The Chicago White Sox are most likely not going to make a major free-agent move this offseason but it doesn't hurt to dream of the possibility, does it?
Understand, the chances of the White Sox making a big time move in free agency is slim to none and slim just left the building. Still, the idea of what can be done to help the club is always fun to toss around this time of year as we wait for the teams to get to spring training in February.
MLB.com writer Thomas Harrigan made a free-agent proposal that while will not happen would make a good deal of sense. His proposal would put the team in a position to upgrade production at both shortstop and second base.
Harrigan's idea is for the White Sox to sign Xander Bogaerts and pair him with Tim Anderson in the middle of the infield. Whether Bogaerts would play shortstop would be something the team would have to figure out but it would definitely be an improvement defensively and add solid offense.
Anderson is under team control through the 2024 season and has been adamant that he is not willing to give up his position even to the likes of Manny Machado whom the team looked into when he was a free agent several years ago.
The Chicago White Sox should be considering any type of move this year.
Add to that the fact the White Sox have other glaring holes in their lineup to address and are not in the market for a shortstop and the idea of making this move is more of a pipe dream than a possibility.
But, with the team having finished a disappointing 81-81 last year and questions looming as to how open the window of opportunity to win a title is for this club, general manager Rick Hahn needs to take a hard look at the roster and consider some outside the box moves.
While Anderson has been terrific as the leadoff hitter, his defense has been a liability, and sliding Bogaerts into that spot would be a vast improvement in the field. Additionally, Bogaerts' offensive output would fill the void left by the probable loss of Jose Abreu to free agency.
Bogaerts played in 146 games last year, far more than the 79 Anderson posted due to injury. During that time, Bogaerts committed just 10 errors compared to Anderson's 12.
According to Fangraphs.com, his defensive runs save score of four games above average was well ahead of Anderson's score of minus 7. Additionally, Anderson's runs prevented above average score of minus one was well below Bogaerts' score of 15.
In fact, other star free agent shortstops such as Trae Turner, Dansby Swanson, and Carlos Correa would provide marked improvement at the position as well. Each of the three played in a minimum of 132 games last season and hit 21 or more homers.
In the field, Swanson (161 games) and Correa (132 games) each had a DRS of three or better while Turner posted a negative one over 160 games.
Turner committed 16 errors on the year, but that occurred in more than double the amount of games Anderson played in while committing 12 miscues.
Swanson and Correa each posted eight errors in posting fielding percentages of .986 and .983 respectively. Anderson's best year was 2021 when he fielded shortstop at a percentage of .977.
As of right now, the White Sox and many other teams for that matter have been very quiet on the transaction front. Not many moves have been made and from the White Sox's perspective, that may be the case going forward save for a minor move here or there.
Although Hahn has said the team will have a payroll comparable to that of last season's $193 million, speculation is the team will be eyeing a total less than that due to existing contracts to players such as Yoan Moncada, Yasmani Grandal and Lance Lynn each of whom is around $18 million for the year.
Ultimately, the franchise is hoping the team gets back to how it played in 2021 when the White Sox won the American League Central division and posted 93 wins.
Hahn is hoping guys like Moncada, Grandal, Lucas Giolito, and Michael Kopech can stay off the injured list and post numbers closer to what management believes they are capable of.
While it is possible the team can return to its 2021 form, relying only on blind faith in that happening is what can produce results closer to that of 2022. Based on the White Sox history, a bold move such as one for Bogaerts is not in the cards.
However, teams that believe they are close to winning a title make outside-the-box decisions and take chances on proven players that can make a difference.
The White Sox have many items on their wish list but they still need to think big if they plan to compile a team that can make a deep run in the playoffs.