Now that all the off-season awards have been handed out, it’s time to begin turning away from the 2020 MLB season and towards 2021. If the White Sox want to solidify being a legit contender, there’s a key position the White Sox need to address.
There’s no debating that the Sox have a hole both in right field and Starting Pitching, but the bigger hole that needs some plugging is the pitching. Right field is going to be a much easier position for the Sox to fill whether it’s via free agency or using someone already on the team. Plus, I’m already getting ahead of myself and assuming the Sox are going to sign George Springer. Either way, the offense was already pretty good using what they had. Finding another starting pitcher is going to be a little harder, because it doesn’t seem like that someone is on the team and well, the market just isn’t as good.
At the beginning of last season, it seemed like the Sox had a plethora of starting pitching with Giolito, Keuchel, Lopez, Gonzalez, Kopech, Cease, Dunning and Rodon, but we quickly found out that wasn’t the case. Lopez isn’t going to be an answer, Gonzalez had his option declined, Cease hasn’t completely put it together yet, Rodon is constantly hurt, and who knows what will happen with Kopech. Game 3 of the Wild Card Series is the only proof you need that another starter is needed.
They couldn’t confidently put out 3 starting pitchers. Now I didn’t agree with Dunning only pitching for 2 outs in the 1st inning, but he was still fresh in the big leagues. Assuming nothing crazy happens with the guys currently on the team, the starting rotation next year will in all likelihood be: Giolito, Keuchel, Cease, Dunning, Kopech, but I don’t think the Sox should settle with that and really need be aggressive.
You can never have too much starting pitching right? Some free agent pitchers that will be available are:
- Trevor Bauer (would absolutely love bringing this dude on-board)
- Marcus Stroman
- Masahiro Tanaka
- Robbie Ray
- Jose Quintana
Based on some recent tweets from Stroman, it looks like he won’t be a realistic option. Looking at that list, Trevor Bauer would obviously be the top, preferred option for the White Sox. I mean the guy just won a Cy Young. The list of suitors will justifiably be long for Bauer, but the Sox are in a perfect position to make a serious run at the pitcher.
According to Sportrac, the White Sox will have the 15th highest payroll for 2021 as it stands right now. All of those team-friendly deals they’ve been locking up the past few years have given them some great flexibility. It’s going to largely depend on what Bauer is looking for, but we know he’s not coming at any sort of bargain. Keuchel is already the 18th highest-paid pitcher and if Giolito truly is the Sox Ace, he’ll be looking for a new deal in the next few years. He’s not a free agent until 2024 though, which is when Keuchel’s contract is also up. So realistically, even if Bauer is looking for ~$30 million/yr. which would put him in line with the rest of the big boys, the Sox can afford to invest that much money in their starting pitching as their only high dollar pitcher through 2024 is Keuchel.
It remains to be seen what Giolito will get via the team or arbitration, but it likely won’t be Ace money. With the bats locked up, the Sox don’t need to pour a lot of money into the offense.
Aside from the financial side of things, the Sox are ready to win. According to oddsshark.com (and others depending on where you look), the Sox have the 3rd best odds to make the World Series in 2021. That’s honestly kinda ridiculous given their projected starting pitching as-is. Ridiculous in a surprising/good way. Trevor Bauer would put the Sox over the edge and might catapult them in the odds department. Adding a Cy Young arm… yeah, not might… it will catapult them.
Bauer also has an attitude that would fit in with the rest of this Sox team. The Sox motto is “Change the Game” and Bauer isn’t afraid to voice his opinion on improvements/changes to the game… or do a little shit talking to other players like TA:
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) September 20, 2020
Hey @TimAnderson7, I was disappointed I didn't see a bat flip from you after you took me deep 420ft, but you did make it on my YouTube channel. 😂
— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) September 21, 2020
Looks like it’s all in good fun between these two. And just for a little reference on that TA tweet… it was from May of 2019. Yeah, Bauer went back to a year and a half old tweet to get some jabs in. Would LOVE to see them on the same team on the South Side.
I know I said the top need for the White Sox is a starting pitcher and I stand by that, but that starting pitcher should be Trevor Bauer. Rick Hahn needs to go all in and make Trevor Bauer the main focus for this team this off-season. Make it happen.
Winter Meetings start December 6th and we’ll likely start seeing a lot of movement and things falling into place when those start.