Report: White Sox among teams interested in free-agent arm Mike Foltynewicz

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Vinnie Duber
·2 min read
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Report: Sox among teams interested in Mike Foltynewicz originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The White Sox are reportedly bringing Carlos Rodón back on a one-year contract for 2021, but does that mean they're done adding depth to the starting rotation?

On the same weekend that the deal with Rodón was reported, the White Sox were also reported to be among the teams interested in free-agent starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, an Illinois native formerly of the Atlanta Braves, after the 29-year-old right-hander threw during a showcase in Georgia.

Foltynewicz was an All Star in 2018, finishing that season with a terrific 2.85 ERA in 31 starts. But he struggled in 2019, his ERA leaping up to 4.54, and he pitched in just one game during the shortened 2020 campaign, allowing six runs in 3.1 innings of work.

As the White Sox have found out the hard way in recent seasons, the more starting-pitching depth, the better.

RELATED: What Rodón's return means for Sox pitching staff in 2021

Heading into a 2021 season with championship aspirations, the White Sox seem to have their starting five in mind, with a sterling 1-2-3 punch of Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel and Lance Lynn — all of whom finished in the top seven in last year's AL Cy Young vote — and a pair of promising young arms behind them in Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech.

There are questions about whether Cease and Kopech will be able to live up to those championship-level expectations. But when it comes to Kopech, specifically, whether he'll begin the season in the rotation or not remains a mystery, too.

Kopech hasn't pitched since 2018, recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2019 and electing not to play due to personal reasons last year. Even when he was planning to play in 2020, it appeared the White Sox might have started him the minor leagues to help build his starter's stamina. It's possible they could go that route in 2021, leaving fifth-starter duties up in the air, with pitchers like Reynaldo López, Rodón and others potentially competing for that spot in the spring.

Foltynewicz is one of many possibilities still on the free-agent market that could become one of those "others" if the White Sox so choose. But in-season starting-pitching depth has proven incredibly valuable, and the White Sox have experienced over the last two seasons that there seems to be no limit to the number of options a team would like to have at its disposal.

With a championship the end goal for the White Sox in 2021, the more hands — or arms, rather — on deck, the better the chances of making it deep into October.

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