Man, I don’t know. We’ve been saying for YEARS that Jerry isn’t getting any younger and may want to open his wallet a bit more… and then doesn’t. Who knows what the future holds, but I think this season may be the very best opportunity the White Sox will have to win it all in the current state of their contention window. Maybe losing Keuchel’s dead money will give 2023 a higher chance of success, but I don’t know. Let’s just hope there’s a bit more money spent this time around.
- Lucas Giolito: $7.9M – Tender. If the World Series isn’t won this year, then we can talk about extensions; for now, I’m happy with tendering.
- Reynaldo López; $2.8M – Tender. Showed enough promise at the end of last season to at least be a #5 starter.
- Evan Marshall: $2.3M – Tender. Slippery slope to assume what we saw prior to his injury is in any way what we’ll see from him forever. Too cheap to let slip away after how great he’s been at times.
- Adam Engel: $2.2M – Non-tender. 50/50 on this one, had “one of the best on the team” caliber stats when he was healthy but… he was rarely healthy. I also want to see Hahn figure out a real solution for RF.
- Brian Goodwin: $1.7M – Non-tender. Sorry, thanks for your service during the injury-plagued era of this team but you aren’t even worth half that.
- Jimmy Cordero: $1.2M – Tender
- Jace Fry: $1M – Non-tender, maybe offer minor league contract.
- Craig Kimbrel: $16M ($1M buyout) – Decline. Would love to see a rework but nah. Eat the loss and move on before it turns into sunk cost. The idea of trying to trade him just because “teams are interested” is stupid too, intentionally taking on money like this is nonsense.
- César Hernández: $6M – Decline. Hahn needs to find a real solution at 2B. Farewell bozo
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- Leury García (Made $3.5M in 2021) – Let go. Romy is ready and has shown he’s capable. I wouldn’t be disappointed if Leury was brought back with the exact same salary, but I do think the money can be spent better elsewhere.
- Carlos Rodón ($3M) – QO. 50/50 on this one again, but I do truly believe he was saving himself for the future at least to a point. Rodon was generally just extremely mismanaged as a whole in 2021, and now that Tony and Katz are likely more informed, I imagine him being one of the most lethal postseason arms available in the entire free agent market. Would even put him a hair above Robbie Ray. If there’s even a 10% chance that we could see a better version of Rodon in the future than what we saw this season, I think he’s worth giving a blank check. QO is a good place to start, but I do think there’s a million reasons to try to sign him to something long-term.
- Billy Hamilton ($1M) – Retain at same salary. New Engel
- Ryan Tepera ($950K) – Retain, go for 3 years $12mil.
- Marcus Semien, 4 years $105mil. I don’t know what’s causing people to think there might still be sour grapes. Semien and Bassitt don’t enjoy beating the White Sox. They enjoy beating ANY team. I watched around 40 or so A’s games across 2019-20 and those guys are just competitive against EVERYONE. They love winning. Truthfully speaking, both guys were bound to be traded just given the circumstances; they were drafted by a team that wasn’t even trying to rebuild and didn’t show enough instant ability to help them now, so they used them as prospect fodder for someone they thought was more established who could help them win now. This happens a lot, who even cares? In a way, signing a guy you traded for very little to a big contract years later is kind of flattering, a huge compliment. I think Semien would be happy to come back if the price was right, he may need to be offered at or around the highest amount of money by the White Sox as he would from other teams but… to think there’s no chance is crazy to me. This is the move Hahn needs to make to give this team the best chance at winning it all.
- Chris Taylor, 4 years $45mil. Not much to say about this one, cheap and good enough player who I think would give great vibes in the clubhouse.
- Joc Pederson, 1 year $8mil. Can we actually see this please? The guy is literally ALWAYS good in the postseason.
- IF SEMIEN ISN’T SIGNED: White Sox trade Andrew Vaughn, Garret Crochet, Jared Kelley to the Rays for Brandon Lowe. If you have any idea how the Rays organization functions, you know that deep down, this trade is plausible. Lowe is starting to get expensive, the Rays foam at the mouth over cheap prospects with potential, and the Rays have many in-house replacements for Lowe. For the White Sox, Lowe being under control through 2026 makes this a no-brainer. Semien is still the best option at 2B in my opinion, but if he doesn’t work out, Lowe is definitely a great trade target to go for.
- White Sox trade Dallas Keuchel, Seby Zavala to the Mets for James McCann. I know there are at least a couple other plans that bring back McCann and most people don’t like the idea. However, let’s really break this down: Keuchel was a replacement-level player on a team with great starting pitching and a pitching coach that literally every other starter seemed to love. And he still sucked. On the other hand, McCann was a below-replacement-level player on a team where literally everyone not named Jacob DeGrom seems to underperform. But had been great the prior two years on the White Sox. The current White Sox catching staff, regardless of whatever pitcher/catcher combination in or out of the minor leagues is throwing/receiving in any specific game, literally cannot throw out a snail. McCann is known for throwing out runners. To think he wouldn’t at LEAST be a 1 WAR player if brought back to the Southside is crazy. So then comes the salary implications. Keuchel is on the last year of his horrible contract and will be owed $18mil no matter what. McCann has 3 years left on his deal worth $8/12/12mil. A trade like this would essentially be giving away Zavala (who will likely never be a regular major leaguer while this team’s contention window is open) AND trading Keuchel’s bloated salary for two years of McCann and one expensive $12mil year likely right as the team’s contention window starts to close. If you ask me, losing $12mil for no good reason in 2023 is worth it if it means replacing Keuchel’s crappy salary with a McCann who could very well end up finding his footing with the team he was pretty dang good with not that long ago. I do want to say that I was 100% all for letting him go last year, and did think that the Mets overpaid him. However if McCann were to be a free agent THIS year and you told me “you have to sign McCann to 3 years $32mil, BUT you’re also able to dump 100% of Keuchel’s salary alongside the signing,” I would absolutely do it. I think most other people would too, but are still somehow turned off by the idea just because of McCann’s 2021 season. It’s moot if you ask me. And the Mets? They’re gonna blow everything up soon anyways, so they definitely wouldn’t mind eating Keuchel’s salary.
