As constructed, the White Sox are built to contend for the World Series.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for them to bolster their chances.
“We obviously are aware there’s ways to improve this roster as it currently sits, even as good as we feel about it right now,” Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Friday.
“It’s nice that there is that fluidity in the market going on right now to perhaps provide us with the chance to get better.”
That fluidity relates to baseball’s lockout ending Thursday. The labor dispute interrupted Hot Stove season in December, bringing a transaction freeze that was lifted Thursday.
Although spring training camps are opening this weekend, there are still over 100 free agents left on the board. The calendar reads March, and the White Sox are welcoming players to spring training, but it also feels like December.
Hahn compared the current period to the winter meetings with all the conversations teams are having with one another and agents. He said that dialogue went deep into Thursday night and picked up Friday morning.
“There is that excitement that you get in December, combined with the excitement you get in February when you’re reporting to camp,” Hahn said. “It’s unique, interesting and an exciting time.”
Emphasis on unique. Opening Day is less than a month away.
The Sox made several moves pre-lockout, re-signing utility man Leury García and landing top free agent setup man Kendall Graveman on a multi-year deal.
But as good as their 2022 outlook is now — especially considering they won the AL Central last season despite Eloy Jiménez, Luis Robert and other key contributors missing significant time, some have speculated one or two moves could put the Sox over the top.
“We're prepared to go forward with the roster we have right now,” Hahn said. “However, we are fully aware that there's places where we can get ourselves better — pitching staff and position player wise.”
That includes second base and right field. And between Michael Kopech having an innings limit as he jumps into the rotation, not to mention the strange circumstances of this spring training and ramp-up to the season, adding another starter couldn't hurt. Hahn stressed pitching depth will be key in 2022.
The lockout ending didn’t bring the flurry of signings across baseball many anticipated, but the free agent market likely will be active throughout spring training.
"If there's a way to improve the club, we're going to exhaust those opportunities here over the next few weeks," Hahn said.
And that effort will continue over the coming months as they pursue a third straight postseason berth and championship.
“We know we have a team that's very capable of winning a championship as it is, but that's not going to stop us from continuing to explore every different avenue to improve the club,” Hahn said.
“Finding a way to get better is not going to stop tonight, it's not going to stop in a week once we start getting into games and it's certainly not going to stop come Opening Day.”