Joey Fats’s Offseason Plan
I spend a lot of time playing Out Of The Park Baseball with White Sox franchises (if you’re writing your own plan and you’ve never played the game, seriously, play around with it). Obviously there’s a difference between the game and real life, but I think the biggest difference it makes between this plan and others already published is that I don’t feel as bad cutting players loose.
My goal is to come in around .500 (tall order), and at the highest reaches, be competitive in August and September. So, here goes.
Arbitration-eligible (with projected salaries from MLBTR):
José Abreu – $16 million: tender. Easier than it looks, I think. Seems like a pretty anemic season compared to his past performances: despite being our All-Star rep, a career-low OBP, OPS, WAR. Granted, he missed about 30-ish games. Two ideas weigh in favor of giving him this money: 1) realistically, what major FA is going to sign with the White Sox for this money knowing where the team is, and 2) that un-quantifiable positive effect he has on his teammates. In any case, real or imagined, no way he doesn’t come back.
Avisaíl García – $8 million: non-tender. That average just had to come down this year. And after he missed time, we saw it happen. Losing 94 points in batting average has got to be attributed to the 121 point drop in BABIP. It was nice while it lasted. Just looking at the optics (26.5% K to 5.2% BB, 0.3 WAR) makes it really hard to want to commit $8 million to Avi. With our corner outfielders being Delmonico, Palka, and Jimenez incoming, it just doesn’t work. Sorry, but good hunting.
Yolmer Sánchez – $4.7 million: tender. Ideally I would like to negotiate this down to the lower 4 mil range, but since he was our highest WAR position player, I’ll just accept this figure.
Carlos Rodón – $3.7 million: tender
Matt Davidson – $2.4 million: tender. Worth the HRs and (possible) RP outings? I want to see!
Leury García – $1.9 million: non-tender. After Engel wins the Gold Glove, Garcia becomes the odd man out (even with Avi being non-tendered), especially when Eloy makes it to Chicago.
Impending Free Agents
Miguel González (2018 salary: $4.75 million): release
Hector Santiago (2018 salary: $2 million): re-sign at same amount. If he’s willing, keep this guy on. 103 K’s in 102 IP (which is a shitload of innings-eating obv), and even though that BB and HR/9 rate is a bit above our other relief options, Hector is a solid enough guy to ride through at least the first half. Maybe he lowers that BB rate and we get something for him in July.
Danny Farquhar (2018 salary: $1.05 million): release
Ryan LaMarre (2018 salary: $585,000): release
Rob Scahill (2018 salary: $550,000): release
James Shields: pick up $16 million option/buy out for $2 million: buy out
Nate Jones: pick up $4.65 million option/buy out for $1.25 million: pick up
Already done, but would concur with these decisions.
When I took a look at our 2019 possible rosters in the OOTP game, the biggest question marks came here:
a) Corner infield. Abreu, Sanchez, and Davidson are our marks here, and it’s possible Abreu goes away mid-season when we don’t re-sign him to a multi-year deal. Davidson, although better, ends up still kind of a question mark. We’re rotating all three of them through 1B, 3B, and DH. It would be nice to have another solid, proven option in these spots.
b) Bullpen. In this area, I want a late-inning guy we can rely on. There was another offseason plan that mentioned shut-down multi-inning relievers; nabbing one would be idea. He won’t come cheap, whoever he is, but we’ve (ostensibly) got the room for one and we need it to even sniff competitive play.
c) Lefty starter. Every team in the Central with the exception of Detroit fared about 30-50 OPS points worse against lefty pitchers than righties. Fry and Bummer had good raw numbers from the pen this year, but another lefty besides Rodon would really help step up our game.
Yangervis Solarte: 1 year, $1.4 mil AAV: So, Solarte looked real good in the early going and then his OPS just plain fell off. He finished the year with a -0.7 WAR. Some of that might be attributed to a career-low .233 BABIP, down from .270 (still awfully low). Here, we get a utility guy that comes to a mildly hitter-friendly park, can play and bat anywhere, and still fields well. If he turns out an uptick season, great. If not, it’s a small loss. I just don’t think we’ll fare much better in the corner infield market for the money with what’s available.
