Hello brothers and sisters! This is my first time doing the SOX Machine Offseason Plan Project. That said, I’m a huge roster projection nerd, so I thought this seemed fun!
Following the Sox explosive 2020 where they had the 162 game equivalent of 94 wins, the boys are firmly entering their window. With that said, I expect the Sox to start filling the few remaining holes on the roster, most notably RF and a SP. Further, in regard to RF, I’m thinking Management might be tired of bullshit, so I’m thinking they might make a commitment to a top guy for that position this year. While I’m hoping they do the same for a SP, I’m doubting it do to all the effort the club made building system-depth at the position, and because I don’t think they’ll make two huge splashes in the current year because they just did last year.
My closing statement for my preamble is that this post is meant to reflect what I believe the Sox will do, not what I genuinely hope they do. With that said, here we go!
- Nomar Mazara: NON-TENDER
- This low-risk, medium-reward gamble just didn’t work out. I’m going to be pissed if our sweet boy Steele turns into a major league contributor (obviously good for him, but not for my mental health).
- Carlos Rodón: NON-TENDER
- While this may seem like a no-brainer, I imagine there will be serious discussions in the front office around this decision. Despite his struggles, Rodon will enter 2021 “healthy” (I put it in quotes, because I genuinely believe the pitcher the Sox drafted in the first round is gone), and healthiness is valuable. Further, the guy has been with the organization for years now, and the Sox value loyalty. All this said, however, I think the Sox will ultimately decide to cut the cord, finding a better use for the $4.5Mish they’d otherwise burn on Los.
- Lucas Giolito: TENDER | $5.0M
- While the Sox have began a trend of extending the core through their arbitration years, I simply don’t see it for Giolito; they’ve just been burned too many times with injuries to their pitching staff to feel safe enough doing so, and Rick is showing us he’s all about certainty (Mazara doesn’t count because it was a low-risk, medium-reward gamble). As such, Giolito will certainly be tendered, albeit for a bit less than he is going to ask for as a result of the shortened season.
- Reynaldo López: TENDER | $1.3M
- Lopez is no longer going to be a starting pitcher, at least for his remaining time on the White Sox. This said, I’d bet my bottom dollar he’s getting tendered; you just don’t let a guy who can throw as hard as Lopez walk away without trying him in the pen.
- Evan Marshall: TENDER | $1.4M
- Simply put, Marshall was awesome in 2020. Even better, his peripherals supported his awesomeness. He’s an obvious tender.
- Adam Engel: TENDER | $1.1M
- Engel is not the everyday right fielder (CC: Rick and Kenny). That said, Engel is going to be an AWESOME 4th outfielder. His combination of elite defense and speed, and now just around average bat, make him perfect for this role, and even more perfect at only $1.1M. Another obvious tender.
- Jace Fry: TENDER | $0.8M
- With 2 minor league options remaining, there is still time for Fry to develop into the dominant lefty his destiny demands of him. While it comes at a slightly high price tag for a guy that may spend half of his 2021 in AAA, I know the club is high on his potential, so I expect this tender.
- Yolmer Sánchez: NON-TENDER
- He’s not getting tendered, but there’s a chance we see another reunion via a minor league deal.
- Edwin Encarnación: DECLINE
- Gio González: DECLINE
- Another nope
- Leury García: PICK-UP | $3.5M
- Given Leury’s hyper-utility, around league-average bat, and familiarity with the clubhouse, I see this as a “more likely than not” pick-up.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- Alex Colomé: LET GO
- This one is going to sting a bit, but the Sox are going to let Colome walk. It’s not for lack of good service; Colome is simply going to be too expensive, and with the Sox as confident as they are in their system-depth pitching, I see the Sox using the $12M+ they’d spend on Colome elsewhere.
- James McCann: LET GO
- As beautiful of a game as it is, baseball comes with heartbreak. James McCann signing a thicc deal as the everyday catcher somewhere else will be our winter heartbreak. As great as James has been on the Sox, especially considering what he does for Giolito, with Grandal in tote it just isn’t possible to hold on to James. Goodbye old friend.
- Jarrod Dyson: LET GO
- Manager: AJ Hinch
- Despite his status as a bonafide cheater, my money is on Hinch. Hinch has managed a playoff pitching staff before, and has found success doing so, especially considering the Astros youth at the time of their victory. We don’t have to like him to acknowledge he can be a good manager for the Sox, and I think this will ultimately be Management’s conclusion as well.
- Pitching coach: Unknown
- No clue on this one
- No. 1: George Springer (4 Years @ $19M + 1 Club Option @ $19M + Option Buyout @ $2.5M)
- Like I said in the preamble above, I think Management is tired of bullshit in RF, a position that hasn’t had above average production since Adam Eaton a billion years ago. Springer is the perfect candidate to end the bullshit, and who I believe will be the White Sox big splash this winter.
