Back to the drawing board

Now that we’re back to a lack of news, let’s get back to the offseason plans. This one is courtesy of marshlands:
MUST-MAKE DECISIONS
1) Octavio Dotel: Arbitration, or not?
Do not offer arbitration to Octavio Dotel. He’s been serviceable throughout his career (even excellent at times), but given the volatility of relief pitchers, it’s not worth the money. Dotel’s a strikeout machine, but also a home run machine, which isn’t very helpful in The Cell (or in high leverage situations). The Sox would be just as well to try their hand at a similarly aging veteran free agent for a much cheaper price.
2) Jermaine Dye: Mutual option, arbitration, or not?
Buy out Dye. Fact is, he’s a horrible RF. UZR isn’t completely dependable yet due to some pretty wild year-to-year fluctuations, but I’m not so fond of Dye falling on the bad side of -18 UZR for four straight years. This, combined of course with his magically disappearing bat in the second half of 2009 only points towards a potentially steep decline.
It wouldn’t be terrible to buy him out and then try and re-sign him at a discount, maybe as a DH (“hey we’ll cut your salary in half if you don’t field next year!”), but clearly it’s a touchy situation, and I doubt Dye would be into that, you know, given the kind of contracts some OF way worse than him have gotten in the past few years.

FLEXIBLE DECISIONS
3) One-year contract for John Danks? If not, what would you pay to extend him?
Extend Danks. Given his (agent’s) turndown of the Floyd-extension, it looks like it’s going to take a little more to lock him up, but the Sox might have a bit of leverage as his performance declined from 08 to 09. His upside, age (24), and handedness (soufpaw) are quite desirable, and it seems like he (i.e. Danks) wants to stay given the amount of excitement he expressed at the first extension offer before his agent told him no.
Offer Danks 5 years/$30M (aka the “Jon Lester” deal):
10: $2M, 11: $3.75M, 12: $5.75M, 13: $8M, 14: $10.5M, 15: $13.5M club option ($0.25M buyout)
4) One-year contract for Bobby Jenks, extension or trade?
Offer Jenks a 1 year/$6.5M contract, with devious intentions of a deadline trade. Closers are the type of player to most likely be sought after at the deadline, and Jenks has been one of the best over the past couple years. This is risky of course because if Jenks gets worse and/or doesn’t improve on a lackluster 2009, then it hurts his value, but it doesn’t diminish it completely (see trades for: George “The Brim Reaper” Sherrill, Jon Rauch, etc.).
The return for Jenks in this plan completely hinges on how he performs in 2010, so it’s kind of up in the air. If he returns to form I could see a return of a few high upside prospects, no doubt.
FREE AGENCY
5) Which positions are in most dire need of an upgrade?
With the departure of Dye, RF is an absolute must attend to situation. Additionally, for the sake of Quentin’s health and lack of fielding prowess, I’d put LF on notice too, with intentions of possibly DHing Carlos.
[What’s most upsetting about the White Sox infield situation is that both Alexei and Gordon are playing the wrong position. Ideally (in my mind, anyway), Alexei moves to 2B and Bacon to SS, and the Sox go on the hunt (FA or Trade) for a good 3B, which is much easier to find. (Reality: Sadly it seems Gordon and Alexei are locked positionally, in which case the Nix/Getz midget parade is fine with me, if only to save some bills.)] 6) Name three (or more) free agents you’d consider, at a price.
#1 – DH. If Carlos isn’t into being a DH, which I think he should probably be, then:
Nick Johnson: 1 yr/$5M. Dude can walk, play first, and put the ball in play. And get hurt.
or
Jim Thome: 1 yr/$6M. Still good after all these years, just not as much as he used to be. His limited (read: none) fielding and ineptness at hitting LHP makes him less desirable if he’s not hitting 40hr.
#2 – Corner Outfielder:
Endy Chavez: 2 years/$5M. Totally anemic bat made up for by some incredible fielding, and at a solid discount.
Bobby Abreu: 1 year/$6M. This is a pipe dream, and will never happen.
#3 – Possible Relievers:
Joaquin Benoit: 1 years/$2.5M
Joe Beimel: 1 year/$2M
LaTroy Hawkins: 1 year/$3.5M
Bob Howry: 1 year/$2M
#4 – Backup Catcher:
Miguel Olivo: 1 year/$2M. Just for fun. Anyone?
TRADES
7) Name three (or more) realistic trades that could improve the Sox team.
I don’t see the Sox making any off-season moves, nor do I think it’s a particularly good idea. If they can get some solid upside value for Jenks in the off-season (as opposed to say, the deadline) then I’d go for it. Also, given Alexei’s skill and desirability to outsiders, I might consider moving him as well, but you can’t argue with his performance/salary.
And finally:
8) Summary
Say goodbye to Dotel and Dye. Welcome John Danks with open arms and a large and long contract. Bring back Jenks, but keep a leash on ol’ tubby and don’t get too sentimental. Try and get Carlos to play DH as a preventative measure for injuries, but also in hopes to limit his poor fielding and maximize his ball smashing. If he, or the management wants to play him in the field, attend to the DH situation. Sign Nick Johnson or Jim Thome to keep the quota of old, injured, OBP specialists up to par. Find someone to replace Dye. Endy Chavez is cheap, and a great fielder. Abreu is great, but might be out of price range. Find someone on the cheap, preferably a good fielder. When all else fails, swallow hard and sign Scott Podsednik, just not for much. Find a reliever to replace Dotel. Joaquin Benoit strikes a ton of people out, but has injury issues (and wildness). Consider vets like Hawkins or Howry (even Beimel), who are basically peers of Dotel, and cheaper. Sign Olivo as a backup catcher for laughs. Hold pat in the off season unless Brian Sabean comes knocking and wants to trade Matt Cain for Alex Rios, in which case, go ahead and do it. Then, win the division. Any questions?
*********************************
Arizona Fall League:

