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Inbox: Who are the best FA options for the Sox?

@scottmerkin
November 15, 2019

CHICAGO -- This week’s White Sox Inbox focuses on José Abreu, free-agent pitchers and Marcell Ozuna/Nicholas Castellanos among others. Since starting pitching is a must-find this offseason and they can’t get (Gerrit) Cole, who are the next best options available either via free agency or trade in your opinion? --Tom

CHICAGO -- This week’s White Sox Inbox focuses on José Abreu, free-agent pitchers and Marcell Ozuna/Nicholas Castellanos among others.

Since starting pitching is a must-find this offseason and they can’t get (Gerrit) Cole, who are the next best options available either via free agency or trade in your opinion?

--Tom Flynn, Chicago, @Flynnertwit

Nobody has said the White Sox can’t sign Gerrit Cole . It just doesn’t seem likely the White Sox will commit those sorts of resources to one player, albeit one who could be a rebuild-changer much like Jon Lester was for the Cubs. As I’ve stated numerous times before, there also has to be mutual interest between the two sides.

As for free-agent hurlers, Zack Wheeler is a name getting quite a bit of attention as well as Madison Bumgarner. Don’t forget Cole Hamels, who seemed to fit well in Chicago during his time on the North Side. In talking relievers, I would personally target Daniel Hudson if I were the White Sox.

Given the multitude of needs for the White Sox and the fast moving offseason markets, how would you prioritize targets? How do Sox avoid missing out on plans B, C, D if unsuccessful in chasing after plan A?

--Jano, Orland Park, IL, @achitownfan

I wrote recently about the White Sox absolutely needing to convert on their No. 1 target this offseason, regardless of whether it’s a starting pitcher, a catcher, a right fielder or a designated hitter. Do whatever you need to do to sign or acquire that individual and I think the rest will sort of fall into place.

But your point is a good one, in that this pursuit of No. 1 can’t drag on so long where the team misses on other players from its list. I do feel as if this market is different from the Manny Machado/Bryce Harper focus of last year. As for priority, the White Sox need a starting pitcher or two and to add some offensive power to balance their lineup.

What's the likelihood of Ozuna or Castellanos to fill the lingering RF hole?

--Jim, Sugar Land, Tx., @Destefano390DE

Both have been linked to the team through various reports, and Castellanos would be a very strong fit for the White Sox. His right field defense isn’t rated as high as his offense, metrics-wise, but this is a player who knows the division and knows Guaranteed Rate Field from his time with the Tigers. I like the edge he brings, which he showed during his time with the Cubs in ’19.

Do you think the White Sox should change their uniforms and wear khaki pants from Walmart instead of traditional baseball pants?

--Jim H., Ann Arbor, MI, @ZimmermanSXM

I’m not sure about the khakis -- probably difficult to making leaping or diving catches wearing those. But incorporating Maize and Blue into the uniforms wouldn’t be a bad move. General manager Rick Hahn is a fellow Wolverine, so there’s hope.

With JA's signing, I just noticed one year. Is José essentially a year-to-year guy at this stage in his career? Was a multi-year extension ever a consideration?

--Jeff, Indianapolis, Ind., #GoBlue, @IndyJeffrey

Although Abreu accepted the $17.8 million qualifying offer from the White Sox, talks will continue for a multi-year deal. In fact, I tweeted yesterday it would be a surprise if Abreu finishes his Major League career playing for anyone else but the White Sox. A three-year deal would give Abreu close to a decade with the White Sox, but more importantly, give him a chance to play meaningful baseball eluding him for much of his first six seasons.

This is certainly far from being just a feel-good story. Abreu has immense value in the clubhouse and is still very productive at the plate. With Andrew Vaughn on the move in the Minors, it would mean more of a DH role in the last two years of a potential multi-year deal, but I know Abreu just wants to win at any spot.

Who do you think has the best chance on the White Sox to win Cy Young and MVP?

--Andrew, @supersoxfan79

Lucas Giolito was certainly worthy of Cy Young consideration for much of this past season and believes he’s only starting to tap into what he can achieve. Don’t forget Michael Kopech, who will be returning healthy in ’20 from Tommy John surgery recovery and certainly has the ability. As for MVP, Yoán Moncada and Eloy Jiménez fit nicely in that category, but Luis Robert might be the most talented of the group. Even the best players don’t always win one of these top honors.

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