- The contract comp for Springer here is Marcell Ozuna last year. That said, I think Springer is a better player, so demands more, but that is slightly offset by COVID impacts on the market, leaving Springer at just $1M more than what Ozuna got last year.
- Springer will build on Management’s vocal efforts to find the basepaths more (Springer has had a walk rate above 10% every year of his career), is league average defensively (or at worst only a little below), and hits the God damn jesus out of the ball (career wRC+ of 134).
- No. 2: Marcus Stroman (4 Years @ $22.5M + 1 Club Options @ $20M + Option Buyout @ $3M)
- While I don’t think the Sox will go the premium route for a Bauer, I think Stroman is everything Management loves in their pitchers: an inning eater, a ground ball monster, and gritty as hell. While I’m not as confident in the Sox on landing Stroman as I am for Springer, especially since they just signed Keuchel last year, if the Sox do sign a non-dumpster bin pitcher, I’m betting the house on Stroman.
- The contract comp for Stroman here is Wheeler last year. That said, I think Wheeler is a bit better than Stroman, and COVID will impact the market, resulting in Stroman demanding a bit less than Wheeler last year.
- No. 3: Tyler Flowers (1 Year @ $2.5M + 1 Club Option @ $2.5M + Option Buyout @ $300K)
- Here yee here yee on comes the glorious return of Tyler Flowers! Seriously though, I’d bet my 401K that the Sox will reunite with Flowers this year following the departure of McCann. Flowers is arguably the most underrated catcher in baseball (quietly put up over 2.0 fWAR for 6 years straight from 2014 to 2019, and paced for a 2.9 fWAR season last year based on games played extrapolated to 162). I feel like I’ve said this a few times, but organizational familiarity matters to the Sox, and Flowers is familiar with the organization.
- The contract comp for Flowers here is Flowers himself, who just got paid $4M last year to play for the Braves. This said, Flowers is entering his age 35 season, has a billion miles on his knees, and the market has been dampened by COVID.
- Trade Zack Collins to Philadelphia for Prospect Depth
- Don’t be confused, I love Zack Collins. I think he is a 21st century hitter: he gets on base via the walk, and hits the shit out of the ball when he makes contact. To this extent, I hope to God Management can convince other clubs that his AAA production can translate to the majors if granted the right number of chances.
- My bet is he lands in Philly. With J.T. Realmuto out the door (likely so, at least), and Philly still trying to get to the next level and likely getting anxious, Collins would fit in perfectly.
- In return, I’d expect at least one organization top ten prospect that is in the low minors, and an organization top 20 prospect with at least a pair of elite tools that is in the low minors.
First off, if you’ve read this far, thank you. As a White Sox fan, I pride myself on trying to understand the organization as much as I possibly can, and have a lot of fun trying to project how the organization will act.
My total payroll projection based on the above for 2021 is $134.9M.
The 26-man you see below is how I expect the roster to shake out for most of the season, not necessarily opening day. The reason I state this disclaimer, is because I think there’s a handful of pitching movement that will occur throughout the year, most notably I don’t believe Crochet will open the season on the major league roster, as he will be stretching out to assume his role in the rotation, and Vaughn will stay down for a few weeks for service manipulation.
With this said, here is my 2021 majority of the year White Sox 26-man roster:
Not too much to say here, as I think this is a pretty common portrayal of what we’re headed for given the roster layout described above:
C: Yasmani Grandal
1B/DH: Jose Abreu
2B: Nick Madrigal
SS: Tim Anderson
3B: Yoan Moncada
LF: Eloy Jimenez
CF: Luis Robert
RF: George Springer
DH/1B: Andrew Vaughn
Bench, INF Utility: Danny Mendick
Bench, INF/OF Utility: Leury Garcia
Bench, 4th OF: Adam Engel
Bench, 2nd C: Tyler Flowers
You can never have too much pitching; it’s as simple as that. While you might be shocked to find both Cease and Kopech in the pen, you would also be foolish to think that the rotation will all be healthy simultaneously at any given point in the season. Further, I’m hoping the Sox deploy Crochet, Cease, and Kopech as a tandem fifth starter, where each only faces the order once or twice and gets the hell out of there. Even further, the same could be said for Dunning. As such, view this rotation as really only a three starter rotation, with the fourth and fifth spots featuring heavily utilization of all of Dunning, Crochet, Cease, and Kopech.
SP1: Lucas Giolito
SP2: Dallas Keuchel
SP3: Marcus Stroman
SP4: Dane Dunning
SP5: Garrett Crochet
CL: Aaron Bummer
SU: Evan Marshall
SU: Jace Fry
MRP: Codi Heuer
MRP: Matt Foster
MRP: Reynaldo Lopez
LRP: Michael Kopech
LRP: Dylan Cease