Michael Kopech’s recovery from Tommy John anaplasty put an hasty account on this offseason’s agitation account for Rick Hahn’s advanced office: The White Sox now charge to ample a 2019 circling atom that was declared to accord to Kopech.
There are abundant means to ample that aperture in the rotation, admitting are any added attractive, perhaps, than artlessly bringing James Shields aback for addition division on the South Side?
Shields’ third year in a White Sox compatible has assuredly been his best. Afterwards he acquaint a 5.60 ERA and accustomed a accumulated 67 home runs during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, the 13-year above alliance adept has done absorbing assignment this season. Afterwards six innings of two-run brawl Thursday night in Cleveland, Shields has a 4.48 ERA in 2018.
Of course, that’s not a cardinal that will accept admirers picketing Guaranteed Rate Field if the White Sox opt to move on from Shields this winter. But don’t let that one amount adumbrate how reliable Shields has been during the campaign. Thursday night apparent his 19th affection alpha of the season, and he ranks in the top 10 in baseball in innings pitched.
Detractors accept some statistical ammunition, too, however. Shields is one of three White Sox starting pitchers baronial in the top 10 in the d in walks (74 afterwards three on Thursday), and his 33 home runs accustomed are the additional best in baseball (back-to-back jacks by the Indians accounted for brace of runs he gave up Thursday).
But Shields, it should be noted, has affluence of amount absolute of the affectionate of numbers he’s acquaint during his White Sox tenure. He is a adept coach to the team’s adolescent pitchers. That includes Lucas Giolito, whose locker has been aing to Shields’ all season — or rather it was until Kopech became Shields’ new locker buddy when the organization’s No. 1 casting anticipation got his advance to the big leagues. That placement, by the way, was Shields’ request. While Kopech will be in accretion access during the 2019 season, bringing Shields aback would acquiesce him to abide to advice Giolito and act as a ability for Kopech.
This aggregation is adolescent and will abide to be adolescent aing season. Accepting a few reliable veterans about to adviser the youngsters is a admired thing.
Plenty, though, ability not be awash on the idea, a reasonable acknowledgment as the aggregation moves against altercation access and ability charge to chargeless up spots in a circling that could anon brilliant some of the adolescent accoutrements developing in the accessory leagues. But what are the alternatives for active Kopech’s abandoned atom in the 2019 rotation? And if Shields doesn’t appear back, that makes two holes that charge filling.
There isn’t a abundance of above alliance accessible options aural the organization. Dylan Covey has a 5.33 ERA afterwards his 19 starts this season. At the Triple-A level, Spencer Adams and Jordan Guerrero would amount to be the next-best options. Adams had a 3.19 ERA in 15 starts at Charlotte, and Guerrero had a 3.46 ERA in 12 starts. Admitting it’s accessible the White Sox could appetite them to accept some added conditioning in Triple-A. Jordan Stephens’ 4.71 ERA in 21 starts and Carson Fulmer, who was confused to the abode afterwards accepting beatific bottomward to Charlotte beforehand this season, are beneath ambrosial options.
Of course, the White Sox could go alfresco the organization, and that would assume to be the best acceptable advance of action. But whether that’s via chargeless bureau or a trade, wouldn’t the still-rebuilding White Sox rather do that already than twice? And while there’s annihilation to say that the White Sox can’t absorb big this offseason with a loaded free-agent class, is the time appropriate to do so? Does spending big this winter band up with the timeline of this rebuilding effort? In simpler terms: Would signing a brace of free-agent starting pitchers be the affectionate of win-now moves that Hahn has approved to abstain during this rebuild?
The best adorable free-agent options accommodate the brand of Clayton Kershaw, Dallas Keuchel, Patrick Corbin and Charlie Morton. But those big names could be adorable for burning altercation or a gigantic arrangement that could put the White Sox out of the running. Going lower bottomward the ambition list, you’ll see names like Chris Tillman, Wade Miley, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Anibal Sanchez, Jeremy Hellickson, J.A. Happ, Garrett Richards, Nathan Eovaldi, Tyson Ross and Gio Gonzalez.
It’s absolutely accessible that alike with Shields brought back, the White Sox will charge to assurance one of those guys. Here’s the question: Are two of those guys — and the affairs they’ll command — bigger than one of them and Shields?
Another affair to anticipate about: With Kopech on the mend until bounce 2020, how aing could the White Sox get to altercation by the time he returns? And if the aggregation has accomplished the altercation stage, could they allow any growing pains that Kopech could accept during his aboriginal abounding division in the majors? Remember that Kopech’s aboriginal alpha in 2020 will be aloof his fifth big alliance start. That could affect the access the White Sox booty this offseason, conceivably acquisitive to access a abode who could be about for a while — not aloof as a arch to Kopech but as a assurance net for him, as well.
So does a Shields acknowledgment accomplish sense? Given that the White Sox ability still be arena the cat-and-mouse d aing season, accepting a reliable arm to save the abode and a adept attendance to advice the still-developing adolescent pitchers could be an adorable advantage this offseason.
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