The fact that the White Sox brought back Reynaldo Lopez might be even more surprising than them bringing back Rodon. Lopez was the team’s best pitcher in 2018 when they were pretty bad but was never able to take that next step. In fact, he has gone backward. We know he has a good arm and can throw some decent stuff but he has just gotten lit up over the last few years. This 2021 season is huge for him as he tries to stick around beyond the year.
Unlike Rodon, his contract is not up after this year. The White Sox would have to non-tender him if they don’t want to pay him in 2022. It will all depend on how he performs this year. If he goes out there and takes that fifth starter spot and uses it well, they might actually keep him around. The problem is that it is hard to see. Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech, and Garrett Crochet all seem to have brighter futures on the mound so Lopez feels like the odd man out. The only saving grace might be if he can pull off changing to a reliever.
When the trade was made to send Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals, Lucas Giolito was the main piece but it was the hope that Lopez would also be an awesome starter. Well, Dane Dunning (the third piece in the trade) was actually better and they used him to get Lance Lynn. If Lopez wants to make this right and prove us wrong, he needs to go out there this year and be a very productive pitcher.