The Chicago White Sox have some holes to fill as they attempt to make the playoffs in 2020. Which hole is the biggest for the team?
While, yes, every need that will be mentioned in this article is one that should be filled, the question I am posing in this article is in regards to which need is the most vital to fill and fill correctly.
Entering the offseason, the two most key contributors set to hit free agency for the Chicago White Sox are Jose Abreu, who led the American League in RBI, and Ivan Nova who started 34 games for the team in 2019.
As of now, the White Sox do not have someone capable of filling in for Abreu, production-wise, as Zack Collins would be the most likely internal option to do so and his .677 OPS just doesn’t cut it.
That being said, his production could be simply replicated by resigning Abreu, which would reduce the need for him.
Even with Abreu, though, the team ranked 24th in all of baseball in OPS (.728) according to ESPN, suggesting they could really use some help on the offensive side of things.
The White Sox ranked 25th in homers (182) which suggests they specifically could use someone with power.
What position would that come from, though?
Well, second base, shortstop, and third base are filled or will be very soon with Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson occupying the left side of the infield. Nick Madrigal is expected to occupy second base at some point early next season.
James McCann is more than capable of hitting at the catcher position, so that will likely not be an area pursued this offseason.
Therefore, the positions the team could look to acquire offense for would be 1B/DH as well as right field.
Leury Garcia can handle right field if need be as he finished with a .688 OPS which isn’t ideal, but is also passable if you fill out the lineup elsewhere and he offers speed (15 stolen bases) which can be useful in the lineup.
Therefore, the team’s biggest need probably is a power-hitting threat, even if the person can’t play a position on the diamond. Therefore, J.D. Martinez,if he opts-out, and Nicholas Castellanos are two names on the market that could make given their high offensive prowess. Anthony Rendon would look pretty nice in the middle of the order too.
Pitching is definitely an area worth looking into, but at the same time, they do have a lot of young talent led by Lucas Giolito. Reynaldo Lopez, Dylan Cease, and Michael Kopech who could all potentially open the season in the White Sox rotation with Carlos Rodon possibly joining them around mid-season.
Do they need to sign a starter? Absolutely, but it doesn’t need to be someone of elite quality given the high ceilings for a lot of their other starting pitching options. Simply re-signing Nova could be all that is deemed necessary.
Furthermore, while every team should go after bullpen help each offseason, the White Sox should not make that priority number one given that they actually ranked towards the middle of the pack bullpen-wise with a 4.31 ERA (14th in MLB).
To be clear, these are all areas the team should be looking to improve in this offseason and most playoff teams usually do.
That being said, if there is only one spot that the Chicago White Sox can make a substantial upgrade in, it needs to be a power-hitter for the middle of the order even if the team brings back Jose Abreu.