No fan was more crushed than I was when I heard about Michael Kopech’s UCL tear. I had planned on taking it easy that Friday evening, but instead I drank until my sorrows went away. I thought it was a nightmare, but when I woke up feeling like shit on Saturday morning and scrolled through my Twitter feed, I saw that it was in fact reality.
The White Sox in 2019 may have been a surprise with Kopech and Rodon at the top of the rotation and Eloy coming up no later than April, but that all seems like a pipe dream now. They can’t rely on Rodon to carry the weight of the rotation by himself next year. Giolito and Lopez have both been too inconsistent this year to make me feel legitimately comfortable about them as your no. 2 and 3 starters. Instead, the White Sox will have to buy another top-of-the-rotation starter. They certainly have the money for it, as they currently have the lowest payroll in the entire MLB. When it comes to starters this upcoming free agency period, 2 names are at the top of the list: Patrick Corbin of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Dallas Keuchel of the reigning World Series Champion Houston Astros.
Corbin is currently having a career year pitching for a team still fighting for their playoff lives. In 29 games this year, the lefty is 11-5 with a 3.01 ERA and a 4.7 WAR. A 2-time All-Star (’13 and ’18), Corbin has done everything he can do this year to cash in big in a contract year. He should get a pretty nice paycheck with whoever he signs with, but one thing to note are his inconsistencies. Here’s a look at his ERA and WAR each season:
’12- 4.54 ERA, 0.5 WAR
’13- 3.41 ERA, 3.0 WAR
’15- 3.60 ERA, 1.4 WAR
’16- 5.15 ERA, -0.8 WAR
’17- 4.03 ERA, 2.8 WAR
’18- 3.01 ERA, 4.7 WAR
Definitely some up and down years. Plus his numbers are sure to inflate should he go to the A.L. and face a DH as opposed to a pitcher. The White Sox do need another lefty in a righty-heavy rotation though, so he could be an option at the right price. But remember, the 29-year-old will be looking to cash in big after a career year.
Not only is Keuchel more well known than Corbin, he is much more accomplished. In his career, Keuchel has won 3 Gold Gloves, been to 2 All-Star Games, has a Cy Young Award (’15), and a World Series Champion ring. People may want to drop everything for Keuchel but there are a few things to consider. First, he is already 30 years old, so it is probably safe to say that his best years are behind him. Secondly, he has only hit 200 innings or more twice in six full years in the MLB. He has been much more consistent than Corbin though, posting a 3.59 ERA or better in 4 of his last 5 seasons. If I had to pick one of these two guys, I’m going with Keuchel, and here’s why:
Dallas Keuchel is familiar with the American League hitters and parks. He wouldn’t have to worry about pitching to a DH because he’s already done it for his entire career. He also brings consistency, something that has severely lacked in the White Sox rotation outside of Carlos Rodon. Finally, he has postseason experience. Sure he’ll be 31 by the time next season rolls around, but guess who was also 31 when he signed and helped bring a World Series to that team? Jon Lester. And he’s still (for the most part) still going strong today.
There is one glaring factor if the White Sox want to sign Keuchel: he is represented by Scott Boras- an agent notorious for getting every last penny for his clients. Any team that is serious about signing Keuchel will more than likely have to break the bank for his services.
If the White Sox were to sign Dallas Keuchel and he panned out, it could keep the White Sox interesting next year, and make an electric rotation in 2020 when Kopech is back and Dylan Cease gets his first full year on the South Side. If I’m Chicago, I would seriously consider going after at least one of these guys, but at the end of the day, give me Dallas Keuchel.