  • Saturday: Peoria 12, Surprise 5
    • Justin Cassel allowed a solo homer and a walk over two innings, striking out a batter.
    • Sergio Santos pitched a 1-2-3 inning.
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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.

Articles: 3791
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iowaoaks

This might be my favorite off season assessment. Not necessarily for what you propose, but the hidden humor and sarcasm. It is right on.

jimbo

Very well thought out and very realistic given our payroll situation. Endy Chavez and or Randy Winn would improve outfield defense but really aren’t much of an upgrade over Wise. I like the idea of Quentin moving to DH which leaves two OF positions to fill. I really think Kenny will try to pick up a good hitting outfielder by trading either Jenks, prospects or a combination of Jenks/prospects to fill one of those OF spots. If that doesn’t pan out we’ll probably see Quentin in the OF and sign either Thome or Johnson for DH as you suggested.

sars

aren’t an upgrade over wise? wise is, without a doubt, one of the most inept hitters in the majors. almost zero plate discipline and almost zero power. he serves no purpose besides an extra innings pinch runner/defensive replacement. while chavez isn’t much of a hitter, he provides stellar defense and randy winn is at least a league average hitter with stellar defense. neither are comparable to dewayne wise.

knoxfire30

Abreu turned down 16 mil, you offer him 6??? Thats not a pipe dream thats just a waste of text.
I like Nick Johnson and some of those relievers but Endy Chavez couldnt play for my 12 inch softball team the way he hits. This is us cellular field, the formula is simple starting pitching, and mashing middle of the order hitters mixed in with a fairy or two to run around the bases. Losing Dye and Thome means we certainly need atleast 1 if not 2 more mashers depending on how you classify Johnson.

sars

Endy Chavez makes sense because every single one of the sox starting pitchers is a fly-ball pitcher. If the Sox are going to trot out one of the worst defensive OFs in baseball – just like they did this year – they aren’t going to *prevent* runs, which also helps in winning baseball games.

striker

I disagree that we have to have mashers. I think mashers are inconsistent and what we need is consistency at the plate. I’d rather have a .300 hitter that hits 20 hr cleaning up than a .240 hitter that hits 35 hr (Thome). My favorite Sox cleanup hitter of my time is still Julio Franco, who was not a masher.

timmeh

Hideki Matsui fits that bill.

paul

I solve the OF defense, the big bat problem, and shore up the bullpen once Jim posts my post season plan….but at a fairly high cost. The payroll ends up greater than 2009 but a good bit less than 2008.
Stay tuned! 🙂

marshlands

#1 – Abreu made $5M last year.
#2 – I’m not sure how you can automatically assume success using a formula that’s made the playoffs three times this decade. Yeah!

