Kvetch__22’s Offseason Plan


  • Obligations: $126.85M to nine players.
  • Options: $22 to two players ($1M in buyouts)
  • Arb-eligible: $19.1M to seven players.

Honestly, despite all the disappointment surrounding a limp October performance and questions about the weak division, I think the Sox had a banner year. It is easy to forget that many well-regarded projection engines saw the Sox in the 80-85 win range, and overperforming expectations while dealing with significant injuries to key players makes this year a success.

93 wins with a 97-65 pythag record. The goal here shouldn’t be to just try and get the Sox over the hump. The goal here should be to turn the Sox from scary to an outright death star that will enter 2022 as the obvious choice to win the pennant. That’s going to be hard to do on a budget, but I think we’ve gotten lucky walking into an offseason market filled with options.


Write “tender,” “non-tender” or “rework/extend” after each player and their projected 2022 salaries. Feel free to offer explanation afterward if necessary.

  • Lucas Giolito: $7.9M – tender
    • Easy move. Gio came on strong down the stretch and salvaged a year filled with ups, and downs. It’s not time to extend him yet —his 2022 will go a long way towards figuring out if he’s an ace or a solid #2 starter— but 8 mil is a bargain for his ~4 WAR value.
  • Reynaldo López; $2.8M – tender
    • Would not have expected this at the start of 2021 but here we are. Reynaldo isn’t going to be an ace, but he came in and delivered some strong performances in the swingman/spot-starter role in ’21. In trying to find a 5 starter for 2022, Reynaldo gets first dibs.
  • Evan Marshall: $2.3M – non-tender
    • If Marshall wants to come back on an MiLB deal and sit on the 60-day IL while he recovers from TJ surgery, I’d be fine with that. But he doesn’t factor into the ’22 bullpen picture and the money is better spent elsewhere.
  • Adam Engel: $2.2M – tender
    • 2021 was supposed to be Engel’s breakout year. Instead, he came up like a limp racehorse and never quite got himself right. An offseason should hopefully get him back to 100% and his mix of power, speed, and glove make him an ideal 4OF even if he’s probably lost his chance to play every day.
  • Brian Goodwin: $1.7M – non-tender
    • It’s been real B-Good. An excellent stopgap and fun person Hahn was smart to grab when the outfield imploded this year, but he’s the definition of replacement level. There is no room for him in the 2022 outfield unless everyone gets hurt again.
  • Jimmy Cordero: $1.2M – tender
    • Once upon a time, before Ricky got his hands on Jimmy, he was one of the more exciting young bullpen arms in baseball. Did Cordero get Mark Prior’ed by a manager who seemed to lose track of his pitch count? Maybe, but it’s worth it to roll up our sleeve and see what we’ve got in 2022 with Cordero back from surgery.
  • Jace Fry: $1M – non-tender
    • The Sox bullpen could use another lefty. Jace Fry is not him. If he’s going to be a good bullpen arm, it’s going to be after a change of scenery.


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

  • Craig Kimbrel: $16M ($1M buyout) – pick up.
    • This is a tough one. On hone hand, Kimbrell’s peripherals were pretty decent on the South Side, and you don’t often have a team option on one of the best closers of all time. On the other hand, I don’t think Sox fans would be sad if we just forget the Kimbrell trade ever happened and move on. But the Sox have already said they are picking up the option, so I’ll just assume that’s set in stone.
  • César Hernández: $6M – decline.
    • I thought Cesar would be Yolmer with Power. Turns out he was Yolmer without the fun. Hernandez’s power surge turned into a mirage as he grimaced throughout a really bad two months in Chicago. Having 2B open, however, is an opportunity for the Sox, and there is no reason to pay Hernandez to ride the bench.


Try to retain, extend qualifying offer, or let go?

