Sexy Bullpen, But At What Cost?

Yesterday, our good friend White Sox Dave wrote about the news of Michael Kopech and Garrett Crochet starting the season in the bullpen: His excitement for the move is understood since having a laundry list of guys throwing the ball as hard as Steve Nebraska is enticing. However, if you look at what is behind the starting rotation now, the thrill is gone.

We have to assume the rotation will include Carlos Rodon, because he is on a major league contract as far as I know. So there is not a “send him down to start the year” scenario. If Rodon doesn’t perform well or gets injured, the depth is even worse. Behind him, the White Sox now have Reynaldo Lopez and Jonathan Stiever. That’s pretty much it before you start really reaching for guys. That would likely mean that both of them see a number of starts this year. And if there are any real injuries or if Cease or Rodon are not cutting it as MLB pitchers, what are you left with? I think some would say, and Dave did say, Kopech could take some starts later in the season. I guess that’s possible, but he’d likely need to go to the minors and stretch out, which should take at least 10 days. Who is pitching during that time. At the end of the day, there are a lot of starting pitching innings to eat up and the Sox simply don’t have the arms to do it. Especially with Kopech in the pen.

But I’m not here to whine and complain. That’s what Twitter is for, just ask Rick Hahn. I’m here to provide some solutions. Now, before we get into this, let’s remember that we need to execute minor league deals because we already inked a MLB deal for the 5th starter. So guys like Jake Odorizzi, Cole Hamels, and probably even Rick Porcello are not targets.

The Chorizy-E Special

I’ve been on the sign Mike Leake train most of the off-season. Not because I am some huge fan of his work, but because he’ll be cheap and he throws ground balls. He’s already being paid $5M this year as his buyout from the D’Backs, add in him opting out last year after a meh 2019, and you have a great candidate for a minor league deal. I know I started this article off talking about 100MPH fastballs, and if that gets you going, well then Mike Leake probably won’t.

Mike Leake projected WAR/WARP

Steamer: 1.1
ZiPS: 1.2

The Retread

Ah yes, I’m talking about the wide receiver from Notre Dame. Jeff Samardzija may be the reason Addison Russell was sent to Chicago and the reason that Marcus Semien was sent away, but those things aren’t his fault. And yeah sure, he wasn’t very good when he was with the Sox. And ok, he’s 36 years old and had a crap 2020 season. All that said, remember that we’re trying to ink a minor league deal here. I honestly think Shark would retire before taking a minor league deal, but the chance of playing in Chicago and familiarity with Ethan Katz could be enough to do it.

Pretty much Bo Jackson

Jeff Samardzija projected WAR/WARP

Steamer: 0.3
ZiPS: 0.8

This Might Actually Make Sense

Now this one is not sexy at all, but it could just work. I’m talking about a 32 year old pitcher who has played for 8 teams, Trevor Cahill. I initially looked at Zack Godley because he’s beefier, but I think Cahill could push maximum density if he gets to the majors and is exposed once again to Chicago’s food. All that said, Cahill is a swingman at this point in his career and the results have surely varied. Much like Shark, there will be some familiarity with Katz. Plus, Cahill was actually good last year. It’s almost amazing to find guys still out there that didn’t suck in 2020. If we luck out and all the starters remain healthy, Cahill has proven he can also do it from the pen.

Trevor Cahill projected WAR/WARP

Steamer: 0.6
ZiPS: 1.1

Let me know who you’d like to see added. I mean other than Bartolo Colon. We obviously all would love that.


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