jimbo

Hey Knox, you mentioned Randy Winn in your plan. If Winn can play for your 12 inch softball team, Chavez should be able to. They are about the same players. The only championship for the sox in my lifetime was built on pitching and defense, with an average offense and a fairy or two.

knoxfire30

IM IN SHOCK, over the “we need a good defensive left fielder” position so many people have taken.
Are you guys all serious??? LF is basically the NL DH because the only requirement is can you hit.
Endy Chavez, Jeremey Reed, Ryan Sweeney, might as well bring Brian Anderson back, seeesh, one week with any of those light hitting guys in the lineups and the boo birds will be out, one week TOPS!!!!!

knoxfire30

Look at randy winns career numbers please, he is 1 full season removed from being a high quality bat who ALSO plays good defense, he doesnt just specialize at one.

knoxfire30

In case your wondering winn 762 career ops compared to chavez’s 679. Winn in 08 a 305 ave, 363 obp, 790 ops, not a bad guy to take a flier on. Chavez career utility guy who cant pick up a 30 once bat let alone swing it with authority. Lets stop comparing guys who arent comparable.

jimbo

How did they compare last year? How old is Winn? I’d rather have Winn than Chavez too, but barely. To say they aren’t comparable players, especially at this stage of Winn’s career, is crazy.

paul

I have to agree, Abreu turned down 2 year, 16 million. I don’t think he’ll get much more though, maybe 9 or 10 million a year. He was a steal last year for 5+ million, as was Orlando Hudson. I thought their deals were basically aberrations when they were made, and that was confirmed during this last season.
Also, Johnny Damon is another option to Abreu. The Yankees will probably only keep one of Matsui or Damon, so at least one of those two should be available.

marshlands

Yeah, I wouldn’t classify Nick Johnson as a masher, you know, given his 8 home runs this past year. But he serves a purpose (on base).
As does Endy Chavez. I know fielding isn’t sexy, but it helps, and given the market and the Sox payroll, it wouldn’t be horrible.
Glancing back over the FA for outfielders, I probably should have included Hideki Matsui or Mike Cameron. Both within reach money-wise (assuming Matsui settles for less-than Yankees money). But damn, sign Cameron!

conor

Isn’t Olivo’s value at its highest during a bench clearing brawl? Kind of like Farnsworth?

pander

Precisely. We need an anti-Ventura.
I can’t believe Abreu is so cheap. I seem to think of him as a Magglio-level money player. If he can be got for under $10M/yr, it’d be foolish not to get him. I just get antsy thinking about Nick Johnson. Nice numbers, and he has been healthy 3 of the past 4 years…but still…he seems ready to implode.
I agree we need a defensive outfielder, but is Chavez the guy? Past 31 years old…I’d rather get a cheapy AAAA rangey outfielder. I’m sure we have like a dozen of them in our system, that’s the White Sox drafting bust hallmark.

marshlands

@pander – Yeah, never thought the day would come when I sit back and think, “Oh man, how did we ever get rid of Ryan Sweeney…”

pander

I was actually wondering if Jeremy Reed could be gotten on the cheap. From my eyeballing he’s got better fielding numbers than Chavez and SHOULD be cheaper. I don’t think he’s a FA though, so we might have to trade, which seems silly.
Siiiiiiigh.

pander

Waitaminute, you’re saying Kenny Williams would have trouble getting Gio Gonzalez back?
The guy’s basically Kenny’s yo-yo.

Chris Pummer

I like the idea of bringing in Mike Cameron. He’s still a very good player and probably won’t break the bank. I’d rather spend $20 million for 2 years on him than Bobby Abreu.
And instead of bringing Endy Chavez or Jeremy Reed, I’d much rather see the Sox get someone who can hit and play a little defense. Maybe the Royals want to dump David DeJesus and his contract? They’ve got no aversion to trading with the Sox.
Yea… I think I like the idea of a DeJesus-Cameron-Rios outfield with Q moving to DH. Cameron and DeJesus even help give this team a boost in it’s OBP, which guys like Chavez and Reed just can’t.

marshlands

Guys I think I figured it out, huge plan overhaul — I talked with KW, and it seems like this year the Sox are going to target all of the guys in MLB who played college football. That makes for a really solid athletic foundation. So first, we have to trade for Helton. Then we need to dig up Joe “Big Bomb” Borchard, re-aquire Jerry Owens, Darin Erstad, etc. Anyone else? Wait, where HAS Herbert Perry been??

striker

crickets