White Sox have a lot to do this offseason before Spring Training begins in February. What is a good wish list for 2019?
As we ring in the 2019 new year the White Sox have a lot they could do to make their team successful this year and in the long run. 2019 represents the 100th anniversary of the team throwing the 1919 World Series in the black sox scandal, and the 60th anniversary of the 1959 American League pennant, so it would be fitting if this is the year the corner is turned.
The White Sox have had six straight losings seasons and have not made the playoffs since 2008, which is one of the longest droughts in all of the major sports. This offseason presents a chance to turn things around for this year or the next.
While it’s unlikely for them to all come to fruition, here are some things that should be on the White Sox agenda as we begin the new year.
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1.Sign Manny Machado– the details about the pursuit of Machado are not entirely known to the public, as they contain many conflicting reports. Here’s what we can be almost certain of; the chase is down to three teams, the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, and White Sox.
The Yankees recently signed Troy Tulowitzki to play shortstop, so that means they are either a) not sure they will get Machado or b) planning to play him at third base. In either case, it does make Machado singing with Yankees to be less than a guarantee. The White Sox should have as good of a chance to sign him as any other team, although we don’t exactly know what is being offered but we do know the White Sox have at least made an offer. Machado will likely make his decision in the next week or so, which makes him priority number one.
2. Sign Bryce Harper – Harper’s signing will likely come after Machado’s and will likely command a larger contract as his agent Scott Boras would like him to break the $ 325 million record for an MLB contract. If the White Sox signed Harper he would be their greatest right-fielder in franchise history, and if they got Machado he would be their greatest third-basemen in franchise history.
This is why you can’t pass up on an opportunity like this, as players of this caliber are not likely to hit the market again. I do think that if the White Sox do sign Harper, they may be best off starting him in center field, where he will make a big upgrade over Adam Engel’s bat. Harper can be moved to right field when a top Sox center field prospect is ready for the major leagues. He can remain there for the rest of the contract, but could also move to first base or designated hitter later in his career, something he wouldn’t be able to do if the were to sign with a National League team.
3. Acquire a starting pitcher – the White Sox could do this through free agency or trade, but they need another starting pitcher for next year. Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito, Ivan Nova, and Reynaldo Lopez make four starters, but they need at least one more to have a competitive rotation.
Gio Gonzalez, who is a free agent, seems like he would be a great fit. Gonzalez still has enough to lead a staff of young pitchers, and will likely be inexpensive for the upcoming season. A trade could also be made for someone like Zack Grienke, but that might not be worth the money and certainly wouldn’t be worth top prospects.
4. Sign a reliever – bullpens are becoming increasingly important in major league baseball, as starting pitchers throw less and less innings and teams that go deep into the playoffs almost always have a stacked bullpen. The White Sox solidified the closing end of things by adding Alex Colome but are still needing of a good setup man given the inexperience of the team’s young pitching staff for 2019. Adam Ottavino has been connected to the White Sox, which is a good thing because he was one of the best relievers in the game last season.
The White Sox have had six straight losing seasons, which is similar to the Nationals who had six straight losing seasons from 2006-2011. Once Harper debuted on their team in 2012, they had seven straight winning seasons. If the White Sox were to sign Harper and/or Machado, they could go a similar route and 2019 is a year they could turn the corner.
Doing so will require a generous contract and good persuasion, but Rick Hahn (for all that’s said about him) is pretty daft at acquiring players and making moves. We shall see.