Jesse Chavez: 2 years, $5 mil AAV: Here’s a great mid to long-relief arm coming off one of his best years, even at age 34. His pitching line for both the Rangers and Cubs last year was 8.7/1.6/1.2. That’s nasty numbers. He started as many as 21 games for the Angels just one year ago, so we know he can go multiple innings. According to a Fangraphs article around this year’s deadline, we learned that he’s ditched his two-curve repetoire for a one-slider hold, and focusing on putting his stuff down in the zone. This sounds like just what we need in a righty back-of-the-pen guy. I’m high on him and I’m gunning for him early, as most teams did with relievers last year.
Hyun-Jin Ryu: 3 years, $13 mil AAV; J.A. Happ, same offer: I group these two men together because I think they would require the same amount of money. I know Ryu had some health concerns this year, and I know that Happ will have the Yankees chasing after him. But these are two solid lefty starters that, as noted above, would bolster this rotation very well without going overboard on a premium free agent. Either of these men would fill the void left by Kopech’s injury very nicely for the next couple years and serve as a backstop of sorts if one of the Giolito-Lopez duo has trouble to start off. At the same time, they’re filling the void Shields has left us, so a guy in this spot is sorely needed.
Trade Luis Alexander Basabe and Kodi Medeiros to the Atlanta Braves for Austin Riley.
I had planned to propose a similar trade in last year’s offseason plan. Our system has good corner outfield prospects, but none of them will be ready for quite a while. I’d like to have Austin as a Matt Davidson with a better batting eye (.346 OBP through 324 PAs in triple-A) ready to come through if and when Solarte leaves the area. I think it’s going to take two top-30 prospects for that prospect swap (and perhaps another guy that ATL would like) to get that done, but I think this is a deal that could be done.
I don’t include a trade for a big-name player here because I don’t think management is going to put us in that position.
C Omar Narvaez, $560k
1B Jose Abreu, $16 mil
2B Yoan Moncada, $560k
3B Yolmer Sanchez, $4.7 mil
SS Tim Anderson, $1.4 mil
OF Eloy Jimenez, $560k
OF Adam Engel, $552k
OF Daniel Palka, $560k
DH Matt Davidson, $2.4 mil
C Welington Castillo, $7.25 mil
IF Yangervis Solarte, $1.4 mil
OF Nicky Delmonico, $553k
UTIL (Jose Rondon, Eddy Alvarez, Rule V claim)
This is assuming Eloy makes the team out of Spring Training (which obv he should). The 13th position is probably open and I wouldn’t be surprised if the team, like last year, picked someone up via waivers or the Rule V draft. In the interim, Alvarez had a nice triple-A year and Rondon has the MLB experience.
P J.A. Happ/Hyun-Jin Ryu $13 mil
P Carlos Rodon $3.7 mil
P Lucas Giolito $555k
P Reynaldo Lopez $555k
P Dylan Covey $555k
R Jesse Chavez $5 mil
R Nate Jones $4.65 mil
L Jace Fry $555k
L Aaron Bummer $555k
Competitors: Infante, Minaya, Vieira, Hamilton, Burr, Frare, Fulmer, Ruiz, Stephens, Adams, Clark, Thompson, Goldberg; I really think it would be folly to predict how the rest of the bullpen is filled apart from the above four proven commodities. If I had to guess, it would be Minaya, Vieira, Fulmer/Hamilton but that’s a complete guess. We could pick up someone via waivers or Rule V. It’s just too early to speculate on that.
I came in around $68 million. This is obviously very low and I believe part of this is the schism between the game I simulated this in and real life. But honestly, I would be surprised if we spent in excess of $15 million over this mark. Management knows where we are in the process and what has resulted from the last year, and I just don’t think expending big money to get from 62 to 92 wins in their mind is either a) realistic, or b) a good use of the money. I’m in favor of nudging things along to where we should have been by this point and seeing where things are at various points in the year. At this point in the rebuild, after where last season left us, I feel like this money is better spent on development, draft picks, IFAs, that kind of thing.
The only real place I feel like I could have spent more is the bullpen. However, I think that there’s enough young talent that will be placed there, needing experience, that the “next man up” strategy could provide fruitful. Let’s see what happens.
Thank you for your time. -JF
This was posted before Ryu received the QO; if he declines, would certainly be willing to up the offer to get him here for three years.
This lineup would be a bit of a disappointment since you returned all the starters with the exception of Eloy. Do you think Eloy and Happ are worth a combined 20 wins?