Adam Engel was the White Sox’ best shot at bringing home some hardware, but the Gold Glove is one thing he couldn’t run down.
Instead, the award for center field was handed to Jackie Bradley Jr., a deserving first-time winner in his own right. Engel had an uphill climb against both Bradley and Mike Trout, starting with name recognition and past achievements. But it’s also fair to say that that the Gold Glove-caliber version of Engel didn’t show up until a couple months into the season, so he could’ve done more to help his cause.
Had Engel played a strong six months of defense, there would be more grounds for objection. As it stands, being named a finalist while posting a .614 OPS over 463 plate appearances — both career highs — was already a significant achievement.
With the awards announced, the Society for American Baseball Research posted the final numbers for the SABR Defensive Index, the metric that accounts for 25 percent of the voting. Engel got a nod, of course, and the left side of the infield fared well enough, but the other qualifiers left a lot to be desired.
The numbers (with AL rank):
- P: James Shields and Reynaldo Lopez, 0.4 (t-17th out of 31)
- P: Lucas Giolito, -0.9 (30th out of 31)
- C: Omar Narvaez, -8.4 (14th out of 15)
- 1B: Jose Abreu, -3.3 (ninth out of 10)
- 2B: Yoan Moncada, -10.6 (last out of 15)
- 3B: Yolmer Sanchez, 4.4 (third out of 13)
- SS: Tim Anderson, 2.4 (eighth out of 15)
- CF: Adam Engel, 2.9 (fourth of of 11)
The numbers at second base could be one reason why Rick Hahn is open to the idea of a position switch for Moncada:
Hahn said Yoan Moncada is open to a position change "but we're going to wait to see how this offseason plays out before we fully commit to any reconfiguring of the infield. It's a possibility and if it were to happen we'd likely firm that up before we head to spring training."
— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) November 3, 2018
In looking up this tweet, I found another one from Daryl Van Schouwen in September where Hahn offered his season-ending summary of Moncada’s defense:
Hahn on Moncada: "He has made a great deal of progress at second base. I also think he has the athleticism to be an above-average defender at other positions. It's a subject for further conversation but as he sits here today, I am pleased with the progress … at second base."
— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) September 26, 2018
Hahn also used “pleased” to describe his response to Zack Burdi’s rehab progress, so he might use lean on that word the way the doctor on Seinfeld used “breathtaking.”
* * * * * * * * *
Ken Rosenthal is here to get your hopes up:
Rebuilding teams such as the Reds and White Sox, finally tired of losing 95-plus games, are likely to spend and maybe even spend big. One rival executive views the White Sox as a sleeper for Machado, whom they pursued heavily in a trade last offseason.
While a megacontract has not been part of the White Sox playbook, Hahn seems intent on avoiding the same mistakes he made in the rebuild. The chief error: scattering a large amount of money on players more likely to be average than great, and one of them was Adam LaRoche.
The problem, as we discussed in the comments a couple of days ago, is that the White Sox are too far away from contending to have a chance at coming away unscathed from an early opt-out. Considering he’s just 26 years old, he may want another bite at the apple two years from now, so the White Sox would have to come up with a contract he would never think of leaving.
I suppose Jason Heyward exists as a cautionary tale for Machado. Heyward reportedly took less guaranteed money to sign with the Cubs because they were willing to include a pair of opt-outs after the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He didn’t use the first one, and considering he’s been average at best over his three years on the North Side, he won’t do better than the four years and $86 million left on the deal after the second chance to escape.
(Heyward might also be a warning against any kind of free agent expenditure, but Machado has four consecutive 30-homer seasons to buoy his value, whereas Heyward’s standout WAR totals relied heavily on corner outfield defense.)
The obstacles are significant, but given Machado’s age and his easy fit on both the depth chart and payroll, it makes sense for the White Sox to give it their all…
… as long as they acknowledge and prepare for the other flaw in the first rebuild, which was an unwillingness to invest a second round. After the 2015 White Sox came up short of .500, the Sox were largely inactive the following offseason, all the way down to retaining a lame-duck Robin Ventura. Machado isn’t going to get the White Sox to a wild card by himself, so spending out of rebuild will require maybe two kinds of commitments they haven’t been able to stomach.
Sign Machado and put him at 2B because that would be an incredibly fun double-play combination with Anderson.
Double plays was one area where Moncada excelled, if I’m not mistaken.
Even if Machado would leave after 2 or 3 years, the Sox have to bank on the fact that he will give them instant legitimacy going forward. Spending big this winter and being a definite contender in 2020 is important. Then, even if Machado leaves in 2 or 3 years, now others will see the Sox are real players in free agency and that $30-$35 million Machado leaves on the table to opt out can be used in other ways. But it starts this winter with showing that the Sox are serious about winning now.
