By: Mark Lester
It’s a few weeks until opening day, and it seems like the offseason is pretty much over for the White Sox, unless of course they somehow pick up Kimbrel or Keuchel. We all know that isn’t going to happen, so it’s probably safe to give them an offseason grade right now.
Easily the most notable part of the White Sox offseason was their pursuits of shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, both of which eventually fell short. I’d be lying if I said that failure on the White Sox part won’t put a huge dent in their grade; that kind of a flop given the opportunity they had to acquire a franchise-altering player is quite frankly inexcusable.
However, I will give the White Sox management credit where credit’s due; they made a lot of really solid acquisitions via trade and free agency. They added two solid starters to their pitching staff, former Pirate Ivan Nova via trade and the former Twin Ervin Santana via free agency. Granted, they’re not exactly ideal, as both have a projected ERA around 4.00 for 2019, but for a staff that was one of the worst in baseball last year, having two consistent arms in the middle of the lineup during the wait for Cease and Kopech to come up from the minors isn’t a bad thing. The bullpen also got a huge boost in the acquisitions of Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome, so we can expect an improvement from a relief staff that was, to say the least, not great last season.
Management also picked up a couple of solid bats in outfielder Jon Jay and first baseman Yonder Alonso (Jose Abreu is projected to start the year as a DH). Jon Jay admittedly had a down year last year, but throughout his career he’s been a reliable batter and solid batter. In fact his WAR last year was higher than the entire White Sox outfield combined, so he’s definitely an improvement. Yonder Alonso was a less spectacular signing. The White Sox didn’t pay all that much for him, and for good reason. However, he as well can be counted on to be a reliable, serviceable player this year.
Overall, the signings made this past offseason really weren’t bad. They grabbed a handful of players who are bound to be an improvement to the starting lineup, and with all of these high ranking prospects bound to make an impact in the major leagues in the very near future, having some solid pieces at key positions will be a good thing going forward. But, as I said earlier, missing out on Machado and Harper was a huge misstep for the franchise, and I’m willing to bet that it will be felt for years to come.
Overall Grade: C+