In Mariah Carey’s song “All I want for Christmas,” she proclaims that “what I want can’t be found underneath the Christmas tree.” She makes a good point in that there are some gifts that one will never find underneath the Christmas tree. Even the biggest trees come with logistical limitations. Still, it the Christmas season, the perfect time to imagine just what things Chicago White Sox fans would like to find underneath the Christmas tree on Christmas morning.
Chicago White Sox Fans: What They Have
The White Sox, after three tough years of rebuilding, came out strong in 2020. They put together a 35-25 record and made their first playoff appearance since 2008. The lineup, a blend of young up-and-coming stars and veterans, looks to be capable of scoring more runs in 2021. They added Adam Eaton, a much-needed left-handed bat and he almost certainly will be an upgrade over Nomar Mazara, a major disappointment in rightfield in 2020. Pitching-wise, the rotation came up short in 2020, as the highly-touted youngsters lacked consistency. So, they added Lance Lynn in a trade to bolster the rotation. He should be a valuable third starter.
Chicago White Sox Fans: Dream List
In a perfect world, where Jerry Reinsdorf had unlimited cash (and a willingness to spend it), the Sox would add a big-time right fielder, one or two more starters, a left-handed hitting designated hitter, a top-tier closer, and a solid backup catcher (James McCann, anyone?) So, bring on George Springer, Trevor Bauer, Michael Brantley, Liam Hendriks, and maybe trade for McCann? Okay, that is a stretch, but this is the dream section. Adding these four names would be a dream come true for White Sox fans everywhere.
The Want List
Now it is time to get a little closer to reality. Nobody expects Reinsdorf to go on a spending spree, so Chicago White Sox fans need to lower their sights just a tad. What White Sox fans want is another starter, a left-handed bat, a better right fielder than Eaton, and a closer. Oh yeah, and at least a middle-tier backup catcher. At this level, we find veteran starters like Jake Odorizzi, James Paxton, Rick Porcello, and Anibal Sanchez, to name a few. The available left-handed bats would include Brett Gardner, Daniel Murphy, Eddie Rosario, and Travis Shaw. (Of course, Michael Brantley is still out there. Just sayin’.)
Right fielders might include Joc Pederson, Ryan Braun, or Jay Bruce. Closers include Hendriks, Roberto Osuna, Ken Giles, or Alex Colome. Backup catchers are plentiful and include such names as Drew Butera. Kurt Suzuki, Sandy Leon, and Jeff Mathis. Of course, Yadier Molina and J.T. Realmuto are available, but they would not be cheap and are not candidates for a backup role.
The Need List
This third and final list is where the rubber likely meets the road. It serves as a reality check for White Sox fans dreaming of sugar plums dancing in their heads. What do the White Sox need to become serious contenders, and not just a threat to make the playoffs? Once they have cleared their heads, they should be able to see that the following positions should be priorities.
The Sox absolutely must add a closer. While fans would love to see them sign Hendriks, Colome would likely be a less costly option. He has been the Sox closer for the last two seasons and has performed well. He has picked up 42 saves over that time and has been reliable.
The Sox also need a back-up catcher. They have several in-house options, such as Zack Collins, Seby Zavala, and Yermin Mercedes. They may go shopping in the bargain basement for a backup and hope that starter Yasmani Grandal stays healthy.
Finally, they need to address their designated hitter position. While there are several ways to go here, it is apparent that they will not go the big money route to fill this need. One name being floated is their top prospect, Andrew Vaughn, however, Vaughn had not played above High A ball, and the White Sox are in win-now mode. So, he may not be the ideal choice.
When all is said and done, what happens on the South Side? Exactly what will White Sox fans find underneath the Christmas tree? While we know what they would love to see, or want to see, what will be there? After some serious thought, let’s go with George Springer, Trevor Bauer, Michael Brantley, and Liam Hendriks. Those are the three gifts that Sox fans will find under the Christmas tree this year. After all, it is the season of miracles, isn’t it?
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