White Sox, Cubs Lay Groundwork At GM Meetings

The White Sox want a veteran starter, while the Cubs are eyeing bullpen help.

Bruce Levine
November 08, 2018 - 3:30 pm
Left: White Sox general manager Rick Hahn; Right: Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein

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CARLSBAD, Calif. (670 The Score) -- The GM Meetings closed Thursday with the White Sox and Cubs having begun in earnest to lay the groundwork for the offseason moves that they'll need to make.

"We are looking to add quality players and pitchers to our team," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "It is difficult to say what finishing pieces are to the team because we are not there yet. At some point in the not-too-distant future, we will be able to say we need a premium third baseman, so we will go in that direction. But until we are on that doorstep, it is just projection."

The White Sox are also hoping to sign a veteran starting pitcher with playoff experience and leadership skills. They had right-hander James Shields in that role the past three seasons, but he struggled for long stretches.

Left-hander J.A. Happ has been mentioned as the type of veteran whom the White Sox would like to tie up for a few seasons. Happ, 36, was an All-Star in 2018, going 17-6 with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 31 starts split between the Blue Jays and Yankees.

The White Sox also need bullpen help. The money they've saved by being cautious in recent offseasons could be used to pursue superstar free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado but will more likely be dispersed elsewhere.

"Ideally, we would like to be the first team to win a championship with 25 homegrown guys," Hahn said. "That is probably not going to happen the way player development works. Ideally, it works out in a way we only have modest holes and be able to go out and use free agency and trades to fill those modest needs"

Unlike the White Sox, the Cubs are in the middle of their championship window. Their goal is to add pieces that help their championship push immediately. 

Last offseason, the Cubs added right-hander Yu Darvish, right-hander Tyler Chatwood, closer Brandon Morrow and setup man Steve Cishek. That haul didn't put them over the top, as Darvish and Morrow were sidelined with serious injuries and Chatwood had a total meltdown with his loss of command. Cishek was the only individual of the four who made good all season and what represented a $198-million spending spree for the Cubs.

The Cubs need bullpen as well and are eyeing a reliever who has the flexibility to fill numerous roles. Historically, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has avoided entering the bidding for elite closers, and he has suggested that will again be the approach. The Cubs are more likely to kick the tires on the likes of Andrew Miller, Zach Britton and Adam Ottavino.

The Mariners are a team to keep an eye on moving forward as it pertains to the trade market. They've informed opposing teams that many players are available, such as second baseman/outfielder Dee Gordon. He brings a speed element with 30 stolen bases in 2018, though his on-base percentage was poor at a .288 clip.

The Cubs also want to add a veteran catcher, and free agents Wilson Ramos and Kurt Suzuki could be on their map. Both are good defensive players.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.