knoxfire30's 2010 White Sox offseason plan

Big ups to an apparently sober Knox for taking the first crack at hashing out a feasible plan for an offseason strategy, turning it around so fast and so thoroughly (seriously, it was a matter of an hour or so) that it almost concerns me.  Here are the guidelines, if you missed them, and below is Knox’s plan.
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My Offseason:
MUST-MAKE DECISIONS
1) Octavio Dotel: Arbitration, or not?
1. Decline Arbitration to Octavio Dotel. While being a pretty above average reliever the sox don’t have the payroll flexibility to try and take advantage of his type A status. In house candidates like Jhonny Nunez can help fill the bullpen void and Tony Pena may make some positive strides with a full off season and spring with Don Cooper.
2) Jermaine Dye: Mutual option, arbitration, or not?
2. Decline Jermaine Dye’s mutual option. This is an easy call as Dye has proven he really can’t cover any ground in the outfield and has consecutive seasons where he was an offensive train wreck in the second half. We love you JD but its time to move on.
FLEXIBLE DECISIONS
3) One-year contract for John Danks? If not, what would you pay to extend him?

3. Go year by year with John Danks.
I am a huge fan of going year to year with players whose rights we still own. While in the long run you may cost yourself a few extra bucks the sox are a big market team most of the time and they can afford the small extra costs of going year to year as oppose to a huge mistake locking up an arm long term and watching it falter or get hurt. Sox were burnt badly by buying out Mike MacDougal’s arbitration years and I don’t want anything similar to happen again.
4) One-year contract for Bobby Jenks, extension or trade?
4. Offer arbitration to Bobby Jenks. He is still an above average closer despite some declining numbers. Bobby knows his next big contract is right around the corner and I honestly think he will be more effective in 2010 then he was in 2009. However, if he even equals his 09 effort, he is still worth the 7 or so million he will be coming back for. We are saving on the bullpen by letting Dotel walk, its important that we keep Jenks. No one is going to want to see the trickle down effect of Dotel leaving and being replaced by a rookie or Linebrink, Thornton trying to cover the 9th for Jenks and then Pena trying to cover the 8th for Thornton. It’s a slippery slope and could lead to having a disaster pen. Trading Jenks will remain a possibility at any point in the season probably all the way to the August waiver period. I shy away from trading him during the off season as I believe his value has been shattered by the availability of free agent closers, other closers on the trade market, and his salary in today’s market being more of a liability then an asset (Something that was not the case just 2 years ago).
FREE AGENCY
5) Which positions are in most dire need of an upgrade?
5. Corner Outfielder who hits from the left side, designated hitter who bats from the left side and has some power, leadoff hitter, extra bullpen arm preferably a lefty, and a backup catcher. I am also going under the assumption that Scott Podsednik will get a ridiculous offer from someone forcing the sox to look elsewhere for a leadoff man, Ramon Castro will be gone, and that the sox bring back Mark Kotsay on a 1 year 1.5-2 mil deal.
6) Name three (or more) free agents you’d consider, at a price.
6. Corner outfielders who hit from the left side:
Bobby Abreu: This guy consistently drives in runs, gets on base, steals bases and works counts. Being a lefty hitter and solid clubhouse guy just adds to his value. Only downside is that he has to be viewed as a DH and outfielder. I would go to atleast 2 years and 20 million dollars to obtain Abreu.
Randy Winn would be a cheap option. He had an awful 09 and could come cheap maybe 1 year 3 million. He still plays good defense and is only 1 year removed from a very solid offensive season where he had a 360 on base percentage.
DH who hits from the left side with power:
Bobby Abreu: already discussed.
Nick Johnson: OBP machine he may come cheap due to a long injury history, as everyone knows Hermy is the best at keeping guys on the field and Johnson coming to the AL where he could DH a lot will only help his injury problems. I do a more complicated 1 year 6 mil base deal, with a team option for 1 more year at 8 mil or a 1 mil buyout. I also throw in a provision that if he gets 450 at bats the 2nd year option kicks in. So either a 1 year 7 mil deal or 2 year 14 mil deal where the first year he likely plays a lot.
Hank Blalock: A plan C option and strictly a guy who can add some power to a lineup. 1 year 3-5 mil depending on how desperate we get.
Jim Thome: Going along with the plan C would be Thome. His chase for 600 homers may bring him back to the AL for one more year, its hard to argue with how productive he can be if the sox get him back on the cheap. Something in the 3 to 4 million range would be very worth while for his production and 2nd to none reputation in the clubhouse.
Leadoff hitters:
Chone Figgins: I offer 3 years 24 mil, its a token gesture he will get more elsewhere. Teams are going to fall in love with his type B status, his career year, and his solid glove and leadoff abilities. I really like Figgins but I have a strong feeling that he is going to get really over paid.
