1. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox appear committed to using free agency to accelerate their rebuilding process this winter. It’s a similar approach to the Phillies, but the White Sox have a better core of homegrown talent to supplement with big-ticket free agents. Chicago’s 72-89 record last season might look ugly, but there is a lot to be excited about on the South Side, and the youngsters could be ready to contend as soon as next season.
Chicago has already signed All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year deal, but he will not be their final signing this offseason. The White Sox are considered to be the current high bidder for Zack Wheeler. Given his lengthy injury history, the right-hander may be quick to jump on the first big offer he receives.
Lucas Giolito is the ace for the White Sox to build around, but they will need much more support for him to take the next step into contention. Wheeler is a solid number-two starter on an up-and-coming team. Top prospect Michael Kopech will be back from Tommy John next season and has an arsenal that compares to Noah Syndergaard’s. Giolito, Wheeler, Kopech, Carlos Rodon and Dylan Cease could all blossom together into a championship-caliber rotation.
A team looking to make the leap like the White Sox sometimes has to take on some risk and pay extra to attract high-end free agents. Wheeler’s medical file is littered with red flags, but the White Sox may have to shell out over $100 million to land him. Chicago looks serious about landing all of their top targets this winter, so if they want Wheeler, expect him to end up on the South Side.