What the White Sox accomplished at the Winter Meetings
What the White Sox accomplished at the Winter Meetings
The White Sox went into the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas with needs in pretty much every category of the roster, but plenty of money to spend.
The White Sox went into the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas with needs in pretty much every category of the roster, but plenty of money to spend. And although they didn't make any blockbuster moves, they were plenty active. The Sox went after the big fish, attempted to set expectations, and even made a trade. First, the [White Sox](https://www.betchicago.com/white-sox-world-series-odds-2019-free-agency) made their pitch for both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper in Vegas. The team has very little committed to the payroll next season, setting them up in a position to possibly land at least one of those two players. And as much sense as it would make, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY tweeted on Wednesday that the Sox don't view themselves as front-runners for either player. That jives with an earlier report from The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, who said that team owner Jerry Reinsdorf has doubts about being able to win a bidding war. Again, with such little money committed to the roster, the White Sox can [afford](https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/whitesox/ct-spt-bryce-harper-winter-meetings-20181213-story.html) to give either player a record-setting deal and still come in close to $100 million in team payroll. Reinsdorf's comments are designed to send a message to other teams, and the message is that he doesn't intend to break the bank on a free agent. So far this winter, there has been no such indication that a massive bidding war is coming on either Machado or Harper. The teams expected to be involved have been coy. The Phillies signed Andrew McCutchen this week and rumors were that they were out on Harper. The Yankees are supposedly interested in Machado but not Harper, while the Cubs have been more concerned with shedding financial commitments than adding them. The market for both players, as far as we know, is unusually small. __More:__ [BetChicago MLB coverage](https://www.betchicago.com/mlb-betting) Manager Rick Renteria didn't do much to help keep fan expectations of a big free agent signing low. He raved about what a huge gain it would be for his team, coming off a 100-loss season, to add a guy like Harper or Machado. "I think it makes your team better in and of itself. The caliber of players that everybody is talking about and hopefully trying to acquire, it changes the dynamic of your club," Renteria said. "You're not going to win with one guy, but it's a big piece that helps now build a bridge with the rest of the men that are on that club. And you ultimately start off to do it as a team. But getting a guy that has the talent that some of these guys have that are out there right now, it would certainly enhance our club." There is the one tangible move that the White Sox completed at the Winter Meetings. On Tuesday, they traded minor league pitcher Yordi Rosario to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for starting pitcher Ivan Nova. He's not a star, but Nova can certainly help stabilize their shaky and youthful rotation. The 31-year-old had some injury problems during his time with the New York Yankees, but has remained healthy, effective, and extremely consistent the last three seasons. In 510 innings since the start of the 2016 season, Nova has a 4.16 ERA, a 4.38 FIP, and just 1.7 BB/9 allowed. Of course, he has also given up 78 home runs during that period, which is the 15th-most in the major leagues. The good news is that they're often solo-shots, thanks to his low walk rate. Expect that the ball will be in play a lot when Nova is on the mound, and on good weather days at Guaranteed Rate Field he'll probably give up the occasional homer. __Play and win:__ [Free contest for Bears playoff tickets](https://betchicago.chalkline.com/games/nfl-chicago-contest) The Sox front office will leave Las Vegas feeling better about their rotation than when they arrived, but in reality they could probably use another arm. Reynaldo Lopez and Carlos Rodon are the only returning starters that should be guaranteed a spot heading into spring training, with Dylan Covey, Lucas Giolito, and Carson Fulmer all needing to prove themselves worthy of a spot. It's not so much about putting themselves in position to win, which Chicago isn't expected to do much in 2019, as much as it is about being prepared and not putting too much stress on their younger pitchers. The Sox didn't make any changes in the bullpen in Vegas, but it's another area of the roster that needs to be addressed in the coming months. Joakim Soria was outstanding for Chicago in the first few months of the season, but he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the trade deadline. The bullpen was particularly brutal in the second half, posting a 7.62 ERA in July before calming down a bit in August and September. The White Sox did acquire Alex Colomé from the Seattle Mariners at the end of November, and that's a big addition. They're also returning a few promising young [bullpen arms](https://www.forbes.com/sites/ryandavis/2018/12/11/a-few-relief-pitchers-out-performed-their-stats-in-2018/#66aeb07f4476), such as Jace Fry and Ian Hamilton, but they would benefit from the addition of another reliable veteran. Bringing back Soria is one option, and beyond that they could look at Adam Ottavino, Justin Wilson, Kelvin Herrera, or David Robertson.2018-12-13T16:46:01.776Z2018-12-13T09:30-07:00