Not every solution to an offseason need includes signing the guy at the top of the free-agent market, as much as fans might want it to play out that way each winter.
And though someone like George Springer should definitely be on the White Sox wish list, there are other ways to plug the team's hole in right field.
Joc Pederson has been mentioned in trade rumors involving the White Sox for the last two offseasons. He won't be this winter, because he's a free agent. If the White Sox finally want to bring Pederson to the South Side, all they need to do is sign him.
Pederson has pop, and that's something the White Sox unleashed on the league during their ascendant 2020 campaign, hitting 96 home runs to lead the American League. Meanwhile, it was Pederson and his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates who led the game, with 118 long balls. Pederson hit seven of them in just 43 games.
Of course, therein lies the rub when it comes to Pederson: Playing for a championship-caliber team — like the Dodgers were in 2020 and the White Sox hope to be in 2021 — he's a part-time player. A good one, no doubt, but part of the solution, not the entire fix for a position of need all by his lonesome.
Pederson swings a left-handed bat, and he swings it well against right-handed pitching, with a career .849 OPS and 121 of his 130 career home runs. He doesn't swing it well against southpaws, with a career .576 OPS and just nine home runs. In 2020, he had only 23 hits. But the power numbers were there, with seven homers and 16 RBIs in 138 plate appearances. That's before he delivered in the Dodgers' run to the World Series title, with a .991 OPS and a couple homers during the postseason.
The White Sox could make the argument, if they chose, that they could use a total revamp in right field. Or, if they chose to allocate their offseason resources in other areas — such as starting pitching or the DH spot, two other stated needs — they could look inward and stick with some combination of Nomar Mazara and Adam Engel. Teaming those guys with Pederson might make sense, attacking the problem with numerous players rather than one everyday starter. Engel had a nice offensive season in 2020, and though Mazara disappointed after being acquired in a trade last winter, he's still just 25 years old and claims three 20-homer seasons as a big leaguer.
Pederson has four 25-homer seasons as a major leaguer, including 36 bombs in 2019. So the potential for a power-packed platoon of Pederson and Mazara with the defensive ability of Engel has a little allure, especially when considering the wealth of postseason experience Pederson has from his Dodger days.
But envisioning such a platoon becomes difficult when you look at the splits again. Pederson thrives against righties but struggles against lefties. Mazara, when he's on, falls into the exact same category, which doesn't make for an ideal platoon combo. Engel, meanwhile, had pretty balanced numbers against righties and lefties in 2020 when it came to batting average and on-base percentage, with a higher slugging number against righties.
If Pederson is going to finally make his way to the White Sox, it might have to be part of a couple moves to address the hole in right field. He'd be a valuable bat to have in the lineup against right-handed pitching, and a valuable piece of a postseason roster, but the White Sox would need to find a complementary piece to take swings against left-handers.