The Chicago White Sox surprised a lot of fans around baseball when they signed 28-year-old outfielder Andrew Benintendi to a franchise record 5-year/75 million dollar deal.
Some were surprised the White Sox were actually willing to get a good free agent. More were surprised that this was somehow the biggest contract in White Sox history - and for this guy?
The Angels paid more for the contract of Torii Hunter back in 2007. The White Sox are at least 15 years behind the times when it comes to free agency.
It was also surprising because GM Rick Hahn said "we can't just throw money at the problem", even though that's what ended up doing for their outfield issues.
While some may suggest the move was due to fan pressure, the Sox have wanted Benintendi for a long time, dating back to the 2015 draft (where he was taken one pick ahead of White Sox bust Carson Fulmer) and they tried to trade for him several times after. Rick finally got his guy.
With Benintendi shoring up left field, injury-prone Eloy Jimenez will move to DH and Andrew Vaughn becomes the team's first baseman replacing Jose Abreu.
While they're going to miss fan-favorite Jose Abreu in the lineup, this alignment helps them defensively and makes the team younger at the same time. Plus, Benintendi has some Scott Podsednik/Melky Cabrera vibes, making him a good fit for Chicago.
Even with Benintendi though, the White Sox lineup still has several holes in it. They have no second baseman, right field is full of question marks, and their pitching staff is average overall.
So despite this one nice move, their team is still probably around .500 like last year. They're going to have to get better if they expect to win the AL Central.
The Chicago White Sox need to make another big move this off-season.
With their left field/first base/DH conundrum solved, the greatest need for the White Sox is now second base.
Their internal options of Lenyn Sosa, Romy Gonzalez, and Leury Garcia all posted negative WAR last year. With few options left on the free agent market, their second base addition will likely need to come via trade.
While some suggest trading Liam Hendriks to get a second baseman, the White Sox would be overpaying if that were the case.
The only infielder they should trade Liam Hendriks for is Fernando Tatis Jr. While it sounds like a pipe dream, Tatis is without a position due to recent Padres' signings and the White Sox could certainly use him at second base or right field.
With Tatis unlikely to be dealt, the White Sox could acquire some of their ex-infielders like Nick Madrigal or Eduardo Escobar who might be available.
Although neither is a perfect fit, they could trade Joe Kelly to get either one of them. The Mets might not want to put Carlos Correa and Joe Kelly on the same team though. Gleyber Torres would also be a nice get but he's not worth Liam Hendriks.
Oscar Colas is projected to be the White Sox starting right fielder in 2023 but he can't start with the MLB team or else the White Sox will lose a year of control. It might be good to get a right-handed platoon option for Colas as well, Maybe Adam Duvall?
While the roster construction has improved this off-season the gaping holes at right field and second base leave much to be desired. The Andrew Benintendi signing is good but it doesn't move the needle for the Sox enough, nor does it change the fact that Jerry Reinsdorf should still sell the team.