Hey, look! Some of the money got spent!

Honestly, I cant tell you how surprised I was to open up my twitter app last night during the 49ers game and see the following come across my feed:

At first I had to double check it wasn’t some asshole’s parody account (though the Bruce Levine one is pretty damn funny), and when it began showing up on MLBTR along with other beat writers it seemed the Sox had actually signed him. So now what?

Dallas Keuchel is not the same pitcher he was four years ago when he won the Cy Young for the AL with the eventual World Series winning Houston Astros. He is, however, an expert sinkerballer and a guy who generates ground balls at an astounding rate. Keuchel’s career average for GB% hovers just a tick under 60% (59.2% to be exact), which is second only to Marcus Stroman in the league for the last five years.

This is a very good thing, as The Down Arrow is not exactly a pitcher friendly park. Having an innings-eater who gets hitters to pound the ball into the dirt is a very handy thing for the Sox to have. With both Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito living life at the top of the strike zone, someone like Keuchel will go a long way to preventing Luis Robert’s hamstrings from flaming into dust his rookie season. It’s also gonna mean a lot more work for Tim Anderson, so here’s hoping he’s been working on his AL-worst fielding percentage this winter.

In addition to all the ground balls, Keuchel has thrown more than 150 innings (not including last year’s shortened season due to not having a contract until June) in all but one of his seasons, so durability is not an issue for the guy. Having a quality pitch framer for him last season in Tyler Flowers (skypoint) helped him bring his K/9 back up above seven for the first time in four years, so Yasmani Grandal should be able to continue that trend.

To top that off, he has a career ERA+ average of 110, which for comparison we turn to this tweet from @MrDelicious13:


With the last two signings, Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez (at least statistically speaking) immediately become the 2nd and 3rd best pitchers on the Sox rotation. It also means the days of seeing Ross Detwiler and Dylan Covey serve up plates of meatballs to opposing hitters are dead and buried. For the first time in what feels like eons the Sox will have major league quality starters at the 1-5 spots in their rotation. Granted Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez are still unknown quantities at this point, but they’ve both shown flashes of dominance thus far in their careers and (at least in Cease’s case) are still valued members of The Future™.

This also creates a glut of potential starters for the Sox going forward, as the impending returns of Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodon from Tommy John surgery creates a scenario where the team has the flexibility to make some trades for a proven bat provided everyone stays (or comes back) healthy. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if Hahn uses this as a reason to start Kopech in the minors as a way of both building up his arm strength and recapturing a year of service time. I’m assuming the Sox opening day rotation looks something like this:

  1. Lucas Giolito
  2. Dallas Keuchel
  3. Dylan Cease
  4. Gio Gonzalez
  5. Reynaldo Lopez


Finally I can look at the 4th and 5th starter spots and not feel like someone just scrubbed my eyes with a urinal puck. What a great feeling, lets keep it up!

In other interesting news, Dallas Keuchel is repped by none other than Jerry Reinsdorf’s arch nemesis Scott Boras. This explodes the narrative that the Sox were never interested in doing business with Boras clients, or at the bare minimum presents a new path forward for the Sox front office in the way they pursue free agents in the off-season. It also inches the Sox payroll close to the $100 million mark, with Keuchel’s contract for three years, $55 million (for an AAV of about 18 mil per). It also has a vesting option for a 4th year if he hits innings pitched numbers in the 2nd and 3rd year of the contract. With Keuchel turning 32 before the season starts that puts him at 36 in the 4th year of the deal which might look a little iffy but fuck it, it’s not my money.

So the Sox still need another bat (unless you’re totally wowed by Cheslor Cuthbert, and if you are I’d like to congratulate you on surviving this long with head trauma) and most likely another bullpen arm (Hello Dellin Betances!), but even if none of those things come to pass we can finally say the Sox have had a successful off-season. It doesn’t quite wash away the disappointment of losing the MannyDerby last season, or make me forget that Odrisamer Despaigne and Yonder Alonso were things last year, but it goes a long way towards making me hopeful that this rebuild is not going to stretch on ad infinitum.

Good work, Hahn and co. Now don’t jerk around with Luis Robert’s service time, because I’ve seen enough of Adam Engel starting in CF to last a lifetime.


I told myself I wasn’t gonna fall for it again. I wasn’t going to get excited about anything that Rick Hahn has to say about offseason targets or the money they plan on spending or who might be in play for the Sox to sign as a free agent. Yet here we are, listening to him with reporters at a spa in Arizona talk about potential targets for the offseason and the needs of the White Sox in both the near and long term.

