With free agency drawing closer the White Sox need to get a plan together. A left-handed bat is a huge area of need, but there aren’t many options this offseason.
The Chicago White Sox need to sign a left-handed power hitter this offseason. However, there won’t be many options in free agency. Most of the notable power hitters hit from the right side of the plate. That doesn’t mean there aren’t options but there are no standout hitters, none that you will think signing would positively change the organization.
Carlos Beltran may be the closest thing to a standout lefty this class has to offer. While he is still a formidable hitter, he is older and may not have much of a career left. It’s possible the Sox wouldn’t want to bring in a guy for just a year. They may rather build their outfield and spend money on someone who can produce long-term. Still, Beltran is a viable option. At 39 years old, he still hit .295 with 29 home runs and 93 RBIs. Put him in a hitter friendly park and he could still do some major damage. Beltran has showed he can still play even when he’s pushing 40. He’s had a lot of good seasons, but that means he’ll be looking for a lot of money. And I can’t see the Sox putting a ton of money into a guy that’ll be 40.
Colby Rasmus will be another intriguing option. In his first season with the Houston Astros, he hit a career-high 25 home runs and drove in 63 RBIs while hitting .238. This season, he took a step back and hit .206 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs. Still, Rasmus has extremely good value on defense. He is one of three finalists for the gold glove among American League left fielders. He set a career high for outfield assists and played in only 107 games. The biggest concern with him will be how he holds up throughout the season. He had two procedures done this offseason and has had injury problems in the past. However, his agent still said he would be ready to go by the spring. Because of this, he may be a cheap option for the Sox.
Possibly the most intriguing option will be Michael Saunders of the Toronto Blue Jays. Saunders played in left field, which could bode well for the Sox. I think they would prefer to sign a left fielder or center fielder and leave Adam Eaton in right. Saunders will turn 30 on Nov. 19, so he’s the same age as Rasmus. And he appeared in a career high 140 games and set career marks in home runs (24) and tied his career high in RBIs (57). He also hit for a better average than Rasmus (.258).
The only negative about Saunders is there’s no track record of success. In 2014 and 2015, he only appeared in 87 games. Because of that, we can’t be sure he’ll put up the type of numbers he did this season. But Guaranteed Rate Field, is extremely hitter friendly. Something Saunders could take advantage of. It may still be a stretch offering him a long-term contract, especially if he’s asking for a lot of money.
It’s clear the Sox will have some options this offseason, but there is just no clear cut guy who you could say is the best option. I think any one of these guys could fit in well with the team, but they can’t afford to bring in someone that won’t produce.
At this time, offense is a struggle and this team also needs to hit more home runs. If they can do that and play how we know they can, we should see them in the playoffs in no time. And if they don’t, well then this team will just continue to be mired in mediocrity.