There is a lot of top talent free agents (besides you know who) available at this year’s meetings. Who might the White Sox go after?
Everyone knows who the top prizes are this offseason. But there are quite a few other hitters that will be available for the White Sox to look into. Let’s take a look at who those players may be.
First, let’s look at some obvious needs the Sox have at the major league level going into 2019. The outfield, even with the mid-April arrival of Eloy Jimenez, is a big weak spot as it currently stands. Adam Jones might be past his prime, but at 32, he still has two to three decent years left. His .285/.316/.427 slash line this past season would feel like MVP numbers compared to .239/.279/.336 numbers posted by Adam Engel in 2018.
As Luis Robert is probably still a late 2020 call-up, Jones would hold down center field very well for the next couple years. Plus his veteran leadership would be valuable as the young guys start drifting up from Charlotte.
The outfielders of this free agent class come at the perfect time for the White Sox rebuild efforts
AJ Pollock will probably be more costly but also has a much higher ceiling than Jones. Unfortunately, he also has a lower floor as he has struggled to stay healthy the past couple of years. He’s easily the best center fielder on the market but he comes with high risk and at a higher cost. Not only could the signing team give him a contract close to $20 million per year, but they will also have to give the Arizona Diamondbacks a compensation pick.
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Staying in the outfield, Michael Brantley may be the best outfielder behind Bryce Harper. His 2018 line of .309/.364/.468 shows he is fully healthy and back to his old self. He’s probably looking for close to $20 million per year but he probably will sign for about $16 million-$18 million per year but should be looking for only a three-year deal.
Brantley’s representatives have also just informed prospective teams he is willing to play some first base. The Sox could use him there to spell Jose Abreu on occasion but it wouldn’t be a major selling point for them. Brantley hits both righties and lefties and rarely strikes out. That’s a great addition to left field.
Even without a Harper signing, an outfield of Brantley, Jones, and Jimenez would be a tremendous improvement over last season. And, dare I say, good enough to possibly contend in a weak division next year, given some additions are made to the pitching staff as well. The opportunities are here for Rick Hahn and the White Sox to make big additions to their major league roster and be a contender very, very quickly.