So this was a little mid-afternoon news dump to get White Sox fans' hot stove juices flowing today. The immediate reaction to this tweet would be "WSD, Bob Nightengale never gets anything right, take this with a HUGE grain of salt" but this is also a White Sox news dump. Nightengale is rarely, if ever, wrong on his White Sox scoops. He has a direct line to the White Sox FO that could run as high up as Jerry Reinsdorf himself. Because of that, there's no reason to not take this scoop seriously at this moment.
This blog may come out prior to Verlander's acceptance/rejectance (not a word) of the qualifying offer the Astros extended to him. If he accepts it, he's a free agent. If he accepts it, just stop reading the blog now. Doesn't matter.
That said, there are pros and cons about this potential signing:
- Verlander is apparently 100% healthy now:
Obviously that's good. If the White Sox sign him and Verlander gives them 150 innings at like.... 90% of his former self, that's awesome. They have horses elsewhere where that would be more than fine.
- The White Sox rotation would be awesome. Gio, Lynn, Kopech, Cease and Verlander? Yes please
- Verlander World Series experience. I'm typically err on the side of talent over experience, but that doesn't mean I think experience is worthless either. Hopefully that experience/knowledge would rub off on the rest of the staff.
- Wouldn't be a long term deal. 2 years max I'd guess with a team option for a 3rd with a decent buyout at like... 4-5 million
- Verlander has a qualifying offer attached to his name. The White Sox don't have the deepest farm by a long stretch at this juncture, as all their better 'spects are already in the Bigs. They'd forfeit a 2nd rounder if they signed him and since they didn't extend a QO to Rodon, they won't get one back, assuming he signs for more than the qualifying offer rate. For a team that doesn't traditionally operate at the top of the market, draft picks are a lot more important to them than a team that pays for everything like the Yankees or Dodgers
- He's 39, hasn't pitched in 2 years, and is coming off TJS, and could end up being the prototypical "past his prime" White Sox signing
- He can't use spider tack anymore. That's not to say I KNOW FOR A FACT he used it, but... he used it. I don't give a single shit that he did, everyone was and the league didn't do shit to stop it, but the White Sox don't have room for dead contracts. They already have one with Keuchel and if they sign Verlander for say... a $25MM AAV for 1 or 2 years and he stinks, that's gonna make an already (probably) tight budget even tighter.
The last point is by far my biggest worry. By FAR. That said, I do think it's worth the roll of the dice. This isn't an apples to apples comparison to someone like Cory Kluber signing with the Yankees whose fastball was 90ish at his workouts pre-signing. Verlander seems to be healthy and the White Sox wouldn't be counting on him to be a grade A Cy Young caliber ace like he used to be. That'd obviously be sick, but not TOTALLY necessary. Just a quality back end piece that has the ability to completely shut down lineups when on. Hopefully he's spinning it the same as he was 2 years ago when he was still dominant.
The White Sox absolutely need depth at SP. I do think Kopech will be great but he will also be babied. They need someone not named Keuchel to go and give good, quality innings. Perhaps that guy is Verlander. Perhaps it's not. I've heard Scherzer floated around too and he'd be my (obvious) choice between the two, but in the end, if the White Sox deem Justin Verlander as the guy to lead them to the promise land, then they need to sign him. 2nd place is 1st loser. Go for the jugular and get it done.
The hot stove is on fire right now! Love it. 2 more weeks of this before the inevitable moratorium we'll see after the CBA deadline passes...