  • Leury García (Made $3.5M in 2021) – Extend (1 yr/$4.5M)
    • I toyed with saying goodbye to Leury Legend and I just couldn’t do it. 2021 really demonstrated how important he is to this team with his flexibility in the field and his mediocrity at the plate. The longest-tenured player gets a $1M raise to return.
  • Carlos Rodón ($3M) – Let go
    • This one also hurts, but Rodon is a Boras client, and I’m skeptical of the whole thing. Rodon’s arm nearly fell off at the end of 2021, and with other pitching options on the roster, I’d rather let another team spin the roulette wheel. Unless Rodon is willing to take a discount to continue working with Ethan Katz, this is goodbye. Having $20M+ AAV tied up in Rodon would be a disaster for this team if he can’t make 30+ starts a year, and I have no confidence in that.
  • Billy Hamilton ($1M) – Let go
    • Another fun player on the chopping block. Billy is solid depth, but there isn’t room on the roster for him. Billy will likely want to seek out another team where he can compete for playing time anyways.
  • Ryan Tepera ($950K) – Retain (3yr/18M/6AAV)
    • Tepera was very good for the Sox unlike other relievers acquired from the north side. He’s on the wrong side of 30, but on balance he’s quietly stacked up a pretty nice career and his peripherals improved a bunch in ‘21. As the Sox look to build a bullpen that can live up to the hype, giving Tepera a contract similar to Bummer gives the Sox a key set-it-and-forget-it piece.


  • Obligations: $126.85M to nine players.
  • Options: $16M picked-up.
  • Arb-eligible: $18.6 tendered.
  • Total Payroll pre-FA: $161.45M

No. 1: Javier Baez (six years, $150 million, with $25M options for years 7/8). Ok, Baez is not the sexiest player on the FA market. Sox fans have gotten used to hating him for being on the wrong side of town, and Cubs fans got used to hating his free-swinging play style. But here are the facts: Baez is an incredibly effective hitter whose streaks range from league-average to otherworldly. He’s a perpetual 30 HR threat who will rack up 4-6 WAR no problem. He plays a gold-glove second base sorely needed by our 17th ranked team defense. At 29 he’s one of the youngest infielders on the FA market, a safer investment for the contention window. He knows Chicago and might want to return home after experiencing the horrors of New York sports media. And he’s been a part of several deep playoff runs. And with the Cubs in the toilet, Jerry can sell a lot of new Baez jerseys to fairweather fans. I think this is the thing that makes sense for both sides. And if the thought of Baez striking out 200 times in a Sox uniform makes you sick, just remember that we can hit him in the 7-hole.

No. 2: Brad Hand (two years, $10 million). There were a lot of options to consider for adding a lefty bullpen arm, and they are all good. Andrew Chaffin, Aaron Loup, and Jake Diekman are all going to hit the market. So why Hand? With Bummer cementing himself as a good 7th/8th inning guy, and with Crochet showing great promise, value is key in adding a third lefty, and Hand is the best value for the money. His -0.3 WAR in 2021 was warped by an awful stint of HR/FB luck in Toronto before he pitched very well for the Mets down the stretch. While the rest of the league is falling over themselves trying to add top-of-the-line lefties on over-market deals, the Sox would do well to sneak in and steal a reliable arm for middle-relief.

No. 3: Manny Pina (one year, $2 million). Yes, I’m quibbling over the backup catcher here. The Sox ranked near dead last in CS%. Zack Collins isn’t it, and neither is Seby. Yaz’s inability to throw out runners was an issue, and it might be wise to play him more at DH with his offensive production reaching new heights. Enter Pina, who has a long history of throwing out runners, excellent defensive value, and a good-for-a-catcher bat. He hit below the Mendoza line (with walks) in 2021 and probably won’t get looks as a starter, but he’s an ideal backup to stick behind the plate 60 times a year. Sox should come in slightly over market to get him.


  • Obligations: $126.85M to nine players.
  • Options: $16M picked-up.
  • Arb-eligible: $14.1 tendered.
  • FA signings: $37M added.
  • Total Payroll pre-FA: $198.95M

No. 1: Trade Craig Kimbrel, Jonathan Steiver, and $3,000,000 to Seattle for Aaron Fletcher. This feels very much like throwing a dart. The Sox are right to seek a trade for Kimbrell, the question is which team is going to take him? I think the Mariners are the likely partner. They want to contend after nearly making the 2021 post-season. They have authorization to increase spending. And Jerry Dipito is a crazy fucker. The Sox eat some payroll and get back Fletcher, who is potentially a bullpen-ready lefty with a lot of team control left. I can’t help but feel like there might be a stronger market for Kimbrel that would get the Sox a better return, but I don’t really know what to expect.

No. 2: Trade Dallas Keuchel, Zack Collins, Blake Rutherford, and $2,000,000 to Oakland for Tyler Baum. Another salary dump trade where finding the partner is hard, but the A’s are my best guess here. Oakland letting Bob Melvin go is the prelude to destructing the roster and maybe a move to Las Vegas. Oakland gets an inning-eating pitcher at a discount rate and intriguing reclamation projects in Collins and Rutherford. Sox get payroll space to make all the other moves. Tyler Baum is lottery ticket guy who got blown up in his first year of pro ball, but may have some upside potential.


