With the December Winter meetings almost on tap (December 7-11), let's see what our division rivals might have up their sleeves while in San Diego...
The White last made the playoffs in 2008, losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in the Division Series. But they haven't cracked 90 wins since 2006 even though they have a pair of second place finishes, the last in 2012.
Their offseason already had a free agent signing prior to the winter meetings, but I doubt they are done with moves as they finished a distant fourth at 73-89 last year.
As the 2014 season slowly faded away, general manager Rick Hahn wasted no time in dealing away some of the bloated contracts. Gordon Beckham was dealt to the Angels for cash; Alejandro to the Orioles for a pair of minor leaguers; and Adam Dunn to the A's for another minor leaguer.
Tyler Flowers was serviceable at catcher and is in his first year of arbitration and probably will be around the $2M mark with free agency in 2018. Jose Abreu was the best free agent pick up last offseason, will make just $8.67M in 2015 and will torture the Indian staff through 2019. With Beckham's departure, prospect Carlos Sanchez will get first crack to replace him. Alexei Ramirez makes $9.5M next year and is a free agent in 2017. Conor Gillespie is in his final pre-arbitration season and is under control until 2019.
Like Gillespie, Adam Eaton is in his final year of pre-arbitration and has the same free agent year. With De Aza gone, Dayan Viciedo should move to left and probably will pull $4.5M in his second year of arbitration, but won't be a free agent until 2018. Avisail Garcia is slated in right and is in his second pre-arbitration year. With Dunn and Paul Konerko both retired, that left the DH spot open. The Sox signed Adam LaRoche to a two year deal to be that guy last week.
Outfielder Moises Sierra was claimed by the Royals in late October so the Sox grabbed J.B. Shuck, to be the fourth outfielder, at least for now, or it could be Jordan Danks. Marcus Semien and Leury Garcia are the known infielders while the backup catcher will either be Adrian Nieto or Josh Phegley. None of them, or their competition, will hit arbitration for two more seasons.
Chris Sale likely would have given Kluber and King Felix a tighter run for the Cy Young had he not missed those 6-7 starts last year. He is a bona fide ace and would have originally been a free agent in 2017. The White Sox extended him in 2013 and have two very team friendly options in 2018 and 2019. He'll make just $6M next year. Jose Quintana was extended last spring, will make $3.4M next year and the White Sox have him through 2020 on two more team friendly options. John Danks is woefully overpaid, but is still signed through 2016.
Hector Noesi is the likely 4 and is in his first year of arbitration. The last spot might currently be held by Chris Bassitt, but that's likely to change. Other options include Andre Rienzo and Erik Johnson. Scott Carroll, Felipe Paulino and Charles Leesman were all cut loose this winter.
Former closer Matt Lindstrom was granted free agency, as was Ronald Belisario. Jake Petricka did well as the closer after replacing Lindstrom. Zach Duke was signed through 2017 a few weeks back. The rest of the pen will include some of the following: Daniel Webb, Zach Putnam, Javy Guerra, Maikel Cleto, Scott Snodgress, Nate Jones, and the recently claimed Onelki Garcia from the Dodgers. The only one of those eligible for arbitration is Jones, so the pen will have very little salary next year unless additional signings occur.
For a supposed large market team, the White Sox don't really spend like one. They did spend $120M in 2013 but dropped down to $90M last year. Even with the signing of Laroche, they are only projected to finish at $82M in 2015.
The weakest link in the lineup is Viciedo, but he is still just 26. The rotation probably needs one more upgrade and I bet they'd love to find a taker for Danks, but that isn't likely to happen. The pen is extremely young so a few veterans might be signed to provide depth. But it doesn't appear the White Sox will make any more huge splashes.