- The Chicago White Sox haven’t had a winning season since 2012
- Extension for Jose Abreu and signing of Yasmani Grandal have seen their World Series odds fall
- The White Sox are expected to spend heavily this off-season
The Chicago White Sox have been one of the most active teams in MLB free agency so far. Their 2020 World Series odds have moved from an average of +6000 to +4700 over the last fortnight or so.
Sportsbooks currently price White Sox as short as +2500 to win a fourth World Series in franchise history.
Chicago haven’t had a winning season since the 2012 campaign, and have been through a lengthy rebuild. One of the best farm systems in baseball is starting to deliver in the Majors, however, and there are plenty more prospects on their way through including Luis Robert, the number three prospect in all of baseball per MLB Pipeline.
2020 World Series Odds
|New York Yankees||+500|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+700|
|Boston Red Sox||+1400|
|New York Mets||+1600|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+1600|
|Chicago White Sox||+2500|
|Los Angeles Angels||+2500|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+2500|
|San Francisco Giants||+3300|
|San Diego Padres||+4000|
|Kansas City Royals||+5000|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+10000|
Odds taken Dec. 6.
The White Sox have already made notable moves this winter. All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal arrived on a four-year, $73 million deal, the biggest in franchise history. Franchise first baseman Jose Abreu accepted a qualifying offer than extended his deal with a three-year, $50 million pact.
#WhiteSox’s offer to Wheeler was for MORE than the $118M he will receive from the #Phillies, sources tell The Athletic. As @MarcCarig said, Wheeler’s wife is from New Jersey, and that proximity was an important consideration in his decision.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 4, 2019
Chicago have been players in the starting pitcher market, too. Zack Wheeler ultimately signed with the Philadelphia Phillies on a five-year, $118 million deal, but – as reported by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal – the White Sox actually outbid the Phils. Wheeler preferred to stay on the east coast, meaning Chicago are still looking for a big-name starter.
Andy Martino reported that the White Sox – along with the rivals the Minnesota Twins – are among heaviest suitors’ for Madison Bumgarner.
Work to Be Done
With Wheeler, Michael Pineda and Cole Hamels gone, Chicago are facing plenty of competition to add to their rotation. The Twins, Yankees and Angels are just three of the teams in the market for a free agent arm.
A willingness to spend has contributed to their odds moving, but it remains to be seen if they can land a difference making starter after their rotation ranked 25th in Baseball Reference’s Wins Above Average in 2019.
If they are to construct a contender for 2020, the White Sox are not just reliant on making sensible additions this winter. They also need Lucas Giolito to pick up where he left off in 2019 and getting a fully healthy Michael Kopech back would be a huge bonus after he missed last season with Tommy John surgery.
The bullpen was solid in 2019, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Rick Hahn make a move for an experienced reliever, too. Daniel Hudson or Will Harris are two of the best free agents available with Will Smith, Chris Martin, Jake Diekman and Drew Pomeranz already having signed elsewhere.
No Value Just Yet
Being in the American League Central – with the Royals and Tigers not expected to be competitive in 2020 – gives the White Sox an advantage. The Indians could be about to embark on a retool with rumors of trades for Francisco Lindor and Corey Kluber appearing as well.
Minnesota, despite winning 101 games last season, should be strong again.
There’s no value backing Chicago at +2500 to win the World Series. The average odds of +4700 are slightly more tempting, though that still relies on multiple major moves over the next few weeks.
In the wake of Wheeler signing with Phillies and Hamels signing with Braves, Bumgarner market is clarifying. Per sources, White Sox and Twins among heaviest suitors there. Yankees involved to some degree.
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) December 4, 2019
Even with Nick Madrigal and Robert on the way, they could use another bat. There’s uncertainty in the rotation. Fangraphs currently projects Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer, Dylan Cease and Dylan Covey to follow Giolito. Kopech impressed in Arizona, but he’s far from a guarantee coming off surgery and having appeared in four Major League games.
Adding a couple of veteran starters before opening day should be a priority for Hahn. Tying up Abreu and landing arguably the best catcher in the game has been a great start to their off-season, but it’s not enough to make them World Series contenders in 2020 just yet.