The Sox Machine 2020-21 Offseason Plan Project

Welcome to the Sox Machine Offseason Plan Project.

If you’re new to the OPP, it’s something we’ve done the last several winters, before and while my sites had a post-it-yourself option. Last year’s Offseason Plan Project had a whopping 130 submissions, and you can join the fray this year. The steps:

  1. Copy the template below
  2. Paste it into the text editor on this page
  3. Fill it out* and submit it. Here is a good example from last year.

(*In case it isn’t etched into your memory like it is mine, Andy Gonzalez’s number is 26. You will need to know that.)

As always, the variable is the payroll constraint. Last year, I set the limit at $120 million. The White Sox spent $128 million, so, hey, not bad.

The cap on this year’s project is more of a guess than ever, because the finances of baseball are so uncertain that MLB Trade Rumors came out with three sets of arbitration projections, because nobody’s exactly sure how the league is going to interpret the 60-game schedule.

In a normal year, with the window opening and TV ratings and attendance rising, the White Sox might be pushing toward a payroll of $150 million or more. But if the game’s pandemic-hampered finances put a damper on spending, it’s possible the same $128 million payroll could still accommodate a similar influx in talent.

Here’s how the White Sox’s payroll breaks down:

  • Obligations: $77.8M to eight players
  • Options: $22.5M to three players ($3.5M in buyouts)
  • Arb-eligible: $14.7M-$22.5M to seven players

At its most expensive — retaining everybody, the most expensive arbitration system — that gets you to $126 million. Some declined options here, non-tenders and smaller arb figures can easily knock that number back to eight figures.

Under these circumstances, I’m going to set a soft payroll cap of $135 million. If you want to expand it to $150 million because you’d rather frame contracts in non-pandemic terms, rather than wondering if a player expecting a $50 million contract will have to settle for half that, that’s understandable. If you want to take on the added challenge of how to estimate the effects of the shortened season on salaries, godspeed. Either way, the premise is that the White Sox shouldn’t be financially prevented from addressing their weakest areas in some credible capacity.

*Cot’s Baseball Contracts has the White Sox’ payroll obligations, although it’s worth using Spotrac as well since there appears to be a crossed-up link on the page.

*MLB Trade Rumors has the list of 2020-21 free agents. Note the players with club options and exercise common sense when it comes to their potential availability.

*There are such things as dumb ideas, but the threshold is fairly high to cross it. The idea is to generate as many feasible names and combinations as possible, so even if you guess wildly wrong on the price, that can be hashed out in the comments.

————— ✂️ [cut along the perforated line] ✂️ —————


Establish where you see the White Sox at this point, and your mindset/philosophy/strategy in putting together the roster for the upcoming season.


Write “tender,” “non-tender” or “rework/extend” after each player and their projected 2020 salaries, arranged by the three calculation methods described by MLB Trade Rumors. Feel free to offer explanation afterward if necessary.

  • Nomar Mazara: $5.6M | $5.9M | $5.7M
  • Carlos Rodón: $4.5M | $4.5M | $4.5M
  • Lucas Giolito: $2.5M | $5.3M | $2.5M
  • Reynaldo López: $1.7M | $2.2M | $1.7M
  • Evan Marshall: $1.3M | $1.9M | $1.4M
  • Adam Engel: $1M | $1.4M | $1M
  • Jace Fry: $800K | $1M | $800K
  • Yolmer Sánchez: Uncertain


Write “pick up” or “decline” or “rework” after the option.

  • Edwin Encarnación: $12M
  • Gio González: $7M ($500K buyout)
  • Leury García: $3.5M ($250K buyout)


Try to retain, or let go?

  • Alex Colomé (Made $10,532,500 in 2020)
  • James McCann (Made $5.4M in 2020)
  • Jarrod Dyson (Made $2M in 2020)


Here’s a first: Pick your manager and pitching coach, with any elaboration.

