The White Sox went hard after Manny Machado last year and came up empty. But they’re back after the market with an even stronger mandate to improve this time around. Club president Kenny Williams said as much in brief comments to reporters, including Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). What started as a cliche resulted in a promise of something greater from Williams. “We’re here to do business as usual,” he said before catching himself. “Well, not usual. More than usual.”
So what’s on tap for the South Siders? Pitching, among other things. GM Rick Hahn says he’s looking for two new rotation pieces this winter, as Van Schouwen tweets. Carlos Rodon underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this year, while uber-prospect Michael Kopech will be returning from his own Tommy John procedure (performed late in the 2018 season). The White Sox have Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez as rotation options in addition to the returning Kopech, Carson Fulmer and Dylan Covey. Hahn was unsurprisingly not worried about the potential to eventually have more arms than rotation spots.
Here’s more on the South Siders…
- Despite Williams’ vow to be more active, Hahn made clear that the Sox aren’t aiming for the dubious honor of “winning the offseason” (subscription link via James Fegan of The Athletic). “You know, we’ve taken home the offseason champion belt a few times,” said Hahn. “…In reality, none of that matters come September if we’re not in the thick of things.” Hahn addressed last winter’s failed pursuit of Manny Machado as well, noting that while the organization would rather have “converted” in its courtship of Machado, the public nature of the pursuit was also in some ways a “response to the general narrative that we weren’t legitimate players for such talent.”
- Hahn isn’t the only one who views the White Sox as a viable landing spot for premium free agents. Scott Boras told reporters at the GM Meetings today that he agreed with Hahn’s assessment of the team’s situation (link via Van Schouwen). “They have a lot of great young talent,” said Boras. “It’s a great city. Certainly players look at the White Sox in a very different way than they did two years ago, no question.”
- The ChiSox have a lengthy offseason wish list, of course, and they’re not likely to do all of their shopping on the free-agent market alone. Trades will surely be a part of the winter calculus, though Hahn downplayed the possibility of adding any pieces who would be a one-year rental before reaching free agency next winter (Twitter link via Fegan). Hahn was “resistant” to parting with notable young assets for such pieces. While the likes of Mookie Betts, Robbie Ray, Ken Giles and perhaps old friend Jose Quintana could all conceivably see their names kicked around the rumor mill this winter, it doesn’t sound as though the White Sox are a particularly likely landing spot for that type of veteran.