Placido Polanco: I maintain that Polanco is very underrated and does a lot of things for a ball club that equal wins but are impossible to statistically measure. His type A status may drive away potential suitors and if I’m the Whitesox I look to swoop in with a reasonable 2 year 12-14 mil deal. While not a prototypical leadoff man his OBP ability and top of the order experience should allow him to be an ample candidate.
Orlando Hudson: Solid player, again not an ideal leadoff man but great glove, switch hits and should be available. 3 years 18 mil range.
Backup Catcher: FIND SOMEONE
Bullpen arms:
Joe Beimel: Solid lefty who made a name for himself by not allowing a homer in 2008 something that should play well at the cell. While he had a little less luck this year he was still a quality reliever. 2 years 6 mil.
TRADES
7) Name three (or more) realistic trades that could improve the Sox team.
7. TRADES!!! These are always the most fun.
Idea 1: Alexei Ramirez for Brad Hawpe. He gives us a lefty corner outfield bat that seems to be available due to him getting benched in one of the playoff games. I think Alexei may actually have more value then Hawpe right now so maybe something else would have to be added to the package on Colorado’s side especially since Alexei has such a favorable contract. Colorado may not be a perfect fit for Alexei as they are pretty set at shortstop and third base but I think Clint Barmes numbers at 2nd seemed a bit fluky so maybe he fits them at 2nd. Hawpe also doesn’t appear to be a product of Colorado as his splits home and away are very similar to what you would expect. I think this also opens up the possibility to move Beckham to short and bring Adrian Beltre aboard to play 3rd. 3 years for 18 or 4 years for 22 seems to be a starting point, it may escalate past that.
Idea 2: Make a run at Prince Fielder. He has two years left on his contract and at some point no matter what Milwaukee says I have to believe they are lying about not wanting to trade him. They know he is going to command a big payday after 2011 and they also should be well aware of his eating habits and how his next contract is going to be way to scary for a mid market team like the Brewers to take on. Brewers also understand they have no starting pitching. Thus the sox move Danks or Floyd with a couple of prospects and try to acquire the ELITE left hand power bat they need. There are only a certain few instances where I would be willing to break up our rotation and this is one of them. Not sure if the Brewers would bite but its worth looking into.
SUMMARY
8) Sum it all up in a paragraph or nine, and add up the total payroll.
Salary: Sox look to have about 95-97 million due under my circumstances without the exact amounts known due to arbitration raises. I expect the team to field a team in the 110 million range initially. So with the 12-16 million I have to play with I will suggest some plans.
Plan A: Abreu (10), Polanco (6) Biemel (3)
Plan B: Johnson (6), Polanco (6), Biemel (3)
Plan C: Thome (4), Beltre (6), Hawpe and bullpen arm for Ramirez (net gain 6-7)
Plan D: Figgins (10), Thome (4), Biemel (3)
Its important to note that some of these parts are a bit interchangeable, I use Biemel a lot because I prefer him there are other quality bullpen arms for about that price, Beltre and a Mark DeRosa are somewhat similar in how much value they add to a team. I like Polanco a lot but making an extra year commitment to get Hudson instead of Polanco is certainly an option. Thome could be exchanged in my ideas for a player like Hank Blalock and so on.
The main points of my ideas include adding 2 left hand hitters to the order who fill out the outfield and dh positions. Adding a veteran bullpen arm which I always think is a good idea. Gaining a top of the order hitter, even if that player isn’t the perfect leadoff option should be on the sox wish list. The return of a healthy Carlos Quentin and productive Alex Rios will remain the keys to 2010 likely no matter what off season moves are made.
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Unfortunately, since he did not predict the waiver claim of Alejandro De Aza, he already loses.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ytCEuuW2_A[/youtube] Alejandro De Aza.  Alejandro … De … Aza. Sorry Knox, so close, yet so far.  But you won’t go empty-handed, as every participant receives the Sox Machine home game as a lovely consolation prize.
De Aza is essentially a Dewayne Wise replacement, although watching the video of him attached to the linked MLB.com article, he looks like a slightly stronger Jerry Owens to me.  His minor-league track record says the same thing. Still, since neither Wise nor Owens are on the 2010 roster, consolidating their skills into one player (and one 40-man roster spot) doesn’t hurt.
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Arizona Fall League:

And Ozzie Guillen will be serving as a World Series analyst for Fox before and after games.  This could be entertaining, incoherent, or both.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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matttherock

