The Chicago White Sox are one of the most interesting clubs this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 78-4 finish, which featured a 17-8 start in April, the White Sox are a club at a crossroads. The club added new Manager Rick Renteria to replace Robin Ventura. The club could try to piece to their core of veterans to contend for 2017. The better option in my opinion is to blow up this whole roster and acquire as many assets as possible. Starting Pitcher Chris Sale has been linked to the Nationals, Astros, and Braves. A perennial Cy Young candidate should be able to bring in major league ready players in return. It takes two to tango however, as we shall see if clubs are willing to give up their top prospects. Whether the Sox could get Trea Turner, Lucas Giolito, Alex Bregman, or Dansby Swanson remains to be seen. GM Rick Hahn should be holding out for a franchise building block in return in any package. The time may come later this winter where lower level prospects with upside may be the route the acquiring clubs would be willing to go.
The White Sox are a viable option because they have assets to move as this is weak free agent class in 2017. Take into account some of the contracts already signed this winter and compare those to players available in a trade. Rich Hill signed a 3-year-deal worth $48 million dollars. The soon to be 37-year-old southpaw has 610.1 career innings and is getting paid for finding the fountain of youth. While Sale is soon to be 28 and has 3-years of team control at $38 million dollars. Sale has also finished in the Top 6 in AL Cy Young voting each season since 2012. Which player is the better value?
Other players in Chicago could fetch solid returns in trade due to age and team control. None of these players are in the twilight of their careers. Closer David Robertson has 2 years and 25 million dollars left on his deal. Clubs that don’t want to spend on Chapman, Jansen, and Melancon could pursue Robertson, who turns 32 next season. Melancon signed a 4-years $62 million dollar deal with the Giants. Roberston is nearly the same age as Melancon on a shorter deal. SP Jose Quintana has 4-years and $37.85 million dollars remaining on his deal. Quintana is a soon to be 28-year-old middle of rotation arm with a career ERA of 3.41 and 1.242 WHIP. 3B Todd Frazier has 2 years of arbitration eligibility left and is coming off a year with a career high in HR (40) and RBI (98). Frazier will turn 31 this offseason. Right Fielder Adam Eaton has back to back seasons of a plus .280 avg and .360 OBP. A 28-year-old leadoff hitter under team control of 5-years for $38.4 million dollars could be attractive to clubs. Eaton is a terrific defensive right fielder, not so much in center field. At $15 million on the last year of his deal, Melky Cabrera should still retain value at his age 32 campaign. Cabrera may be an add on in one of the blockbuster deals. An outfielder with a career .286 avg and .337 OBP should retain value.
Rebuilding and contending at the same time is tough to do in sports. The White Sox farm system may have some talent that helps down the road in RHP Carson Fulmer, RHP Spencer Adams, C Zach Collins, RHP Zack Burdi, 3B Trey Michalczewski, and RHP Alec Hanson. GM Rick Hahn has to opportunity to acquire assets to help the White Sox get younger and possibly better. I believe if the White Sox don’t take advantage of this weak free agent class and selloff, it will set the club back longer. After years of trying to contend and failing, its time for the White Sox to go in another direction.
Wizards power forward Markieff Morris is a player I will target in the later rounds of fantasy drafts this season. The jury is still out if the Wizards got fleeced giving away a first round pick for Morris. In 27 games 21 starts Morris averaged 12.4 points per game 5.9 rebounds per game, and 1.4 assists while his percentages improved from Phoenix to Washington across the board. The opportunity is there in DC for Morris to take another step forward. Morris struggles on the defensive end could lead to Johnny O’Bryant taking away some minutes. Andrew Nicholson is a decent shooter, but is more of a reserve. Morris is the type of stretch for that should be able to complement Marcin Gortat this season.
I believe the 2014-2015 statistics with the Suns are certainly attainable for Morris in which he averaged 15.3 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, 2.3 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game, and shot 32% from 3-point range. The Wizards have enough offensive weapons allowing Morris to slide in as the complimentary piece he is fit to be. Having a whole off-season been removed from Phoenix and the turmoil that was not been able to play with his twin brother anymore, Morris should be able to bounce back for the Wizards.
Fantasy owners that are investing in Morris are doing so because of the change of scenery and the progress that they saw at the end of last season. I view Morris as a late round lottery ticket because of the situation and upside. The previous knucklehead behavior makes me not want invest too heavily in Morris.
Categories league’s owners look at Morris as a power forward that can hit a three, get a steal, and shoot 76% from the free-throw line. Sometimes fantasy owners get caught up in what player did for them last year instead of what they feel like you’re going to do for them this year. Morris may provide some late round upside for those that evaluate on the situation this season.
New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount has been one of the more valuable players in fantasy football this season. With Tom Brady out the first four games with a suspension, Blount has been a monster rushing for 352 yards and four touchdowns. Blount has 22 or more rushing attempts in 3 of 4 contests this season. That high volume workload won’t continue all season, however the Patriots adjust their game plan to what is better suited to go against each week’s opponent. Tom Brady is the Patriots best talent and the passing game will return to being showcased each week. The popular viewpoint is that the Patriots will throw the ball a lot more and abandon the running game. I’m not buying into that school of thought.
