So I look forward to doing these every year. Usually I am one of the first ones to send one in. This year I have been just sitting on it, trying to come up with some type of interesting original idea. I came up with all kinds of wild trade ideas for guys like Starling Marte or Robbie Ray, but in the end, none of that made sense. It all seemed to be backtracking the entire rebuild depth accumulation so in the end I came up with a pretty standard plan with ideas you’ve seen elsewhere.
I think I had to take a hard look at what 2019 really is for the Sox, and to me it’s two things. One: It is the chance to acquire a once in a generation free agent (Harper or Machado) with an almost clean payroll. Two: it’s the ramp up to the contention window. This team requires too much to contend in 2019 to acquire and really feel you have a winning club. That said if you sign Manny Machado you almost automatically make a few moves to make the team better on paper to back that up. This won’t be a 100 loss team, but it shouldn’t be a playoff team either. It’s hopefully a more competitive team, with some small term moves to give you that tiny chance at snagging a second wild card or something if everything and I mean everything breaks right. The real answer to the White Sox winning in the future though? It lies not in signing a Manny Machado but in a Dylan Cease, a Dane Dunning, a Luis Robert, a Nick Madrigal etc. I realized 2019 is not the answer here but just the path to put that talent boom in position to win. If it wasn’t a Manny Machado, it would be a year too early, but he’s 26 and we’ve got the money. When you identify that guy? You go for broke.
- Jose Abreu, $16M tender
- Avisail Garcia, $8M tender (this was super close but we don’t have anyone needing the spot and he’s too big a tease not to gamble on at that price)
- Yolmer Sanchez, $4.7M tender (welcome to the utility role you were made for)
- Carlos Rodon, $3.7M tender
- Matt Davidson, $2.4M tender (can’t believe anyone is non-tendering him after his plate patience improvements)
- Leury Garcia, $1.9M tender
- Danny Farquhar, $1.4M non-tender but a good will MILB contract worked out
- Nate Jones, $4.65 million/$1.25M buyout ALREADY PICKED-UP. Easy call for the Sox. Who knows if he will ever stay healthy but that stuff is worth the 3.4million especially considering it gives you the chance at another cheap option next year. Why did his agent have him sign this contract? He hasn’t even been healthy and it still looks like a steal.
- James Shields, $16 million/$2M buyout buy-out & re-sign below
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Try to retain, or let go?
- Miguel Gonzalez (made $4.75 million in 2018) let-go; good luck Miguel hope you pitch again some day… somewhere
List three free-agent targets you’d pursue during the offseason, with a reasonable contract. A good example of a bad idea:
- Manny Machado 8 years 300 million (opt out after 3-120) The big fish. I really believe the Sox go all-out for Manny this year. I have no idea their real odds but I think they see him as a guy they want to carry the franchise into the next phase. Hopefully the rumors are true that he cost himself some money with his attitude because honestly this looked a little light a month ago. I also am hoping he is willing to play third again. If the Sox do not land Machado? I feel it will be a much quieter offseason honestly, but once you land him you need to follow it up a little.
- J.A. Happ 2 years 28 million team option 3rd for 15 with a 2 million buy-out. Rather then throw 100 million at Corbin or Kuechel with huge red flags let’s sign a lefty starter who is just as likely to be as productive for 25% of that. He may cost slightly more after how good he was with the Yankees, in which case I would go a little higher. Happ makes a good bridge to the next batch of Sox starters and we can count on him for close to 200 innings.
- Cody Allen 1 year 10 million mutual option for 10 million. Cody picked the wrong year to have an off year. He falls into the Sox lap as a nice pillow contract to give him the closer role and let him regain his value. Gives us an experienced veteran to close out games and a potential trade chip depending how the year goes.
- Tony Sipp 1 year 4.5 million team option 5 million. Let’s add a solid lefty to the pen and hope he stops doing that ‘every other year I’m good crap)
- James Shields 1 year 4 million. Yeah I did it. No better value in the world for a 200 inning fifth starter then to bring back James who wants to be back.
No. 1: Trade Leury Garcia & Spencer Adams to the Oakland A’s for OF Nick Martini. The A’s have a log jam of outfielders and I would love to take one of their hands. I don’t think Martini’s stock is that high since he didn’t make the majors until 28 and was never a top prospect but I love his OBP profile. He’s played CF a little (although I don’t know how great he grades there) but I figure it makes more sense to take a small trade gamble on him to keep a seat warm then pay a non CF like McCutchen or overpay a Pollock when you have a plethora of outfield prospects. I think A’s may bite because Garcia looks like a controlled super useful utility guy on a contending team and Adams is a guy in a roster crunch with us I added who I thought they might be interested in to make it work.
(Let’s just start with the lineup after Eloy is called up in April)
- Martini CF
- Moncada 2b
- Machado 3b
- Abreu 1b
- Jimenez LF
- Palka/Davidson DH
- Garcia RF
- Narvaez/Castillo C
- Anderson SS
(Hopefully we can get by with a 12 man pitching group with Covey in there with long man potential because I love having Davidson and Palka)
In conclusion: Everything breaks right and you get earlier then expected call-ups from say Cease or Basabe you might see some miracle run to mid 80’s wins and flirting with something. Basically though? 2019 is acquiring a superstar for the prime of his career and watching another year of your prospects grow. Find out what is legit down there. So many big prospects can take huge steps this year or fall backwards, we need that info before we trade any prospect capital. I think we will be ready to make a run in 2020 from the additional homegrown talent that’s ready, to those we deem expendable and trade for a few more win-now pieces. For now? It’s an exciting year of watching the organization grow and enjoying your new superstar.
Team Salary: I don’t think I went overboard but I may have slightly went over the figure requested. It’s okay, we just get Jerry drunk before pitching it. I fully expect the Sox to be operating a contract at least in the mid-range when we finally get things rolling anyways.
Record Range: 74-88 to 88-74. 81-81 expected
Nick Martini – interesting target! Looking at the A’s roster it does look like they’re missing a UT Infielder so this trade may work.
Martini is a local guy too (Crystal Lake), albeit he grew up a Cubs fan.
Even better (minus the Cub fan)
Really like the Nick Martini idea! That’s an outside the box thought. This team is short a bat (in RF, as I’d upgrade Avi) and one good SP. I do like the Cody Allen signing….you can’t always sign the “Hot” free agent, sometimes you gotta buy the ugly toys for cheaper and you get a big rewards. Also a big fan of JA Happ, the terms are short enough given his age where you can harness the last value out of him.
I like the Nick Martini target too. Happ would be a nice addition too, but I think he will prioritize signing with a contender. Overall, I’d be happy with this result, especially if the Sox can land Machado.