If you think Dye was a butcher in the field, you definitely don’t want Hawpe. He’s generally rated as the one of the worst RF in the game. He used to get mentioned for his defense because he’s got an absolute cannon for an arm, but the ball needs to be hit right at him for you to worry about that at all. He’s got no range out there.
And as far as 2nd halves go…
Hawpe before the All-star break: .320, 14HR, 59RBI, 63K
Hawpe after the All-star break: .240, 9HR, 27RBI, 82K
He’s a tremendously streaky hitter. When he’s hot, like at the beginning of the year, he’ll carry the team. But when he loses it, you want him out of the lineup as fast as possible. And he’s pretty terrible against lefties.
But just in case I haven’t scared you from him, Hawpe for Ramirez wouldn’t happen anyway. There’s no place to put Ramirez on the field. Barmes has a higher OPS and plays better defense, and Stewart’s at 3rd for (hopefully) the next seven years or so. Hawpe for some prospects is about the only thing the Rockies would just at, and they’re making noise about keeping him anyway. He’s definitely cheap power.

knoxfire30

I really struggled to find a left hand hitting corner outfielder. I was aware of Hawpes defense being sub par but playing him in Left Field as oppose to right might help that. He is a streaky hitter, but his last few seasons are pretty darn consistent so I think the sox could live with some ups and downs.

jimbo

I don’t like the idea of Hawpe for Ramirez either but don’t disagree with much else in your plan. Abreu would be great as a DH but if we get him to play rf, he’s not much of an upgrade over Dye. The only real reason I don’t think it’s feasible is your payroll figure. Supposedly, the payroll is going to be right at $95 million for next year and this would put us way over. Unless they do allow payroll to go over $100M, Jenks will probably be gone.
I hope Kenny has put as much thought into his plan as you have yours! Nice job.

kevins

That was awesome knox. Thanks for sharing.

knoxfire30

Thanks, I liked your matt gamel idea. He is a solid buy low canidate who has some serious potential from the left side of the plate.

knoxfire30

I should have added as part of a third trade, I would look to move young blocked assets like Josh Fields, John Shellby III, Kyle McCulloh, in exchange for maybe some young arms that have fallen off the wagon. Guys like Homer Bailey who the sox always seem to love, (examples from last year guys like Ian Snell and Tom Gorzalany). Some arms with limited MLB success but a descent background such as being a top prospect at one point or a first round pick.

grinderintraining

Homer Bailey is no longer off the wagon, and probably no longer available. Just needed to make a few changes apparently and he’s looking good. Probably the reason the White Sox wanted him in the first place, I’m sure Coop saw the same issues. Believe he even won player of the week in the NL at some point this season.
http://www.drivelinemechanics.com/2009/9/20/1046246/pitching-mechanics-update-homer

watwat

“Beltre and a Mark DeRosa are somewhat similar in how much value they add to a team.”
This just isn’t true. Even playing limited time this season, hurt much of the time he did play, and in a park that hates right handed pull hitters, Beltre was more valuable.
Their value defensively isn’t close at all, as Beltre’s UZR is miles above DeRosa’s at third base.
If you remove Beltre from Safeco Field and its black hole in left field, and stick him in Chicago – the offense is going to have a nice jump.
The price tag he’ll come at is going to be a bargain, but a team like Boston will likely evaluate him correctly as someone whose skillset fits their park well. That, combined with Chicago’s moves at the deadline, mean they probably won’t have the cash to get him even at a bargain. But, if they can, he’d certainly be a much better fit than Mark Derosa.

knoxfire30

Really, so the fact that Beltre had a 688 ops this year doesnt mean anything. The fact that in their careers beltre only has a 13 point ops advantage doesnt mean they are close. Especially since a roided up Beltre’s one monster year should probably be thrown out.
Derosa’s value of being able to play 4 or 5 postions should be factored in as well, I know Beltre plays a great third base and that carries a lot of value but so does playing multiple positions.
I said “somewhat similiar” I stand by that.

blah

Oh yeah, well Beltre doesn’t wear a cup. Where does that factor in to your fancy stats.

RWShow

I’ve heard this Fielder-for-Danks-and/or-Floyd concept elsewhere as well, and I’m curious as to the consensus here on how much we should be willing to give up for him.
My thought was their pick of either Danks or Floyd, and Bobby Jenks. No telling whether they’d be willing to pay whatever Jenks’ price ends up being.
I’ve heard it suggested that Danks AND Floyd would be acceptable. I choked on my coffee when I heard it. I’m curious if anybody other than Terry Boers thinks this is a good idea.

knoxfire30

Floyd and Danks would be absolutely CRAZY!!!!!
They wont want Jenks since they just gave Hoffman a 1 year extention.