Last season, Blount ran for 703 yards and 6 TD in 12 games. He was placed on IR with a hip injury in mid-December. In an earlier season matchup, which resulted in 30-24 Broncos win, Blount was a non-factor rushing 9 times for 27 yards. Tom Brady threw for 280 yards and 3 TD while getting sacked 3 times. The Patriots were exposed in the AFC championship game vs. the Broncos for their lack of a credible rushing attack. Tom Brady attempted 56 passes throwing for 310 yards a TD and 2 picks. The Broncos sacked Brady 4 times. The Patriots attempted 17 rushes for 44 yards to the tune of a paltry 2.59 yards-per -carry. In 2015, the Patriots ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing yards per game at 87.8 yards
I believe the Patriots learned from the 2015 season by upgrading their offensive line with better run blockers. Brady’s suspension necessitated featuring the rushing attack to start the season, but I believe it will carry over for the rest of the season. NFL history isn’t kind to 39-year-old Quarterbacks. Tom Brady is no ordinary 39-year-old Quarterback, but still could use more help from the running game.
I don’t believe the other Patriots running backs are truly a threat to Blount’s workload. Brandon Bolden is more of a special team’s player. DJ Foster is an experienced player that hasn’t taken any workload away yet. James White is third-down-back while Dion Lewis may be the one to take away some of Blount’s workload. Lewis is on the physically unable to perform list and could return anywhere from weeks seven to week nine depending on his health.
The NFL has shifted more towards committee backfields in the last few years. Fantasy players really need to focus on their league set up and scoring in evaluating players. Blount while not as valuable in a PPR league as in a standard scoring lead league still will carry a lot of value with Tom Brady’s return. I find it hard to believe that Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels will completely ignore how effective the running game has been the first four weeks of the season.
Point Guard Ty Lawson looks to get his career back on track in Sacramento. Lawson flamed out in Houston and Indiana last season with an offensive win share of 0.2 and a defensive win share of 0.7 for a total win share of 0.9. While two seasons ago his offensive win share was 6.0. Playing in Houston along with James Harden was a complete disaster. Lawson as a backup point guard was a misfit as his numbers dropped across the board. Lawson is the type of player that needs to have the ball in his hands to be successful. Lawson’s outside shot isn’t good enough to be successful playing off the ball. Lawson’s game is transition and setting up his teammates off dribble penetration.
This season Lawson will turn 29-years-old and still should be in the physical prime of his career. Lawson’s personal issues are well documented, but his conditioning looked to be a problem last season as well. The opportunity is there in Sacramento for Lawson to turn his career around. Darren Collison will miss the first few games of the season due to a suspension and there’s a decent chance that Lawson could take away the starting point guard job. Sacramento has weapons to complement Lawson’s drive and dish skills in DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Matt Barnes, and Aaron Afflalo.
I hold a bit more stock in his Denver seasons than I do last season in evaluating Lawson as a fantasy player. Kings head coach Dave Joerger may be better suited to you utilize Lawson’s talents than his last two stops. Collison and Lawson have been in the league the same amount of time and for their careers Lawson has been the more productive player. It would not surprise me in the least if Lawson was able to take the starting point guard job away from Collison this season in Sacramento.
Fantasy owners looking for a late round lottery ticket should consider Lawson. Training camp reports, while often of the glass half full approach, may be able to provide insight into Lawson’s role with the Kings. Fantasy owners that are targeting Lawson are not looking for percentages they’re looking for assists and points. The Kings were a good career rehab spot for Rajon Rondo and could also be one for Ty Lawson.
Tim Lincecum remains a free agent weeks after his showcase. The 2-time Cy Young award-winner has struggled with an ERA over 4.00 in each of the last 4 seasons. Is the hip problem the main culprit for loss of velocity and command? It’s possible the hip is a major factor, however 1, 643.2 career major league innings on a 170 pound frame could also be a problem.
Lincecum has been linked to the Giants, Angels, and White Sox. Reports claim “The Freak” prefers a starting job on the West Coast. The Giants have a rotation with problems at the back end with Matt Cain and Jake Peavy looking their age. Lincecum could be better than one of both of them at this point. The fact that a reunion hasn’t happened yet is not a good sign to me. The Giants not guaranteeing a spot in the starting rotation could be part of the hold up.
The White Sox released John Danks and picked up Miguel Gonzalez. Carlos Rodon has been inconsistent and Mat Latos has pitched better than expected. The White Sox lead their division by 5 games and offer the best spot to win right now. Would Lincecum’s stuff translate in the Windy City? The Sox launching pad park would be a concern for me.
The Angels on the other hand have just 1 solid starter in Hector Santiago at this point. Injuries have ravaged the Angels with Andrew Heaney and Garrett Richards with UCL injuries, Tyler Skaggs rehabbing a UCL injury, and CJ Wilson’s shoulder acting up. Nick Tropeano and Matt Shoemaker have been knocked around and Jered Weaver’s continued velocity drop is just plain sad. The Angels are only 5 games back in the division and could use Lincecum the most.
Lincecum’s decision should be coming sooner rather than later. An incentive laden 1-year prove-it deal is more than likely what would be offered. A GM that offers him a multi-year deal should have his head examined. A minor league assignment is in order before Lincecum can help a Major League club. Lincecum is reaching the S*&^ or get off the pot time.
Fantasy owners have been off the pot for 4 years, but should pay attention to where he signs and how things go. Pitching is so unpredictable it’s not out the realm of possibility that “Big Time Timmy Jim” returns.