The landscape of baseball and the White Sox makeup is far different now than it was a year ago. The good news is the big money moves the Sox made worked (Grandal and Keuchel), and the moves that didn’t (Encarnacion/Mazara/Gonzalez) have a minimal financial impact ($500k buyout for Gio). They are a playoff team, and should be a playoff team moving forward. As someone who once worked for Jerry Reinsdorf and received an invoice for $10.27 for making long distance calls to Milwaukee during non-Covid times, I don’t see the Sox spending anything above $135 million. But, there’s still moves to be made, let’s dig in!
- Nomar Mazara
- Carlos Rodón
- Yolmer Sánchez
All three are easy and straightforward decisions. If Rodon goes some where else and gets healthy (Marlins), I expect to see him in a Sox uniform again some day. We’ll save that for the 2028 Offseason Plan.
- Lucas Giolito: $5.3M
- Reynaldo López: $2.2M
- Evan Marshall: $1.9M
- Adam Engel: $1.4M
- Jace Fry: $1M
- Total: $11.8 M
Marshall and Giolito both deserve long term deals, but this won’t be the offseason for that. Engel is perfectly fine as a fourth outfielder and at a reasonable price. There’s no point in non-tendering Jace Fry, he’s a lefty and any upgrade would cost more than his arb price tag. There’s Lopez fatigue building, but again, at that price tag, you tender him and either hope he’s your fifth starter or convert him to a bullpen arm.
- Edwin Encarnación: Decline
- Gio González: Decline, $500K buyout
- Leury García: Decline, $250K buyout
- Total: $750K
In other news, the sun rose again this morning. To me, all three are no brainers. I like Leury as a Swiss Army Knife, but not with his injury history and $3.5 million option.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- Alex Colomé Walk
- James McCann Walk
- Jarrod Dyson Walk
It’s the right time to let Colome walk. It’s better to be a season too early than a season too late. If the Sox were to give Colome a multi-year deal, the regret on those last years would be painful. I love James McCann, works hard, productive, seems like a great teammate, but he deserves the three year/$30 million deal that’s coming his way, it just won’t be with the Sox.
- Manager: C. Montgomery Burns
- Pitching coach: Waylon Smithers
Burns is in the LaRussa age bracket at least and has shown he can manage big leaguers. Smithers has helped talk through big league players out of difficult situations. (Honestly, your guess is as good as mine…as long as the only title Tony LaRussa gets is Assistant to the Assistant General Manager)
No. 1: Erik Kratz, one year, $900k
I’m blatantly stealing this from Josh Nelson. The list of free agent back up catchers for the Sox is meh. The options that are decent are too expensive. The other options are old and cheap. We’re going old and cheap here.
No. 2: Tommy LaStella, two years, $8M total
The new Swiss Army Knife for the Sox, he’ll be a bit more expensive than Leury, but without as much injury concern. Of the Swiss Army available, LaStella may come the least expensive compared to Villar/Galvis. This roster spot needs someone who hit can hit lefthanded and is versatile in the field.
No. 3: Trevor Bauer, 5 years, $142M
Do I think the Sox will do this? In the confines of the budget I’ve constructed, yes, they absolutely can do it. Would they ever go to a five year deal for a pitcher, at this price range? No. But if they realistically want to win it all, this is the move they would have to make to go for it. Remember all the years the Sox didn’t spend? Remember the team friendly deals they have now that go out future years for Anderson/Moncada/Jimenez/Robert? This is the payoff for those moves.
TOTAL: $33 M
No. 1: Trade Michael Kopech to the Los Angeles Angels for Shoehi Ohtani.
It’s funny to me that the Sox have a surplus of starting pitching, yet still need a starter or two. It’s tough for me to see the Sox trade Kopech. His MLB debut at The Rate was electric and the thought of seeing that every fifth day into the future would be awesome. This is a gamble on both sides, the Angels need starting pitching desperately, and the Sox make this move for Ohtani’s bat. Ohtani hasn’t played the outfield since 2014 in Japan, but he’s going to be playing RF for the Sox. Ohtani is the best bargain in baseball ($2.5 million in 2021, two additional years of Arb control there after).
Total: $2.5 M
Bauer, Giolito, Keuchel, Dunning, Cease ($53M)
Bummer (Closer), Fry, Foster, Marshall, Cordero, Crochet, Heuer, Lopez ($10M)
Grandal, Kratz ($19M)
Moncada, Anderson, Abreu, Vaughn, Madrigal, Mendick ($34M)
Robert, Jimenez, Ohtani, Engel, LaStella ($16M)
This assembled roster ends up at $132M, which I feel is about right where the Sox want to be. There’s some boldness to these moves, with relying on the bulk of the roster to improve on its own (which it should). If the world calms down and things open up, this gives payroll flexibility to add to the roster during the season next year. The Kopech/Ohtani trade I propose solves two problems for the Sox in the 2021 season, it gets them a left handed bat with speed/power at an incredibly low price. The roster money saved by making this move (as opposed to paying George Springer $18 million a year) allows the Sox to be competitive to make the boldest move in signing Trevor Bauer. If having Bummer be the closer doesn’t work out, the Sox can get creative and try Crochet there.
Having a Bauer/Giolito/Keuchel playoff rotation would position the Sox well, and give Crochet time to stretch into a starter.
The hole that can’t be fixed here is the Sox depth. I really wanted to put Micker Adolfo on this roster as the starting RF, but remain concerned there. If the Sox didn’t call him up from Schaumburg with the way Mazara played this year, when will he come up? I gave the Sox more lineup maneuverability, and they could go righty/lefty through the first six against a right handed starter: Anderson/Grandal/Abreu/Ohtani/Jimenez/Moncada/Robert
If nothing else, this will be a weird offseason. New manager, no Coop, maybe a new radio home, no SoxFest. Hopefully it’ll be a healthy offseason for the roster (Covid seemed to cripple Moncada at times this year). Late February can’t get here soon enough for all of us.
the Ohtani idea’s pretty clever