Will the Chicago White Sox get back to being competitive sooner than their next opponent, the Washington Nationals?

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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Future payroll flexibility favors the Nationals just a bit.

The Chicago White Sox could end up having just two guaranteed contracts next season and thus just $32 million owed to Andrew Benintendi and Luis Robert Jr. next year. If the Sox somehow keep Erick Fedde after the trade deadline, then the Sox will have only three players with guaranteed deals heading into the offseason. The rest of the veterans with options next season are unlikely to be exercised.

The Sox will still have to pay their pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players, but it is not going to be a huge amount that will prevent the White Sox from having money to spend next offseason even if owner Jerry Reinsdorf keeps putting in self-imposed spending restrictions.

The Nationals can actually counter the White Sox' ability to spend as they have just one active player with a guaranteed deal next season. Washington at least has a history of spending good money in free agency.

Both have two young star players to build around.

The Sox have Luis Robert Jr. who might have won AL MVP last year had Shohei Ohtani not played in the AL and the Sox not lost 101 games. He is hurt this year and has battled injuries during most of his career.

CJ Abrams is starting to emerge as he has a .858 OPS and an OPS plus of 148 this year. Last year in his first full season had a .245/.300/.412 slash line. When Robert Jr. is healthy, he is one of the best players in baseball. He keeps having if/when around his career with his injury history so let’s go push between the two organizations there.