Or the White Sox could prove to free agents they’re serious about signing free agents by just signing free agents.
I don’t get this extra step of having to prove you’re legitimate, like me having to find a grocery store to ostentatiously buy expensive groceries to prove to other grocers I’m serious about buying groceries.
I agree 100 percent with you. That’s what my main point is. They need to sign Machado- that would prove they’re serious. Then if he does opt out, they could use the money he left on the table to bring in other free agents.
What are you agreeing with? I don’t understand throwing huge money at a player they don’t seem ready to utilize just yet, and who will most likely opt out before they’re competitive.
If they throw huge money at Arenado next year, and present as a team that looks on the verge of a 5-year competitive run, do you think Arenado won’t take that money because nobody else did it first?
I bet you that Arenado is extended this year by the Rockies. He won’t hit the free agency.
I’m agreeing with your first statement. They could prove to free agents that they’re serious by just signing free agents. They don’t have to prove they’re legitimate first- they just need to go out and sign either Machado or Harper now. If they sign one of them and a couple of more mid-tier free agents and expect improvement from Giolito and Moncada, plus add Eloy and maybe Cease, who says they can’t be competitive this year? Have you seen our division? And the Indians are talking about trading some of their stars. It’s there for the taking, starting this year.
I think Harper or Machado would opt out after one competitive year, and the way players are conducting themselves, everyone’s going to arbitration and free agency, so there will be a few top tier free agents every one of the next four seasons, or so.
Right. Players opting out of their deals is techinically inherrently bad, because it means you’re missing out on excess value. However, it frees up that money that can be spent elsewhere, and usually means you at least got god production out of the player while he was with you.
I like the idea to move Yoan Moncada to the outfield. He just does not seem to have the hands of an infielder.
I think Moncada could play third because it’s less demanding on hands. A lot of his errors came on plays where he had to throw to second after ranging toward first, or getting into throwing position to first on a play in short right field. There are fewer angles to cover at third base, so I’m open to that idea.
Question: If the White Sox sign Manny, and he opts out after 2 years (think of him signing an opt-out contract), can the White Sox offer a QO?
It’s a long play to get an extra 2nd round pick!
I know it’s pie in the sky, but if the Sox signed Machado but he insisted on playing SS, how would they reshuffle guys? Tim to 2B & Moncada to 3b? Tim to the OF?
Machado’s value is diminished if he plays at SS (i.e. he is a better 3B). If he wants to play SS, he will (should) receive less money, and that will be dumb.
Hire one of Milwaukee’s analytics crew to devise the kinds of shifts that make position names irrelevant.
I was thinking about this today, and I like your thought about Anderson at 2B and Moncada to 3B.
The insistence on playing SS, I feel, was play to broaden his market. I would bet he knows 3B is his home, but didn’t want to put teams out of the running just by position availability.
You’re probably right, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a contingency plan in place just in case if that’s the deciding factor.
Yea, absolutely I don’t know if having three players out of position is worth bending over backwards.
I have been all in on Machado despite all the “character” stuff the post season has provided.
that said, if a team is offering 300M and the only reason he doesn’t want it is because he wants to play SS than 3B, than I’d let him go suck at SS for someone else.
Trade or non tender avi, eat half of castillos contract and move him… thats about 53-55 mil, sign both harper and machado even if its 40 mil a year each *(i think it will be much closer to 35) thats a 135 mil payroll… the freaking indians have managed a 150 mil payroll twice, and the cubs astros dodgers yanks redsox all spend a lot more then that, stop pretending you want to contend and go out and prove it
Fangraphs crowdsource estimates are in for free agents and I’m shocked at how little people are expecting Grandal to get. McDaniel gave him $39/3 and the median crowdsource was $45/4.
That’d be an absolute steal
Agree. Grandal has the potential to provide Machado-like value for far less. If the White Sox are intent on avoiding the mega-contract, Grandal is the avenue to that tier of production… more of it would just come in the form of fooling umpires instead of more conventionally-visible things.
I’ll bet you a beer Grandal takes the QO
Just mind-blowing that a player who’s averaged ~4 WAR for the last three seasons would take a one-year deal that pays him like a ~2 WAR player. Not saying your wrong. It’s just crazy that that’s how he’s viewed.
Tyler Flowers has been incredibly underpaid. It seems that being a good framer does not add $$….just strikes
I guess, I felt with the contract that the Twins offered Castro a few years back that the league was maybe coming around to paying for framing.
