They play in a premier U.S. market. They won the World Series in the first decade of the current century. They are fewer than 10 years removed from carrying one of the five largest payrolls in Major League Baseball. Now they are emerging from a rebuild, with plans to make
They play in a premier U.S. market. They won the World Series in the first decade of the current century. They are fewer than 10 years removed from carrying one of the five largest payrolls in Major League Baseball. Now they are emerging from a rebuild, with plans to make major on-field investments over the next several years.
And with bargains possibly available this month, they could act sooner than expected.
All of the above describes the Phillies, who have considered the possibility of adding two free-agent starting pitchers from the group of Jacob Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, sources told MLB.com.
The foregoing is true of the White Sox, as well.
Much like the Phillies, the White Sox won't be picked by many experts to finish higher than third in their division this year. But a significant signing -- or two -- in the coming weeks could change the perception and reality for both teams.
While the White Sox could sign a starting pitcher, they appear more inclined to add a position player. One source said the White Sox have had dialogue in recent months with agent Scott Boras concerning two of his free agents, third baseman Mike Moustakas and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today was first to report that the White Sox are "staying in touch" with Moustakas.
Moustakas, 29, is a more natural fit for the White Sox roster than Gonzalez, 32, because the team's needs at third base -- in the near term and long term -- are more pronounced than the outfield.
The top third-base candidates already in camp, Yolmer Sanchez and Matt Davidson, were below league-average hitters in 2017, as determined by OPS+. Neither is signed to a long-term contract. The organization's top prospect at the position, Jake Burger, has yet to play above Class A and is expected to miss the entire 2018 season with a ruptured left Achilles tendon.
Meanwhile, the acquisition of Gonzalez could require some reshuffling of the White Sox outfield. Gonzalez has not appeared in the Majors at a position other than right field since 2014, and that spot belongs to Avisail Garcia, who is coming off his first career All-Star selection. Garcia, 26, isn't on track to enter free agency until after the 2019 season. In Chicago, Gonzalez likely would be viewed as a left fielder and designated hitter, alternating with 2017 second-half sensation Nicky Delmonico.
More notes around the Majors, now that the offseason activity has extended into March
• The Nationals have only two catchers on their 40-man roster -- Matt Wieters and Pedro Severino -- and one source said Saturday that they still would like to add another Major Leaguer at the position. While their efforts to acquire J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins have been unsuccessful -- so far -- free agent Jonathan Lucroy surprisingly remains an option.
At this time last year, Lucroy was preparing to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, where he ultimately appeared in four games en route to a gold medal. But he struggled offensively for much of 2017, finishing with his worst OPS+ since his rookie season in 2010.
Severino has one Minor League option remaining, so the Nationals do not need to worry about losing him on waivers if they sign Lucroy. While Severino managed only a .433 OPS in 31 Major League plate appearances last year, Nationals officials see value in his strong throwing arm and would like to keep him in the organization.
• With Logan Morrison, Lucas Duda, Mike Napoli, and Adam Lind all signing within the past week, Mark Reynolds is the lone significant name remaining on what had been a crowded first-base market. Reynolds has stayed in contact with his most recent team, the Rockies, one source said Saturday.
Reynolds, 34, is coming off a season in which he posted his best totals in games played (148) and home runs (30) since 2011 -- and best OPS (.839) since 2009.
Jon Paul Morosi is a columnist for MLB.com.