  • Manager:
  • Pitching coach:


List three free-agent targets you’d pursue during the offseason, with a reasonable contract. A good example of a bad idea:

No. 1: Gordon Beckham (one year, $5 million). Let’s get him that fully vested pension.


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 Yoán Moncada to Boston for Chris Sale. The White Sox need starting pitching help, and Andrew Vaughn is a third baseman now.


If you finish up with a fairly firm 26-man roster — assuming rosters are back down to 26, anyway — roll it out here. If you don’t, at least offer a sense of the payroll required, but more detail is always welcome.

What’s more important is describing how you settled on your plan — how or whether it resolves key positions, and what kind of position the White Sox occupy heading into 2021 and the following offseason.

Every plan may not be comprehensively sound, but even the shakiest ones may have one name or argument worth filing away for a position. The point of this exercise is to generate as many possibilities as possible, to see which players are the most popular, and to see how those go about finishing the roster in the first winter where Rick Hahn isn’t pretending the rebuild is still ongoing.

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Josh Nelson

I’ll be reaching out to the submitters with the Best/Unique/Weird ideas for next week’s podcast. Looking forward to reading the plans!


Sorry, but I’m having the weirdest thing happen here. Every time I go to SHOP TALK to submit it tells me I have to sign in again, and when I do it takes me to your WordPress Dashboard. Not sure what the deal is.


That appears to work. Thanks so much–didn’t see that.


I didn’t know the Indians can pick up Corey Kluber’s option when he’s in Texas? 😛

Eagle Bones

Can someone help me clarify Robert’s number for next year? Spotrac and Cots have him at $3.5 mil, however BR has him at $7.83 which I’m assuming includes the prorated portion of a signing bonus?

karkovice squad

Not sure how B-R got that number.

The Spotrac & Cot’s numbers are what the Sox announced. And if one was worried about cap penalties, his cap number is $8.333m.

Eagle Bones

Thanks, I’ll roll with the 3.5.


I feel like I’m missing something glaringly obvious. These are getting posted in Shop Talk (I believe) but I can’t see any way to actually get to the full list of Shop Talk posts to see if any have been posted.


If you click on the “Offseason Plan Project” next to the date on the top of this post or any other offseason plan project, it will give you a list of all the plans submitted to pick from to look at.


You’re too good for us Jim

karkovice squad

[The] premise is that the White Sox shouldn’t be financially prevented from addressing their weakest areas in some credible capacity.

From your keyboard to Someone’s eyes.


insert “Renisdorf is so chaep. . . ” here> ______


I wish there was a free agent contract value estimator on MLBTR, because already in the first two submissions you have Gausman signing for 5/100 or 3/28. It’s no offense to anyone submitting those plans, because it is hard to estimate, but those are two insanely different valuations.

Michael Kenny

As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

And MLBTR does contract estimates every offseason; we’re just too early.


Oh I have no idea what real value is for any free agent so I’m sure my number is wildly inaccurate. I also think even the more knowledgeable folks doing these might end up being off a bit because we don’t really know the impact this season will have on future finances.



We need left handed bats, we need a 3rd starter and we don’t have significant depth to trade from. With that in mind creativity on trades is needed. This plan is poss higher risk given the name of one of our targets… but as here me out.

This should solve some problems, what happens if YO-YO needs time off etc. Every starter minus Anderson has some form of replacing given the trade you are a lot to read about.

This trade is aimed at winning it all in 2021 without compromising the window.


* Nomar Mazara: | $5.9M |
* Carlos Rodón: | $4.5M |
Tender. We need depth as you’ve seen this year and I really like this guys wife’s tweets. He could be long relief or a starter. I don’t care, we need depth. You can’t get reliable innings for less than this.
* Lucas Giolito: | $5.3M |
Tender and discuss numbers for extension
* Reynaldo López: | $2.2M |
Same as Rodon, minus wife tweets
* Evan Marshall: $1.3M | $1.9M | $1.4M
* Adam Engel: $1M | $1.4M | $1M
* Jace Fry: $800K | $1M | $800K
* Yolmer Sánchez: Uncertain
Offer minor league deal with Mlb incentives.