Castro is only a ~2 WARP catcher and he’s still underpaid at $8M/yr, more in line with his lower WAR totals.
Tyler Flowers last played for the WS in 2015, and yet I read his name here every day.
For the love of God, let it go.
sigh…you are right
I wish I could write a similar phrase like this….”Rick Hahn last managed for the White Sox in 20XX….”
I’ll let it go when the White Sox acquire and deploy a league-average catcher.
So 15 more years of Tyler Flowers pining.
at least you seem to grasp the severity of the problem
That problem is way, way, way down the list for me.
You don’t mind that the team consistently employs replacement-level (or worse) catchers?
once again far down the list. The mess in the outfield is number one I guess.
If only we had like, the best outfield prospect depth in the major leagues.
See, a problem we can solve.
As far as catching, we know who they are this year as well as the next two in line. No amount of me worrying is going to change that.
I believe in Jimenez. The rest, I don’t know. They’re all All-Stars?
How DARE you for not believing in Zack Collins!
Sorry, can you explain the joke, I couldn’t quite catch it
I’ll wager $100,000 or a game-worn Tyler Flowers jersey that pholes won’t let the argument end even if the Sox get a league-average catcher.
Okay, discussion. I can look at Narvaez’s WAR of 1.9 in 2018 compared with Flower’s 0.6, and his surprisingly effective left-handed bat, and his much younger age and far lower salary, and the fact Flowers probably won’t catch more than 85 games a year over the rest of his career, and I can “argue” that the Flowers love on this site is over-the-top.
Sure, if you look at at Baseball Reference WAR, a stat that conveniently ignores everything Narvaez is terrible at and ignores Flowers’ greatest strength.
Okay can I use Fangraphs WAR of 2.1 for Narvaez in 2018 and 1.2 for Flowers?
What about Narvaez’s age, salary, hit tool, durability, actual games played going forward, potential for defensive improvement – does any of that matter?
I see Flowers had a 0.3 WARP in his age 27 year while Narvaez had a 0.4 at age 26. Maybe there’s hope?
Jon Paul Morosi is saying the White Sox are interested in both Machado and Harper.
I would assume every team would be “interested.”
But hardly anyone has the payroll flexibility the Sox have. There are probably going to be no more than 5 or 6 teams in on either one of them.
I’m officially at the the point where the sox need to sign one of Harper, Machado, Corbin or Grandal in order to prove that they’re legit on wanting to win. We have so much payroll and it wouldn’t even matter if we overspend for a legit difference maker player.
I feel like an idiot, but I really have a hard time wrapping my head around the downside/risk of these signings with regards to these two guys and the opt outs. If they signed either, they’re sending a positive message to the fan base (we’re not hoarding all this money, we just believe in paying for the best and not past performance). You sell tickets, you give your franchise a face to allow the Eloy’s, Cease’s and others not to be looked at as franchise saviors the minute they are called up, and you obviously are instantly a handful of wins better.
They sign Harper and a few other guys to fill holes that aren’t as expensive of course. They win in the high 70s and then maybe a couple of games over .500 in 2020, which doesn’t seem pie in the sky if you look at what KC/Det will be running out there, and that the Cle defections begin this offseason (Brantley/Allen/Miller/Kipnis) and those guys will be followed. Harper opts out, and of course that sucks, but what actual damage is done? Fans will be fans and blame the player (“300 mil not enough for this guy?) and the resources from the departure can be used to help offset the loss.
If we were looking at stuff through the usuals (95 wins, Free agents already 29-30), this stuff makes all the sense in the world. However, with guys their age at FA, and with a division that could be wide open in the not too distant future, who knows?
Couldn’t say it better. I see no downsides either.
I fear an opt out after 2-3 years when contention is hopefully starting to happen. The player/agent has all the control at that point (player was good enough those 3 years to warrant a larger contract & he player is now viewed as the face of the franchise). Ownership pretty much has no choice but to give the player another contract into their nearly 40’s that REALLY becomes an albatross.
Yeah, it seems like the only way for a team to come out ahead with a player opt-out is if the entire front office is under a blood oath to quit while they’re ahead. “We appreciated you giving us the opportunity to sign you to a three-year deal, best of luck.” And the benefit of that would be minimized if they’re not that close to contention.
Melido makes a good case for the intangible factors there, and it could work out if the Sox are willing to commit to a second round of investing, whether it’s extending the player or finding other talent. But other teams would definitely get more out of the pre-opt-out part.
Nice game for Basabe (on base 4 times, stolen base, assist) and Robert (2 hits). Both avoided striking out.
how come my offseason plan won’t publish…..it just says “pending” for a day now
Sorry, I missed that notification. It’s up now.