“Part of what we were trying to do and what we were trying to make clear was that the eye level has changed around here, meaning that we are a logical destination for premium talent,”

This isn’t really a surprise on the face of it, as Hahn isn’t going to say anything less than that because every agent in the MLB Universe is listening for anything that could give them an edge in negotiations. The fact that Hahn even mentions “premium talent” implies that they’ll be in on everybody this winter, as pretty much everybody in the top tier the Sox theoretically SHOULD be in on.

Which brings us to today’s target. Someone that I wasn’t going to bother with, but now much like Charlie Brown with Lucy and the football, I’m trying to convince myself that THIS TIME IT WILL BE DIFFERENT. I know deep in my heart it’s gonna get yanked away again, but hope springs eternal. So let’s charge headlong at that football and talk about Anthony Rendon.

Why Him?: Did you see him in the postseason this year? (judging by the ratings up until Game 7 the answer is probably no) The man was a machine, posting a 1.10 OPS during the entire run, with 3 HR and 10 extra base hits to go along with his 15 RBI. Postseason stats not good enough for you? Well he’s been one of the best hitters in the majors the past 3 seasons. Since 2016 he’s been an unstoppable hitting force, 4th best in the entire league.

In that time he’s slashed .294/.384/.528 with 103 dingers and 403 RBIs. The only player higher than him in RBI totals is Nolan Arenado and his home park has the same gravity as the International Space Station. Oh, Rendon has also been worth 24.2 WAR in that time span. The closest White Sox player in that category is newly resigned Jose Abreu with 9.4 WAR. On top of that Rendon is a plus defender at the hot corner, totaling +18 DRS in his career with the Nationals. UZR likes his defense even more, having him at a +32.1 for his entire career.

He also smokes right handed pitching, batting .289 against them in his career, and over .300 in the past few years including a .320 mark this past season with 24 home runs. There’s nothing this guy can’t do at the plate. He’s an instant upgrade for the White Sox batting order, and would most likely hit 3rd after Yoan Moncada and before Jose Abreu or Eloy. If you can’t get excited about that batting order, then you’re most likely suffering from a critical case of being dead.

Why Not Him?: Theoretically there should be nothing in this category. The guy is amazing and instantly makes the team better. In reality? He’s represented by Scott Boras, so there’s the history between him and Jerry Reinsdorf right off the bat. He’s also by far and away the best hitter on the market, so the Sox will have to contend with multiple suitors for his services and we’ve seen how that played out in the past.

He’ll also be entering into his age 30 season, and if you’re super worried about Jerry getting the most value for his investment (I’m not) regression would be a concern. Also he plays 3rd base, so defensively you either move Yoan back to 2B or you ask Rendon if he’s willing to move to 1B from time to time or DH. Or perhaps you try Moncada in RF which kills two birds with one stone, other than the fact that he’s never played in the OF so you’re resigning yourself to Luis Robert basically playing the entire field by himself.

These are all nitpicks, however. None of this should stop Hahn from making Boras an offer that Rendon can’t refuse as he instantly makes the Sox an offensive threat and puts the entire central division on notice that they’re coming for them.

How Much Is This Free Resort Weekend?: Now we come to the rub. Boras has talked openly about trying to get Rendon a deal in the range of what Nolan Arenado got from the Rockies when he signed his extension last season (7 years and $234 million). The comps between the two are similar, with Arenado being a year and a half younger than Rendon.

Rough guess here, but I would think Boras would have a goal set of 7 years and $250 million giving his contract an AAV of around $35 million. Would the Sox be willing to go $8 million more a year then what they offered up to Manny Machado in their failed pursuit last offseason? I think we all know the answer is no, when in reality it shouldn’t matter in the slightest. The team payroll sits at a meager $55 million right now after Abreu accepted his qualifying offer yesterday leaving plenty of space for what Hahn needs to add and extend on the Sox roster.

There should be no reason Rick Hahn and Jerry can’t take a realistic run at Rendon this offseason, and signing him would be a cause for great celebration among the White Sox faithful. It would also show the fanbase that they aren’t fucking around this time and the story of Jerry saying “finishing second pays just as much” is a total myth. Not to mention it certainly would solve a lot of the team’s offensive woes. It makes a lot of sense for the Sox, and would make a whole lot of dollars for Jerry to field the first winning roster in over 7 years. It’s gonna be different this time, right?

Hope springs eternal.