bigfun

I liked the Gamel and Seth Smith ideas suggested in the previous thread. The Fielder idea is pretty good. Agree with some of Knox’s points. Would like to see the team get younger this year but it’s not really possible with the contracts/players they have.
Trade:
Jenks to Rangers for Julio Borbon (leadoff, bats left) and several minor leaguers. Rockies might also be a good fit due to Street’s postseason wobbles and their extra outfield depth (would much rather have Seth Smith (also a lefty) than Hawpe, as the former has actually caught baseballs before).
Kila Ka’aihue. Bats left. The Royals seem happy to let Kila waste away in Omaha, so this could be a good fit. Dayton Moore likes to make bad trades, so the this might only cost something like Nunez or Hynick. Even a bit more than that would be OK.
Free agents:
Andruw Jones – really health/training dependent, but he could be a great pick. He was a solid center fielder even in his otherwise ineffective 2008 season and in 2009 had a much better season than his batting average suggests. It’s worth remembering that Jones is quite a bit younger than some otherwise similar options like Randy Winn or Gary Sheffield. He should cost 1-1.5 million. Works well splitting the DH with Quentin with occasional DH spots for other players.
Kiko Colero – cheaper Dotel. Beimel is good too.
Russell Branyan – he won’t be under the radar like last season, but he could still be an attainable lefty power bat.

blah

I’d love it if the Sox managed to get Akinori Iwamura. The Ray’s haven’t exercised his club option and he is coming off of an injury. I love this guys glove, speed and he could be an excellent leadoff hitter

knoxfire30

Thats a good name that hasnt been brought up much since everyone is waiting on the rays decesion to pay him or buy him out. He certainly brings a few things to the table the sox could benefit from.

bigfun

I like Iwamura too, but 2B isn’t that high on the priority list. I think Jimbo’s right – there won’t be that much money to go around. Better to spend what they do have on the OF/DH.

blah

I couldn’t disagree more with the statement that 2nd base isn’t high on the priority list. 2nd base was a huge reason why the Sox were so bad defensively this year, as through the first half the combination of Getz, Nix and Lilbridge did all they could to NOT turn double plays. I think that the skill set Iwamura brings (youth, defensive ability at 3rd and 2nd, bating lefthanded and his ability to leadoff) would go along way to solving some of the concerns the Sox have, particularly when 3 of the starters and much of the bullpen is going to rely on ground balls.

jimbo

With the outfield, DH and bullpen needs, 2b is not a priority. Would I like to upgrade? Sure, I’d like to have Utley at 2b, go sign Holliday for lf and trade for Ichiro. However, with the present roster and a budget that must be followed, getting someone who is SLIGHTLY better than our present 2b situation at a much higher price is foolish. He doesn’t bring youth, defense or offense that we don’t already have at 2b with a platoon of Nix and Getz. If 2b is our biggest problem going into the season, we will win the division easily.

blah

I’m not suggesting that the Sox run a fantasy draft to upgrade anywhere on the diamond.
Given Iwamura’s season OPS of .745 (in a sample size I realize but he has a career OPS of .747) and Getz’s season/ career OPS is .671 I think the term SLIGHTLY is a little over stated. Nix has a OPS of .716. But more importantly is the realization that relying on these two will ultimately lead to Lilbridge getting a LOT of playing time because Nix can’t really be trusted to keep up the offense and Getz can’t stay healthy for 2 consecutive months.
I realize that funds are tight for the White Sox, but the reality is they aren’t going to pump out the cash for Abreu, who recently turned down a 2 year 16 million dollar deal from LA, and in light of that a block buster trade for Ichiro isn’t likely on the horizon either.
What I would like is for the Sox to look at a player like Orlando Hudson or Iwamura, guys who can solidify the infield defense with solid OBP and OPS for the 2b position with leadoff capabilities. Improving the up the middle defense worked for the Rays two years ago and Texas this year as far as making the pitching staff sooooo much better.
But, that being said, I’d like to see Jason Bay in Left and Pujols at first.

blah

And I’m not in love with the combination of Getz/Nix. I don’t think there is any way to believe that Nix will keep it up with the stick or that Getz will ever stay healthy enough to contribute or make adjustments needed to stay in the lineup.
I wouldn’t really be surprised if Kotsay was the starting left fielder next season given the amount of playing time he received down the stretch. An upgrade is needed but, in reading the quotes from KW on:
http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20091022&content_id=7526300&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb&partnerId=rss_mlb
you can almost assume that very little but “tinkering” will be done.

blah

And I don’t really see the Sox trading any of their starters, breaking a trend that goes back to ’03

striker

Great post Knox.
1. I agree with your Jenks, Dye, Danks and Dotel decisions.
2. I like Beltre’s bat and glove but then you have 4 players for two positions (Ramirez, Beckham, Getz, Nix=SS,2B). Though I realize Nix may not be everyones choice to start, he is an option.
3. I don’t see the Sox being a big player in the Free Agent market. I bet they spend a max of $8mil in the FA market. But I like your FA choices.
4. I wouldn’t pony up for Fielder.