The White Sox seem to be the only team making moves so far. Based on the White Sox biggest offseason needs, they have already started filling the holes. The on-the-rise White Sox are coming off their first playoff appearance since 2008, going 35-25 and finishing tied for second in the AL Central before losing to Oakland in their wild-card series.
The White Sox addition of Lance Lynn via trade from the Rangers, which was officially announced on Tuesday, adds depth, talent and reliability to the team’s starting rotation. Lynn will be in the top three of a rotation that features right-hander Lucas Giolito and lefty Dallas Keuchel. They also reunited with Adam Eaton.
The move of right-hander Dane Dunning, formerly the White Sox No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline, and Minor League left-hander Avery Weems for only one guaranteed year of Lynn reinforces another point about the organization. After reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2008 following an extended rebuild, the White Sox are thinking World Series or bust as soon as the 2021 season.
Nine pitchers combined to walk nine in the season-ending loss, pointing to a need for a veteran presence such as Lynn in front of other young pitchers including Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech and Reynaldo López. So Chicago traded Dunning to Texas four years and one day after it acquired him from the Nationals with López and Lucas Giolito for right fielder Adam Eaton at the rebuild’s outset.
The Lynn trade made this precocious White Sox team even more exciting on paper, giving them three top-10 finishers in this year’s AL Cy Young Award vote, the reigning AL MVP (José Abreu), a super-prodigy who finished runner-up in AL Rookie of the Year voting (Luis Robert), another prodigious slugger to grow alongside him (Eloy Jiménez) and a top-five catcher (Yasmani Grandal). We haven’t even mentioned stars like Tim Anderson, Yoán Moncada and Michael Kopech.
Lynn, 33, has finished in the top six of AL Cy Young voting each of the past two years with the Rangers. In 13 starts last season, he was 6-3 with a 3.32 ERA (136 ERA+), 1.06 WHIP and 89 strikeouts in an MLB-best 84 innings. A true workhorse, Lynn was second in WAR among pitchers in 2019 and third in 2020.
It’s a return to the South Side for the right fielder Eaton, via a one-year, $7 million deal with an $8.5 million club option and $1 million buyout for 2022, after Eaton played with the White Sox from 2014-16 and was traded for the players making a splash in AL Central.
“It’s tough to describe. I think it’s kind of going full circle. A little different,” Eaton said. “You are traded for the main pieces that are now making the White Sox tick.
“To be able to come back after winning a World Series and hopefully bringing some success to Chicago, it’s going to be cool. It’s a unique position.”