Let’s call it Christmas

Posted: December 25, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

I know I’ve mentioned this a time or two here; so as you know I live in the Chicago suburbs. And with the Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks struggling the talk has continued to be about baseball. Now everyone seems to be very down on the Cubs, but on the other side of town there’s a lot of buzz about the White Sox. Now this isn’t the first time there has been this kind of reaction to a White Sox off season.

In 2015 the White Sox signed Adam LaRoche to be the DH of what looked like an already potent line up. Jeff Samardzija was added to the starting rotation and the White Sox added David Robertson as the closer and Zach Duke as the main set up guy out of the bullpen.

All of these moves led to the White Sox being crowned the winners of the off season which made them a trendy pick to win the AL Central and there where even some Chicagoans that had them going to the World Series.

What ended up happening is they still play the game on the field as the White Sox went 76-86. They ended up in 4th place in the AL Central 19 games back of the division winning Kansas City Royals. The White Sox never spent one day in 1st place in 2015.

Now this off season the White Sox made a big move early signing the top catcher on the free agent market Yasmani Grandal to a 4 year $73 million dollar contract. Jose Abreu accepted the qualifying offer of $17.8 million dollars to stay with the White Sox. James McCann had a career year for the White Sox in 2019 and they where able to bring him back on a 1 year $5.4 million dollar deal.

After those signings there was talk that the White Sox needed at add an outfield bat and pitching help. The White Sox sent one of their what seems to be many prospects outfielder Steele Walker to the Texas Rangers for Nomar Mazara. I’m not sure why, but there seemed to be some complaining about this trade; I guess because you’re not allowed to trade a prospect. Even with that garbage Mazara is a proven run producer and should hit 20 or more home runs.

As far as pitching goes; the White Sox actually offered more money to Zach Wheeler and Steven Strasburg, but they both chose to sign somewhere else. I had hoped that the White Sox would make a big move and bring in Madison Bumgarner and while I heard there was some interest on the White Sox part it didn’t seem like they where even close to getting him signed. As the top pitching free agents slowly started signing with teams it looked like the White Sox where going to miss out. They did managed to sign Gio Gonzalez to a 2 year $5 million dollar contract and it looked like he was going to be the veteran pitcher they where going to add to their rotation. Little did we know the White Sox weren’t done. They went out and added former Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel to the starting rotation. Keuchel signed a 3 year $55.5 million dollar deal that has a vesting option that could make his contract a 4 year $74 million dollar deal.

Is Keuchel the top of the rotation starter that the White Sox needed to add to their young arms. Keuchel signed late last season and made 19 starts for the Atlanta Braves. He went 8-8 with an ERA of 3.75. Keuchel made 2 playoff starts for Atlanta, but pitched just 8 innings. Keuchel didn’t get a decision in either of his playoff starts and posted an ERA of 4.50.

Keuchel has stayed relatively healthy throughout his career; so he should make 30 plus starts for the White Sox. He’ll be at the top of a rotation that includes up and coming starters Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. Giolito is coming off the best of his two full major league seasons. Can Keuchel be the leader of this rotation and help Giolito take that next step? Lopez has been show potential and seems to just need a veteran who’s been through it to give him some guidance. Can Keuchel fill that role?

No there are reports out there that the White Sox aren’t done. They’ve been linked very closely to free agent 1st baseman Edwin Encarnacion. With Abreu already signed you’d have to think that if this signing happens Encarnacion would primarily be used as a DH. If signed Encarnacion would add another legitimate power threat to the White Sox line up. Last season Encarnacion was limited to just 109 games due to injury, but still hit 34 home runs. Those 34 home runs would’ve led the White Sox last season. Will have to see how this scenario plays out, but Encarnacion isn’t the only remaining free agent the White Sox have been linked to.

Nicholas Castellanos is the other free agent who’s name seems to keep being associated with the White Sox. Castellanos was dealt to the White Sox crosstown rival last season and played very well for them. In 51 games with the Cubs Castellanos hit .321 with 16 home runs and 36 RBI’s and was probably the Cubs biggest offensive threat down the stretch. The question I have is where would the White Sox play Castellanos? He played very good defense for the Cubs in rightfield after being traded, but isn’t known for his defense. The White Sox have already added Mazara who’s a better defensive rightfielder than Castellanos. Of course the White Sox do have the DH position open; so that could be an option. I’m not sure if Castellanos would be used as a full time DH as he has played 3rd base, left and right field in his career. I’m sure there’s also a chance that either Castellanos, Mazara or even Grandel could play some 1st base and give Abreu a day off. This is another free agent will have to keep our eye on and see if the White Sox make this move.

If you’re in the White Sox front office are you leaning towards signing Encarnacion or Castellanos?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head on over to TuneIn.com and you can listen any time you want.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Burketime and have a Merry Christmas.

 

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