. The recent World Series champ is coming off of a great postseason where he racked up a 1.61 era over 22.1 innings pitched. This was over two starts and four relief appearances. He has a cutter, curve, sinker and his fastball reaches triple digits. He could be a valuable addition to a starting rotation still needing veteran leadership. At just 29 years old, he could still be around when the Sox championship window opens up.
Dallas Keuchel. The left-handed starter would be a much-needed addition to a right-handed heavy rotation. Like Eovaldi, he’d also offer great veteran leadership. Keuchel’s numbers this past season, while not Cy Young quality, were still strong. He pitched over 200 innings at a 3.74 era pace. With 153 strikeouts and a 1.31 WHIP, he still had a strong season. This signing would signify the Sox front office feels they’re close to turning the corner. You don’t sign a top free agent starting pitcher if you don’t plan on winning…….And soon.
Patrick Corbin: At 29 years old and a 4.6 WAR this past season, Corbin is one of if not THE most coveted free agent pitchers this offseason. Left-handed and with 200 innings pitched and a 3.15 ERA, he’s on most every teams radar. With teams like the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees strong suitors for his services, it doesn’t seem likely that Rick Hahn will outbid them. But, with the Sox seemingly ready to spend money, they could swoop in and make a splash.
JA Happ: His name has been linked to the Sox in various rumors. He’s 36 so not a long-term answer but his 3.4 WAR this past season puts him behind only Corbin and Keuchel on the free agent list. He could be a good fit to fill in as a veteran lefty to anchor the current staff. He also could be signed as a possible mid-season trade chip to a contending ballclub. The Sox have been excellent in doing that the past two years.
Gio Gonzalez: A reunion with the former Sox draft pick is definitely a possibility. Although he never pitched an inning for the White Sox, he was drafted by them and traded twice. He’s another lefty that would fit in nicely with the current right-hand heavy rotation.
After being acquired by the Brewers at the trade deadline in July, he posted a 3-0 record with a 2.13 ERA, helping Milwaukee to the NL Central division title. He’s now 33, so would not be looked at as a future core piece, but would fill that veteran leadership role and also could be flipped at the trade deadline to a contender for another decent prospect.
There are many more names out there, but, I feel like the ones mentioned above are names that could make sense for the Sox to sign. Next time, I’ll go over the names of possible relief pitchers the White Sox may or should be targeting.