The White Sox have a huge ‘void’ in their rotation as free agency begins

The post Sox face huge ‘void’ in rotation as free agency begins appeared first on NBC Sports Chicago

Second place Dylan Cease penciled in Cy Young is off to a good start for the White Sox coming into 2023.

But rotations, like most things in football, are about how you finish.

“Obviously we need another starter,” pitching coach Ethan Katz said Thursday. “That is our basic need now from the field point of view.”

They may need two.

Johnny Cueto is a free agent – a late signing who helped the Sox and pitched more innings per start than anyone else in the rotation. It doesn’t look like he’ll return, although Katz said they’ve had conversations about bringing him back.

Cueto was second only to Cease among Sox starters in ERA (3.35) and third in innings despite not debuting until May.

“Cueto gave us a good chunk of innings and pitched well in them,” general manager Rick Hahn said at the GM Meetings last week. “So, that’s a nullity for now.

“It would be good to find a way to fill it.”

Do the Sox need to retire at a level similar to 2022 next season, even if they answer all the questions around those behind him.

Michael Kopech is expected to be ready for spring training after season-ending knee surgery. But he missed time in 2022, his first full season as a major league starter, with two stints on the IL for shoulder and knee issues.

Lucas Giolito didn’t excel in one of his worst seasons with the White Sox. Even if he bounces back, the Sox could turn around and need a starter a year from now. Giolito is set to become a free agent next winter.

“He’s always behind,” Katz told Giolito. “Last year was frustrating. He is very motivated, he is working hard right now as we speak. We have a very good idea of ​​where he needs to go from here and what his offseason should be.

“He’s excited, I’m excited and he’s going to work hard. That’s all we can ask for now, is to put in the work and let the appropriate time take its course.”

The White Sox need Lance Lynn healthy all year after he missed the first two months following knee surgery. He finished strong after a slow start, posting a 2.43 ERA in his last 12 starts (from August through the end of the season).

Davis Martin impressed as a starting spot as a rookie and is a rotation option, Hahn said. But it is also unproven.

And even if Garrett Crochet has some kind of hybrid role — “Realistically, I don’t think starting next year is in the cards,” Katz said of the lefty — he’ll be on an innings limit whenever he returns from Tommy. John surgery rehab.

Katz also said the Sox haven’t talked about Reynaldo López as a starting option because they value him as a “lock down” relief arm.

What’s out there for the Sox rotation? Stay tuned.

“We have a dialogue,” Katz said. “We’ll see how things play out. But we need another starter.”

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