With the tender/non-tender deadline looming tomorrow, the notoriously slow MLB off-season should begin to ramp up in the near future. The White Sox have been involved in numerous rumors so far, and officially opened their window after ending their 12 year playoff drought. With that being said, here are three scenarios that would make the White Sox legitimate contenders for the next few seasons.
Sign Trevor Bauer, Trade For Kris Bryant
The two biggest holes on the White Sox roster are right field and starting pitching. In this scenario, the Sox add the reigning N.L Cy Young award winner to anchor the rotation and a former MVP to take over right field.
I don’t think the White Sox will ever be a team to add two premium free agents in the same off-season, which is why they would have to make a trade to round out their starting lineup. But a three-headed monster of Giolito/Bauer/Keuhel could go toe-to-toe with any rotation in baseball. And now that Ethan Katz is the pitching coach, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech contribute in significant ways as well.
As for the KB trade, he would be a 1-year rental assuming he signs elsewhere as a free agent next winter. However, because of that little snag, he probably wouldn’t require a blue chip prospect like he would have a year or two ago. There’s no denying that the Cubs waited too long to deal him. If they truly do blow up the team like many are suggesting they will, the Sox have enough mid-tier prospects and MLB ready relievers to get a deal done. I’d take Bryant’s career .380 OBP and .889 OPS on this team every single day. And imagine if he reverts back to his MVP form?
This scenario would potentially give the Sox a top 5 rotation and lineup in all of baseball. When’s the last time they were able to say that?
Sign George Springer, Trade For Yu Darvish
George Springer is the best free agent position player available, and the Sox could finally fill the right field hole they’ve had since they traded Adam Eaton. He comes with baggage from the Astros sign stealing scandal, but he still posted a 1.9 WAR in 51 games last year. He’d be a perfect fit for the Sox both from a production standpoint and an area of need. Bat him second in the order behind Tim Anderson for the next 5 years and watch an already incredible offense get that much better.
Another scenario, another trade with the Cubs, this time for starting pitching in the form of Yu Darvish. He’s been inconsistent but finally, put together a Cy Young-worthy season in 2020. When he’s on, he is one of the most unhittable pitchers on the planet. The Sox payroll could also afford to eat the majority of his remaining salary with the Cubs (3 years, 59M base salary). If they do that, he’d be another player that probably wouldn’t cost someone like Andrew Vaughn or Michael Kopech.
Sign George Springer, Trade For Blake Snell
Same right fielder here, different trade for pitching. Blake Snell is an unbelievable talent, and will always be remembered for getting pulled way too early in the World Series vs the Dodgers when he was absolutely shutting them down. The thing is, he’s still young and is controlled for 3 more years at an incredibly cheap rate. This is the trade that would cost the Sox the most in terms of prospect capital. Tampa Bay would more than likely ask for Andrew Vaughn AND Michael Kopech. I’m not sure the Sox would be comfortable doing that unless they signed Springer first, making Snell the final piece of the puzzle.
If I had to pick a scenario it would easily be the 1st one where the Sox sign Trevor Bauer and trade for KB. Adding the reigning Cy Young from the National League and buying low on a former MVP with a ridiculous ceiling is too enticing to pass up. Plus, Bauer and Tim Anderson on the same team would be a marketing gold mine.
The options are there for the Sox, they just have to go out and make a couple of moves and the American League is there for the taking.