  • Obligations: $126.85M to nine players.
  • Options: $16M picked-up.
  • Arb-eligible: $14.1 tendered.
  • FA signings: $37M added.
  • Change through trades: -$29M
  • Total Payroll pre-FA: $169.95M

So here is my opening day roster if everyone is healthy, God willing. WAR projections are from my gut.


  • SP: Lance Lynn (4 WAR)
  • SP: Lucas Giolito (4 )
  • SP: Dylan Cease (3)
  • SP: Michael Kopech (2)
  • SP: Reynaldo Lopez (1)


  • CL: Liam Hendriks (2)
  • SU: Aaron Bummer (1)
  • SU: Ryan Tepera (1)
  • MRP: Garrett Crochet (1)
  • MRP: Brad Hand (1)
  • MRP: Jose Ruiz (1)
  • MRP: Ryan Burr (1)
  • MRP: Jimmy Cordero (0)


  • SS: Tim Anderson (4)
  • 3B: Yoan Moncada (4)
  • CF: Luis Robert (5)
  • 1B: Jose Abreu (2)
  • C: Yasmani Grandal (4)
  • DH: Eloy Jimenez (3)
  • 2B: Javier Baez (5)
  • LF: Andrew Vaughn (2)
  • RF: Gavin Sheets (1)


  • C: Manny Pina (1)
  • IF: Danny Mendick (0)
  • OF: Adam Engel (2)
  • UTIL: Leury Garcia (1)

Notes: Against lefties, Adam Engel will play RF in place of Sheets. Against teams known to run, the Sox will occasionally play Pina at C, have Yaz shift to DH, and play Eloy in LF.

WAR from pitching: 22 (would rank 5th in 2021)

WAR from hitting: 34 (would rank 1st in 2021)

Total WAR: 56 (would likely rank 1st in MLB? Dodgers led 2021 projections with 51)

Projected wins: Based on the math I can find, 56 team WAR would project to ~101 wins.

The Good: The White Sox lineup here is an absolute murderer’s row. Power in spades, plenty of speed, and a good mix of youth and experience. There is literally no escape for pitchers, because the bottom of the order is two silver slugger winners, and two incredible young hitters in Vaughn and Sheets. Defense is also improved, with Baez holding down a key infield spot and Engel occasionally subbing into the outfield.

The bullpen, in theory, should again project as one of the best in league. We all know how projections go, but this is based off much more concrete stuff. Instead of relying on the likes of Heuer, Foster, and Marshall, The Best Bullpen In Baseball 2.0 relies on known quantities like Hand and Tapera to fill gaps. Burr and Cordero being included seems unsatisfying, but as the end-of-the-bench guys, they should be serviceable.

The Bad: With Rodon leaving town, the rotation goes back to being a bit of a question mark. The emergence of Dylan Cease over the back half of 2021 helps to solidify things, and Kopech at #4 seems like a bright spot as well. But once again, the fate of the team hangs on getting innings out of three very young, inexperienced pitchers, one of whom might turn out to be the bad version of ReyLo. With the offense running on full blast it would be acceptable, but man it would be nice to have another $25M lying around to bring Rodon back and really set up the rotation for October.

The Future: The Sox have also done a pretty good job of restocking their farm system, albeit they are lacking on arms. Jake Burger, Micker Adolfo, Romy Gonzales, Yoelqui Cespedes, Oscar Colas, Wes Kath, and Colson Montgomery are a pretty good assembly with a lot of MLB projectability. Which is to say that, if the Sox want to make a blockbuster deadline trade for a pitcher, they have some capital to use.

If I could make a plug here for an off-the-radar prospect to watch: Yolbert Sanchez. A friend of Robert who played with him in Cuba, he hit .308 across A+ and AA last year, and is rock solid in the field. Rumor is he showed up out of shape after the 2020 layoff, but that didn’t stop him from recording a very nice season. With an offseason to really get back into it, I wouldn’t be surprised if Yolbert displaced Mendick on the MLB roster by the time the year ends.

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I kinda like this if it could actually happen


Javier Báez would be so much fun.

Javier Báez would be frustrating for weeks on end when he’s in free-swinging mode. But he would be so much fun. Starting 2022 with him on the Sox and Madrigal on the Cubs would be amusing.