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Sox have more on to-do list despite busy offseaon

December 20, 2018

CHICAGO -- It has been a productive offseason for the White Sox, with the team trading for a closer in Alex Colome, a starting pitcher in Ivan Nova and a left-handed bat in Yonder Alonso. The White Sox also have added catcher James McCann through free agency.• White Sox 2019

CHICAGO -- It has been a productive offseason for the White Sox, with the team trading for a closer in Alex Colome, a starting pitcher in Ivan Nova and a left-handed bat in Yonder Alonso. The White Sox also have added catcher James McCann through free agency.
White Sox 2019 tickets
But there are still things left to be done for White Sox general manger Rick Hahn, executive vice president Ken Williams and the team's front office as Spring Training approaches. Here's a look at those items.
1. Premium pursuit
At some point, outfielder Bryce Harper and infielder Manny Machado will decide on their free-agent destination. The White Sox have been heavily involved with both premium talents, hosting Machado in Chicago the Monday after the Winter Meetings concluded in Las Vegas. The remainder of the franchise's offseason, in some significant ways, waits on whether Harper and/or Machado pick the White Sox. It's most likely an "or" scenario, but the White Sox have the payroll flexibility to sign both.

2. Gaining greater late-inning leverage
The trade that sent catcher Omar Narvaez to Seattle brought back Colome as an important high-leverage piece of the White Sox bullpen. But it was a bullpen in need of an overhaul, and Hahn pointed out Colome would not be the last arm added. Look for at least one more veteran reliever to join.

3. Where does Moncada play?
There has been plenty of talk about Yoan Moncada moving from second to third base, and Moncada told MLB.com he was ready and willing to make the move. Hahn said this decision would come closer to Spring Training and would seem unlikely to happen if the White Sox agreed to terms with Machado.

4. Deepen the starters
Reynaldo Lopez, Carlos Rodon, Nova and Lucas Giolito already are in place as part of the White Sox rotation, with Dylan Cease, the 2018 Minor League Pitcher of the Year per MLB Pipeline, moving fast toward the big leagues. Picking up Nova from the Pirates doesn't preclude the White Sox from bringing in another starter, but they also could fill the fifth slot through a combination of Dylan Covey, Manny Banuelos, Jordan Stephens and a non-roster invite or two in competition.

5. More free agents
If neither Harper nor Machado chooses the White Sox, will the team go back into the free-agent market, explore another trade or work with what they have in-house as their prospects develop? Hahn has consistently stressed two points during the past couple of years: No prospect will be rushed to the Majors before everything on that player's checklist has been crossed off, and they won't make moves just to make moves and disrupt the core plan of working toward multiple-championship contention.
But there will be questions. If Machado chooses the White Sox but Harper goes elsewhere, the White Sox still might want to add to their outfield mix as an example.
White Sox 2019 schedule
6. The Abreu/Alonso/Palka mix
Jose Abreu and Alonso have played primarily at first base over the past few years, but White Sox manager Rick Renteria will have to figure out the parameters of a first base/designated hitter split for the two. Let's not forget Daniel Palka, who hit 27 home runs as a rookie, but if Harper chooses the White Sox, Palka could become a man without a set position once Eloy Jimenez arrives.

7. Prepare for Eloy
OK, this one can wait until the end of Spring Training, if not a little later. But the team's top prospect will be in Chicago at some point in April.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.