White Sox miss out on another free agent target that would have fit nicely as a veteran outfielder for this rebuilding team.
The White Sox missed out on another free agent target in Michael Brantley this week. Brantley agreed to a two-year $32 million contract with the Houston Astros. The move became official on Wednesday.
Brantley’s signing with Houston takes away a mid-tier free agent target for the Sox. While the Sox have focused most of their efforts this offseason on acquiring Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, they’re starting to miss out on other players that could help them in the short-term.
The 31-year-old Brantley struggled to remain healthy in 2016 and 2017 for the Cleveland Indians but bounced back in 2018 to have a good season. Brantley put up a .309/.364/468 slash line with a .832 OPS in 143 games this past season for the Indians.
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Brantley also only struck out 60 times in 570 at-bats with the Indians in 2018. For a Sox team that set the team strikeout record this past season, adding a player such as Brantley to their lineup for 2019 would certainly help them from repeating their mistakes from the previous season at the plate.
The Sox need to add an outfielder for next season as they declined to tender Avisail Garcia a contract this offseason. Eloy Jimenez could be ready to make his major league debut out of Spring Training in 2019 but the Sox will still need another player to start in right field for next season.
Harper could fill that gap but there’s no guarantee the Sox will sign him. There are still other players available for the Sox to sign to fill their void in the outfield. Marwin Gonzalez is available and so is Carlos Gonzalez. Either of them could start in right field for the Sox next season if they fail to sign Harper.
If the Sox fail to sign Harper, they should hope that there are still some players available to fill their void in the outfield. Swinging for the fences and missing won’t hurt the Sox but not addressing their needs outside of targeting top free agents won’t help their chances to avoid a disaster season similar to 2018. At some point, the Sox will have to move on from targeting Harper if he doesn’t sign. Hopefully, it isn’t too late for the Sox to fill their voids before the start of the 2019 season.