Yesterday I felt like being productive yesterday, so I pounded a bunch of 3chi and hopped on a little YouTube live with the Section 108 guys to talk about this dire question:
We all agreed that the answer *should* be sorta simple... just put the best 5 starting pitchers in the rotation, regardless of experience, salary, or past accolades. Go and win a goddamn World Series or die trying. As it sits right now, that would mean Dallas Keuchel is probably told he's now in long relief or he's cut, in spite of what he's earning this year, what he's done in the past, or who his agent is.
That ain't happening though. It's (unfortunately) not a black and white situation, as Rick Hahn must take a myriad of things into account, especially money. There's lots of nuance. That's not to say that Keuchel should just be handed the 4th or 5th spot in the rotation, either, but healthy competition is always good for the team. Competition brings out the best in people. That's why I'd trade for Bassit/Manaea and re-sign Rodon, by FAR the best SP free agent left on the board. Gio-Lynn-Rodon-Cease-Bassit/Manaea? That's a World Series caliber rotation. The goal is to win the World Series this year, right?
That's what I thought. But aside from adding a quality rotational arm via trade/free agency - I think the White Sox should and will bargain bin shop as well. That's not a bad thing - all teams do it prior to spring training in hope of catching lightning in a bottle, but not all teams have access to Ethan Katz aka The Pitching Whisperer.
After looking for that diamond in the rough over the course of the offseason, I landed on a guy I'd like to seem the White Sox spin their wheels on, and that guy is Chad Kuhl. Now, Chad Kuhl isn't some stud. I know that if the Sox do sign him, chances are he's a bum. But non-zero chances are he's got a lot of quick outs hidden in that right arm of his. I watch him pitch and think to myself, "he's got good shit. He's just getting hit around way too much. What's the deal?"
That's where Katz steps in. There are other pitchers available like Kul too - Vince Valazquez and Michael Piñeda are two other examples. They have electricity hidden in their arms and if said electricity is tapped into, these types of pitchers will be cheap and lead to wins.
Eno Sarris of The Athletic had a great article come out over winter that was his attempt to quantify a pitcher's pure "shit". Here's where Velazquez and Kuhl sit in terms of his measurement of "shit":
So the stuff is there for these two. They'll undoubtedly be on one year, cheapo deals. The White Sox need financial flexibility even though we all wish they wouldn't worry about money. These are the two guys they should zero in on to let Katz sink his meaty paws into.
Watch the video above. We get really nerdy into it. This can be your White Sox fix for the week and hopefully by Friday, we can talk about pitchers and catchers getting ready to report.