For each division, we will be doing an in-depth look at each team’s situations for the offseason and offer some insights to what would make sense.
On to the AL Central, where the Indians will try to overcome a loss of notable free agents and try to hold off the Twins and continue to beat down on the dumpster fires that are the Tigers, Royals, and White Sox rosters.
Chicago White Sox
Top FA Targets:
- Manny Machado, SS/3B
Not one of their needs, but I picked them to win the Machado sweepstakes in my 2018-2019 Presidente’s Free Agent Predictions… so I can’t go back on that now. They would need to convince him to move back to 3B, but that’s not difficult if they are throwing the most money at him.
- Dallas Keuchel, SP
With their above-average defense, snagging the SP with one of the best soft-contact rates in all of baseball would be a coup. Could put him in Cy Young discussions again.
- Zach Britton, RP
Chicago can’t rely on Nate Jones to be healthy at this point, so snag a set-up man that can close WHEN he goes down… Maybe grab a couple.
- Kelvin Herrera, RP
Ditto. Familiar with the AL Central and should come reasonably priced after an injury ended his 2018 season.
- A.J. Pollock, OF
Pollock could be a good find for the ChiSox to play LF alongside the defensively gifted Adam Engel. When uber-prospect Eloy Jimenez is finally called up, Avisail Garcia can move to DH permanently.
Top 3 Trade Possibilities:
- White Sox trade SP Carlos Rodon and prospect OF Blake Rutherford (#7) to the Pirates for OF Starling Marte
Chicago has a very young rotation and can’t rely on Rodon to pitch a full season for them. It’s best to move on and use him to address other needs. Marte has one year left with a couple reasonably priced club options, but PIT doesn’t seem to have a real shot at much with the Cubs, Cards, and Brewers ahead of them. Rodon could be pitching coach Ray Searage’s greatest feat if he can turn him into the pitcher he was supposed to be when he was drafted. Rutherford is a couple years away from contributing at the MLB level, but he would be a great piece for the Pirates.
- White Sox trade INF Yolmer Sanchez to the Mets for SP Jason Vargas, INF T.J. Rivera, and a Low A prospect
Yolmer has 3 years of team control remaining and has been a useful piece, but I anticipate them finding a full-time 3B to replace him. He doesn’t have eye-popping stats by any means, but he is a versatile player with some speed. Vargas is making $8M with a $2M buyout for 2020 and doesn’t have a spot locked down in that rotation in 2019. The ChiSox could use his durability at the very least with their young staff. Rivera would simply be a bench piece for the Sox and the prospect is for clearing the salary off the Mets books.
- White Sox trade prospect OF Luis Robert (#4) & SP Alec Hansen (#10) to the Giants for SP Madison Bumgarner & RP Sam Dyson
For the ChiSox, they get an experienced arm to lead their rotation and a RP with closing experience (with 2 years of team control). It is obvious to every team the Giants need to move MadBum before he leaves via free agency and they need some talent in their depleted farm system. Robert would be a great acquisition to help navigate that ridiculous OF in San Francisco and Hansen could start getting acclimated in the minors with the Giants 1st round pick, C Joey Bart.
- White Sox trade 1B Jose Abreu and OF Avisail Garcia to the Astros for prospect OF Kyle Tucker (#1) & OF Derek Fisher
If Chicago misses on some of the larger free agents, maybe they decide move Jose Abreu in his walk year to start re-tooling. Astros are a clear fit for Abreu and have the prospects to make it happen. The Stros also reportedly tried to acquire Garcia at the deadline last year and they could use him again as things stand now. In return, the White Sox get top-5 MLB prospect Kyle Tucker and a solid piece in Derek Fisher… both MLB ready.