The White Sox are a few key moves away from really opening up this contention window. If we want to compete while Giolito is still cheap, we need to act now.
- Nomar Mazara:$5.6M | $5.9M | $5.7M Non-tender
- Carlos Rodón:$4.5M | $4.5M | $4.5M Non-tender
- Lucas Giolito:$2.5M | $5.3M | $2.5M Tender
- Reynaldo López: $1.7M | $2.2M | $1.7M Tender
- Evan Marshall:$1.3M | $1.9M | $1.4M Tender
- Adam Engel:$1M | $1.4M | $1M Tender
- Jace Fry:$800K | $1M | $800K Tender
- Yolmer Sánchez:Uncertain Non-tender
I’m going to use the most expensive value for each candidate, just to be as conservative as possible. Given that, I don’t think any of the decisions above are that outrageous. Lopez is still cheap enough that he can be an emergency starter or #5 if other plans fall through. Everyone else felt like a no-brainer.
- Edwin Encarnación:$12M Decline
- Gio González:$7M ($500K buyout) Decline
- Leury García:$3.5M ($250K buyout) Decline
The only tough call here was Leury but I think we can replace his skill set for cheaper than $3.5M.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- Alex Colomé (Made $10,532,500 in 2020)
- James McCann(Made $5.4M in 2020)
- Jarrod Dyson(Made $2M in 2020)
I like Colome. I thought he did a good job but he’s not what I’m looking for in a closer so I’m letting him walk. I’d offer McCann a 3/$20M deal but I think he can get better than that as the #2 catcher in a week free agent class so I don’t think he comes back. Jarrod Dyson was fine but has a very niche role on a team where I’m upgrading RF.
- Manager: Matt Quatraro
- Pitching coach: Whoever he wants
Quatraro has managed in the minors and is currently a bench coach for the Rays. He’s got playoff experience and has been with successful clubs with both the Rays and Indians. I’d rather go with a shot like this than a re-tread like Hinch/La Russa and I refuse to hire Cora.
No. 1: Tyler Flowers (1/$3.5M): With McCann off to greener pastures, we need another catcher who can actually, you know, catch. He’s not going to be anything special with the bat but he won’t be a complete black hole on Grandal’s days off.
No. 2: Joe Panik (3/$8M): This isn’t the sexiest name out there but he can play all three infield positions and his bat isn’t atrocious. He also does a decent job of drawing walks which is something I feel our bench is lacking.
No 3: Tony Watson (2/$5M): We need another lefty in the bullpen outside of Bummer and Fry and Watson fits that bill for relatively cheap. He’s a little homer prone but he does a good job of limiting hard contact.
No 4: Kevin Gausman (5/$100): This might be a bit of an overpay but Gausman is the third best starting pitcher on the market. As much as I’d love to go after Bauer, I don’t think he is a realistic target for this team. I also irrationally think Stroman is going to be valued higher than Gausman even though I believe they are similarly talented pitchers. The big knock on Gausman is going to be his homer issue but I don’t think it’s a deal breaker.
No 5: Robbie Grossman (2/$9M): Grossman is going to be another swiss army knife. With the trade in the next section and Eloy’s adventures in the outfield, I want Grossman to be the starting DH for us while bouncing around the different outfield spots to give guys days off without taking them out of the lineup entirely. He’s a switch hitter so he gives us flexibility off the bench, he can play all three outfield positions, and he is yet another guy who knows how to take a walk (sensing the theme yet?)
No. 1: Trade Dylan Cease and pieces to the Tampa Bay Rays for Austin Meadows. This is a bit of a gamble as Meadows missed half the season this year but he’s a lefty, he’s young, and he knows how to take a walk. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay isn’t moving Kiermaier, Arozarena is ready for an everyday role and they still have Renfroe and Margot after those two. They have a logjam in the outfield and moving the most injury prone player makes sense. Meanwhile, I don’t think Dylan Cease’s future lies on the Sox. The potential is still there but I don’t think we can be the ones to unlock it. The Rays, however, have proven adept at dealing with flamethrowing righties who lack control (Glasnow). Cease is still pre-arb so he fits the cost controlled window the Rays constantly live in. Baseballtradevalues says they are about even in value but if we have to throw in a low minors player to seal the deal, so be it.
As it stands our starting lineup is as follows:
C: Grandal $18.25M
1B: Abreu $17.67M
2B: Madrigal $0.5M
SS: Anderson $7.25M
3B: Moncada $6.8M
LF: Jimenez $4.33M
CF: Robert $3.5M
RF: Meadows $0.5M
DH: Grossman $4.5M
Bench: Engel $1.4M
Bench: Panik $2.67M
Bench: Flowers $3.5M
Bench: Collins $0.5M
SP: Giolito $5.3M
SP: Keuchel $18M
SP: Gausman $20M
SP: Dunning $0.5M
SP: Lopez $2.2M
RP: Heuer $0.5M
RP: Marshall $1.9M
RP: Bummer $2M
RP: Fry $1M
RP: Foster $0.5M
RP: Cordero $0.5M
RP: Watson $2.5M
RP: Ruiz/Kopech $0.5M
Retained Salary: $2.75M
The total salary for this team sits at a little under $130M. The rotation still isn’t great but I don’t think we have the money available to overhaul more than the third starter. Crochet is expected to work on becoming a major league starter in the minors next season and Vaughn should be in getting more reps for the eventual failure and demotion of Zach Collins. I’m concerned about the lack of a long relief pitcher in this bullpen but the Jose Ruiz spot can be swapped out if we want to re-sign Detweiler or any other pitcher that is of interest for cheap.
Part of the challenge of the COVID era is going to be figuring out how a positive test and resulting down year are going to affect the future for guys like Meadows and Moncada. I don’t have an answer but think that needs to be part of the discussion for the Cease trade.
I think that’s fair and Meadows hasn’t looked the greatest so far this postseason. You could swap Conforto for Meadows if you wanted to but Meadows is controllable longer and I have no idea what the Mets are even planning to do at this point.
I’m actually more curious about discussing the implications than the alternatives. Meadows had both COVID and an oblique injury. Were they related? He both had vicious platoon splits and wasn’t mashing to established levels against eighties.
Is he expected to rebound so this is buying low? Or is he being acquired as the slightly above average strict platoon bat he was this year?
Do the answers change whether a swap for Cease makes sense? And how much of that is because of how far Cease has fallen compared to his peak prospect value?
I think part of the allure of this trade for both teams is it can be seen as a “damaged goods swap”. With Cease you have a clear mechanical issue that may or may not be fixed. If it can’t be fixed, can you even stash him in the bullpen? 100mph is all well and good but he’s not going to miraculously start throwing strikes just because he’s throwing fewer innings each time out. Austin Meadows doesn’t have a lengthy major league track record to draw from and he’s definitely been not good in the outfield so if the bat doesn’t come around, it could be rough. I wonder if Moncada and Meadows are being affected similarly and if that could work in the White Sox favor, assuming its something that can be worked through at all. It also assumes that COVID affects people similarly and frankly, I don’t think we know enough at this point to have that answer. The one plus is that it appears Moncada and Meadows both had the same plan this year of “can’t hit, take walks instead” as both had huge year over year spikes in BB%.
That Meadows deal seems crazy. And yet at the same time, it’s the Rays and part of my could actually see this happening (and even working out in the Rays’ favor).
I like Gausman, but that seems like way too much money for him. I feel like his top-end is maybe like 50-60 mil, but maybe I’m way off.
I’m still thinking about Cease for Meadows, and I agree, it could happen.