Write “pick up” or “decline” or “rework” after the option.
* Edwin Encarnación: $12M
* Gio González: $7M ($500K buyout)
* Leury García: $3.5M ($250K buyout)
Pick up. Depth people we need depth.

Try to retain, or let go?
* Alex Colomé (Made $10,532,500 in 2020)
TBD. – is the relief market craters we should exploit this and get him.
* James McCann (Made $5.4M in 2020)
You’ll be missed by we can’t afford you.
* Jarrod Dyson (Made $2M in 2020)
Not sure what purpose you had on a 28 man, let alone a 26.

Here’s a first: Pick your manager and pitching coach, with any elaboration.
Manager: Hinch – doesn’t his breaking of monitors story remind you of Jesus upturning the market tables in church…. okay that’s the religious lot sold on this. For heathens such as myself – his background in psychology, the front office and experience make him the best candidate… simples.
* Pitching coach: whoever Hinch wants. I’d like someone which pitch design history.


Bauer Outage – I’ve seen some other plans where our friend Trev takes a one year deal that isn’t huge. That is simply not realistic. A one year deal puts ALL the risk on the player re injury or form slip. The per year pay therefore needs to be higher to compensate for this. One year for 40 million dollars. Any less and he just takes a risk free multi year deal.
I want him for one year to see what Kopech is. If he doesn’t have it then I’d come back for more should this go well.

Justin Wilson – we need another lefty in the pen. 122 career ERA+. Our closer situation as I see it is fluid and fry looks fixed but might not be. This guy gives protection for if Bummer becomes the closer. One year at 5 mil (I guess)


METS trade MCNEIL, CANO and 20 mil to the White Sox in exchange for Cease and Collins has this as a slight win for the Mets.
Logic for this – Cano becomes our DH. He his left handed and still rakes. I’m aware of his age and drug history, but I’d had a beer when thinking on this and thought, what would ChroizyE say… I think he would love it.
Side value – Yoyo’s fav player and could be a mentor to him. I see people going after Brantley for this role. Cano has some same value AND helps us get McNeil. Once cash thrown in the price is similar.

McNeil…. also left handed and becomes our right fielder and cover for injuries to YOYO. WE NEED DEPTH PEOPLE.

Cease and Collins are two I don’t mind losing given that Kopech and Yermin offer the same skill set. Mets do this to replace their lost pitching and to give new GM a cleaner slate.

This whole plans is based on a slightly absurd Cano trade and Bauer sticking to the one year plan. Would I do this in real life…. not sure. Does it make for conversation in the off season… is anyone reading this ?
Does it cost a lot… yup
Does it fix all the problem… yup

Line ups

Anderson. SS
McNeil. RF
Grandel C
Abreu. 1B
Eloy. LF
Cano. DH
Moncada 3B (until he can sort himself out and then back I the two slot)
Robert. CF
Madrigal 2B


Whoever seems best out of spring between Sanchez and Mendick

Vaughn comes in once service time issues are sorted and gets at bats at DH against lefties, 1base when Jose needs a break.

Giolitto, Bauer, Keuchel, Dunning and then a fight for 5th between Rodon, Lopez. They become depth when Kopech has magically got another year of control down in Charlotte

Cody the Whore
Forgetting Sarah
Jimmy the Arm Cordero
Crochet (plan is he does 3 innings twice a week roughly to build him into a starter for 2022)

As Cirensica

I am having login issues. login fine, then when I click to the “Paste it into the text editor on this page” Jim provided above, I get a page that says only members are allowed to post, and then I login (again), but I get directly to the Wordpress home page, so I come back to SoxMachine, logged, and when I click on Jim’s link, and I am greeted by the same message…it’s a catch-22