The proverbial “window” doesn’t open until at least 2020. Machado or Harper are nice fits, but not much more than a pipe dream. Donaldson seems more likely to sign with a contender looking to win now. The White Sox have cash to burn, but should spend it wisely to avoid a Dunn/LaRoche albatross and preserve flexibility going forward.
As for the trade market, the White Sox tore it down in 2016 in large part because of a lack of depth and minor league talent to supplement their core of Sale, Q, Abreu and Eaton. Dealing a haul of our prospects for young, affordable major league pieces now puts us right back into 2016 territory. Have we learned nothing?
The 2019 offseason objective is to (i) improve the on-field product for 2019 to serve as a springboard for 2020 and beyond, and (ii) keep some powder dry to keep adding next offseason.
Write “tender” or “non-tender” after each player. Feel free to offer explanation afterward if necessary.
- Jose Abreu, $16M – tender and offer an extension in the neighborhood of three years, $54M. Abreu is the face of the team and his bat will likely remain competent for at least three more seasons. If the Sox decide to eventually move Abreu an extension may ultimately increase his trade value.
- Avisail Garcia, $8M – tender.
- Yolmer Sanchez, $4.7M – tender.
- Carlos Rodon, $3.7M – tender.
- Matt Davidson, $2.4M – tender.
- Leury Garcia, $1.9M – tender.
- Danny Farquhar, $1.4M – non-tender.
Write “pick up” or “decline” after the option.
- Nate Jones, $4.65 million/$1.25M buyout – pick up.
- James Shields, $16 million/$2M buyout – decline and try to resign at a lower amount. I will skip the exercise and just add Shields, but he is interchangeable with any other 5th starter-type veteran.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Try to retain, or let go?
- Miguel Gonzalez (made $4.75 million in 2018) – let go.
- Hector Santiago (made $2 million in 2018 — added) – let go.
List three free-agent targets you’d pursue during the offseason, with a reasonable contract. A good example of a bad idea:
No. 1: Adam Jones (two years, $26 million, team option for a third year at $18M with a $3M buyout). At 33, Jones’s best baseball is likely behind him. His 50 extra base hits last season indicate that there is still more left in the tank. By all accounts, Jones is a consummate professional. He would be another solid veteran presence to mentor the youngsters and a good stopgap in the outfield until Basabe, Robert, etc. are ready to fill out the outfield. From Jones’s perspective, the White Sox can offer money and the opportunity to play everyday in CF or RF, which it sounds like he values at this point in his career.
No. 2: Trevor Cahill (one years, $9M) – Cahill parlays a solid season with Oakland (and their stellar defense) into a hefty one-year payday. The hope is that the Sox can outbid the penny-pinching A’s for a rotation upgrade, even if it is just to make the 2019 season more palatable. In truth, I have no real read on the above average SP free agent market or strong allegiance to Cahill; any middling SP on a short-term deal works fine for me. The Sox just need another band-aide, and finding a better one would push us towards competency (and may even be an asset to flip at the deadline for a modest but potentially helpful return).
No. 3: Cody Allen/Brad Brach (3 years, $18M) – Really, any reliever with upside would help here, either as a trade chip or to stabilize the bullpen. The Sox have a plethora of intriguing bullpen-types in the minors, so this isn’t a high priority. That being said, there is room in the budget and relief pitching is always in demand at the deadline so why not?
Overall, not a franchise-altering haul. In particular, the rotation is in need of an upgrade, but I don’t see any of the top starters inking with the Sox, barring an unreasonable overpay. Also, it may be easier to attract free agents next season based on improved play and the next wave of prospects inching closer to contributing. Plus the Sox will hopefully have a better idea of their prospects/needs after another season.
Propose trades that you think sound reasonable for both sides, and the rationale behind them. A good example of a bad idea:
No. 1: Trade Leury Garcia and Nate Jones to NYY for Ronald Torreyes and a lottery ticket pitching prospect. Not exactly a blockbuster. The Yankees’ increasingly crowded infield leaves Torreyes without an everyday home. Torreyes’s 2018 slash line (.280/.294/.370 last year) is in line with Leury’s, but there may be more upside to unlock with additional playing time. Garcia has some value to the Yankees as a potential fill-in at SS while Didi recovers (assuming they tender him), but the real return is Jones, who would be a solid bullpen addition on a reasonable one-year deal (albeit one with injury risk). The Sox are teeming with potential bullpen options, so they can withstand giving up Jones and it may be wise to move him now while he isn’t injured.
- Anderson – SS
- Jones – CF
- Abreu -1B
- Garcia – RF
- Eloy -LF (Delmonico will fill this spot until mid-April)
- Palka/Davidson – DH
- Narvaez/Castillo – C
- Torreyes/Yolmer – 3B
- Moncada – 2B
Now that is a competent lineup. Maybe not good enough to rival Cleveland, but there are fewer easy outs than last year’s version. 3B is still an issue, but the Sox have the flexibility to upgrade next offseason (e.g., Arenado) or move Moncada to 3B if/when Madrigal is ready.
- Yolmer – INF
- Castillo/Narvaez – C
- Engel – OF (Engel will be a late inning defensive substitution with Jones moving to RF and Avi to the bench)
- Rondon – INF
Nothing special, but the bench won’t be the reason the Sox don’t win the Central.
Not much of an upgrade from last year, but swapping Cahill (or someone similar) for Covey at least makes the team more watchable. Speaking of Covey, he will be the long man and backup starter in case Giolito is demoted to iron out the kinks.
I picture the bullpen as the main focus for development early in the season, which may lead to some unsightly late-inning blown leads. This is one of the unfortunate parts of a rebuild. Still, Renteria should have enough options to get through the first half of the season and then reset after any deadline moves.
Overall, this 2019 incarnation of the White Sox should be more watchable, especially if you pepper in a minor league call up or three to add momentum. This team likely does not contend for a playoff spot, but the win total should increase over last year. 2019 can hopefully be a springboard year with the Sox having enough momentum, prospect development, and resources to pounce in 2019.
Interesting trade target, I don’t know that he’s any better then just playing Leury at third ourselves but he was a bigger prospect so worth a shot. This is a pretty standard wait on the prospects year plan. Cahill is a going to be a affordable value at starter I believe. Come check mine out if you don’t mind.
Sorry but adding Jones and Torreyes who are both low OBP offensive players does not make this lineup competent. Neither of those guys should be in consideration for this team. Just my opinion.
That’s a good point about OBP. I think Jones is still an offensive upgrade over Engel, despit e the modest OBP (though Engel’s defense is certainly superior to Jones’s). Torreyes is likely ends up a lateral move from Leury. Just not a ton of 3B options out there that I’d want to pay/give up prospects for just now.
I like Adam Jones, but Center field is in his rear view mirror.