Not a super firm 26-man, but let’s see. This all assumes the Lowe trade isn’t made and Semien is traded; feel free to replace and gap fill if you’re curious about what would happen if Lowe were traded for.
Cordero, Bummer, Marshall, Tepera, Crochet, Hendriks
Romy Gonzalez, Chris Taylor, Andrew Vaughn, Billy Hamilton, James McCann.
Ryan Burr, Jose Ruiz, Danny Mendick, Jake Burger can fight for 27th man.
Wrapping this plan up:
At the end of the day, the 2021 season ended up being pretty disappointing. However, playing Houston on the road in the first round of the playoffs hurt this team more than anything. Terrible matchup that I think may have ended up with the White Sox going all the way had they played any other team in the AL first, even on the road. This team still has a lot available to them that can be salvaged, and a lot that can definitely be used to actually make it all the way to the promised land sooner than later. I don’t want to see that go away.
The main things to make this happen, in order of most to least important in my opinion:
1. Do what you can to keep Rodon.
2. Sign Marcus Semien.
3. Get rid of Keuchel’s salary while getting something, anything, in return, even if it hurts the team in the future.
4. Do WHATEVER can be done to keep this team healthy. No brainer and is probably the #1 most important thing, but I thought I should throw it up here anyways.
These things alone, along with Correa likely being in a new uniform next season and the White Sox being more likely to have home field advantage in the first round, could be all it really takes to go all the way. Let’s see what happens.
Final salary projection (if Semien is signed) – $204.25m (roughly, I can’t do math). Never gonna happen, but again, we’ll see. There’s definitely other things that can be worked on to get that value lower without losing quality, but I do think this is what may need to be done to make this a World Series team.
– Prince Altoid
I like the McCann idea as I had that as well as part of a Keuchel deal. But maybe having to substitute someone for Savala.
If dealing with the Mets, I would wonder if Jeff McNeil and/or Dominic Smith could also be made available in a bigger trade package.
I kinda feel like Zavala being thrown in would almost be like a courtesy to a Mets team that is most definitely going to need to look for a new starting catcher, and would likely need to replace McCann as backup. But McNeil or Smith being thrown in as well would be great and make sense. More likely Smith overall because of his lousy 2021, but either of them would make the deal a lot better for the White Sox while still being an overall great deal for both teams.
Sure, without options, Savala seemed more like a fit for a rebuilding team, IMO. Mets are in win-mode and have money so can look to make a complete roster.
Both the Mets and Sox seem like teams that may need and want to mix things up a bit so I could envision a few possibilities there. McCann’s contract isn’t great (maybe if the Mets have a better alternative, a new GM throws in a few bucks), but I question how well Grandal will hold up physically which is why I can see investing significantly in catching. For the Sox, he is a known commodity so may be worth a premium. Smith and McNeil both coming off down years could fill needs at a reasonable salary (pending CBA) for their payroll.
I agree with all of this, but I think the Mets are starting to understand after last season that throwing money at their problems won’t immediately solve them and are a lot more willing to try to build a team correctly. This could very well involve throwing away the final $18mil of Keuchel’s contract to get rid of McCann and actually try to develop a catcher properly for once. These are the kinds of moves you do when you’re a rebuilding team with a lot of money. You throw money away now to help your team in the future. The Mets will likely need to find catching in free agency anyways and having someone like Zavala to help fill the gaps for a few years before becoming good enough for the big leagues sounds like something that would benefit them greatly.
Also McNeil had a bad year for McNeil, but was still overall pretty good to be traded away for what’s little more than dead money. Smith on the other hand yeah I can see the Mets dealing him away. A piece like Zavala coming in exchange still seems to make sense to me though.
Two errors on this:
1. I wasn’t aware that Evan Marshall was going to undergo Tommy John surgery. I’ve been busy these last few weeks and had my plan mostly mentally done by the time the ALDS was over. Knowing this, I would non-tender him and potentially look to either give him a minor league deal or possibly try to bring him back in 2023. The main argument is I don’t want to see the team let him go. He was obviously dealing with some issues before his actual injury and I think those issues could very well be solved by TJS. I know relievers can be very volatile, but it’s hard to forget about what he did for the team in 2019 and 2020 and even harder to think that he couldn’t perform to near that level again in the future.
2. In the paragraph immediately beginning my summary, I said “and Semien is traded.” Small goof there, meant to say “and Semien is signed.”