Free Agent sluggers could still provide value to White Sox
With the Super Bowl over, the focus now turns to baseball season.
MLB pitchers and catchers are now less than two weeks away from reporting to spring training. The big story of this MLB offseason has been the high level of free agent inactivity as many big-name players have yet to sign with teams. With the White Sox still in a rebuild, there has been little activity, but still a few players that offer value to them this season.
The White Sox have the majority of their roster set with all but three of their position players having more than four years of major league experience. The one uncertain spot in their lineup is the DH spot which will be open to competition in spring training. Matt Davidson, minor leaguers Ryan Cordell, and Casey Gillespie will be given a chance to lock down the spot, but the team could sign a slugger to fill the void.
One player who is still available and was always a rumored trade target for the White Sox before the rebuild began last season is Carlos Gonzalez.
Gonzalez has spent most of his career with the Colorado Rockies and has been one of the most consistent left-handed power hitters in the National League. Before a disappointing 2017 season, he had previously averaged 25 home runs and 76 RBIs over the four season from 2013 to 2016. The White have not had a left-handed hitter hit more than 20 home runs in a season since Adam Dunn in 2014.
Jose Bautista is another free agent slugger who has drawn little attention this off-season but was rumored to be in talks with the White Sox at the Winter Meetings a few months ago. Similar to Gonzalez, Bautista’s numbers have declined the last few seasons, but has been strongly consistent before that.
Although his home run totals have dropped in half, he has still averaged over 20 home runs the last two season and still averaged close to 30 over the past five seasons.
The value for White Sox in signing either of these players isn’t in them helping the team compete in 2018, but to provide possible trade value. Both of Gonzalez and Bautista can be signed to reasonable contracts providing low risk/high reward situations for the team.
If one were to have a bounce back first half of the season, the White Sox could flip them for prospects as the team is already limited with possible trade pieces.
General manager Rick Hahn was able to get maximum value for all the trades he made to start the rebuild last season. It was the trades later in the season that was just as important as the previous offseason trades as Hahn traded for quantity over quality during the season. With the start of the 2018 season approaching soon, a free agent signing could provide the White Sox another valuable trade chip for their rebuild