Chicago White Sox: Moves need to be made before MLB lockout
By Chip Egan
In falling short of their goal of winning the World Series, the Chicago White Sox realized that while there is some really good talent on the team there are some holes that need to be filled. The offseason is the time to do that. How much money are they willing to spend and, maybe most important, how much time do they have to get that done?
During a meeting with reporters earlier this month, White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn acknowledged the team needed to get better but wouldn’t divulge what the budget for the 2022 season would be.
"“To say there is a hard and fast number at this point would not be entirely accurate,” he said. “We have a general sense what we would like to do.”"
That vagueness might not be too reassuring to White Sox fans as the team has yet to make a move. However, they currently have the fourth-highest payroll going into next season which might not keep them from making moves that add to the payroll. Hahn later said the team has some flexibility when it comes to addressing needs but they have to be smart about moving money or pieces around to make that happen.
So, what are the White Sox waiting for? Striking now while the iron is hot is a good way to go in order to land the players they want ahead of the competition. If they wait too long, they could be on the losing end of getting reinforcements they desperately could use.
The Chicago White Sox needs to make some big moves during the offseason.
The window of opportunity is open for this club to win now and they have to take advantage of it. While the White Sox try to figure out what they want to do, Central division opponents are working to close the gap between them and the Southsiders.
For example, the Detroit Tigers have become very aggressive in the early stages of the offseason picking up catcher Tucker Barnhardt and pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, and they might not be done yet. Outside the division, the Angels have landed pitcher Noah Syndergaard from the Mets and other teams throughout baseball are heating up the Hot Stove league.
As it relates to time, the biggest obstacle could be the collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball and the Players’ Union which is set to expire on December 1st. Teams are trying to move quickly on players they have on their radars but issues such as players’ salaries and service time could be what prevents a deal from getting done and baseball going into a lockout.
A lockout would freeze any trades or free-agent signings from occurring until a new agreement is reached. There is a possibility the two sides could agree to play the next year under the current deal but that seems unlikely.
Speaking of free agents, another issue could be the waiting game for who will be the one to set the market on free agents signings. The likes of Carlos Correa, Marcus Semien, Javy Baez, and others are looking for big paydays. Which is the first to go and how much they make might be what prevents the White Sox from jumping in right away on a player.
What remains to be seen is if any of the big names out there are going to sign before a work stoppage or wait it out and see what the new CBA brings. The White Sox (and all of baseball) are in a very tenuous time.
While fans are excited to see what their teams do to improve their chances of winning next year, the realities of labor issues between millionaires and billionaires could sour that enthusiasm, leaving an especially bad taste in fans’ mouths if there is no season to be excited about.