One of the key things I want the White Sox to concentrate on in 2022 is defense. They ranked 28th out of 30 in team defensive runs saved according to Fielding Bible with -40 runs saved. I’m sure none of that will matter if the team is healthy and starts hitting dingers, but I feel getting back to basics with good defense and clutch pitching will pay dividends.
- Lucas Giolito: $7.9M (TENDER)
- Reynaldo López; $2.8M (TENDER; really impressed by how much Lopez improved in 2021. I’m not 100% convinced Kopech is a viable starter yet as he hasn’t started in years, so having a mop-up/spot starter like Lopez is key)
- Evan Marshall: $2.3M (NON-TENDER; Minor league deal)
- Adam Engel: $2.2M (TENDER; Feel like this may be a make or break year for Engel because of his health. Hoping he can stay healthy this year, but a lot of money to commit to a backup who has health issues)
- Brian Goodwin: $1.7M (NON-TENDER)
- Jimmy Cordero: $1.2M (TENDER)
- Jace Fry: $1M (NON-TENDER)
- Craig Kimbrel: $16M ($1M buyout) – (DECLINE) I understand people’s rationale that we should pick up this option and at least get something for Kimbrel in a trade. But you never know how the trade market will be for a veteran reliever who had one of the worst stretches of his career and I feel like the White Sox would drag their feet trading him, waiting for the best offer. Best to just cut bait and use this money in the offseason or a midseason acquisition (fingers crossed this midseason acquisition pays off)
- César Hernández: $6M (DECLINE)
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- Leury García ($3.5M in 2021) – RE-SIGN (1 year $4M + club option for $5.5M)
- Carlos Rodón ($3M) – QO. I feel like he won’t take it and would seek a longer-term deal somewhere else. And good on him for doing that. I hope he makes that money and has success (albeit, not against the White Sox though)
- Billy Hamilton ($1M): RE-SIGN. BRING BACK BILLY THE HITTER AND HIS ATTITUDE
- Ryan Tepera ($950K): RE-SIGN (2 years, $8M – $3M in 2022, $5M in 2023)
As we all know, the two biggest holes the White Sox needs to fill are 2B and RF. I’m fine with them spending big on one position and finding internal options for the other spot. Or they should make sensible signings at all positions and spread the money out somewhat equally. But this is the offseason plan project, lets have some fun!
No. 1: Chris Taylor (4 years, $60M): People can harp that Taylor hasn’t started at a position consistently, but his versatility can be an asset.
No. 2: Manny Pina (2 years, $5M): This is where the defense upgrades come in. He will be an upgrade to backup to Yasmani Grandal. He is a superb defensive catcher and posted a wRC+ of 95 in 2021 and 103 in 2020; not stellar, but we need someone who will get the job done when Grandal is resting or playing 1B/DH.
No. 3: Andrew McCutchen (1 year, $8M): I mean why not? Sign him to DH primarily and sub in RF for some games. He may not have the five-tool caliber of his prime years, but he’s shown he can still GET IT!
C: Yasmani Grandal
1B: Jose Abreu
2B: Chris Taylor
SS: Tim Anderson
3B: Yoan Moncada
LF: Eloy Jimenez
CF: Luis Robert
RF: Andrew Vaughn
DH: Andrew McCutchen
C Manny Pina
UTIL Leury Garcia
OF Adam Engel
1B/OF Gavin Sheets
CL Liam Hendriks
RH Reynaldo Lopez
RH Ryan Burr
RH Ryan Tepera
RH Jose Ruiz
RH Matt Foster
LH Aaron Bummer
LH Garrett Crochet
Am I putting too much faith in the Kopech/Lopez fifth starter combo and should I have proposed signing a cheap veteran starter or trading for a cost control starter? Possibly. Am I also hoping Andrew Vaughn, now with a permanent position and not being moved around at positions he has never played before due to other players’ injuries, will excel in RF? Perhaps. And am I also hoping the internal bullpen options the White Sox have will rise to the occasion and be shut down middle relievers? Hope so. This plan has a lot of “hope it works out” plans, but I think this is what the team will do.
I’m into the McCutchen move. He walks a ton and still has 25 HR power. Having him in the lower third of the order will make the lineup deadly.
He hit 27 home runs and was still only a bit above average at the plate and a below average player overall. They have plenty of right handed hitters with that sort of power; I think they need to target guys with a better rounded set of skills who aren’t 35 years old. I like Cutch, but he’s not a good runner any longer, he’s a terrible defender even confined to left field, there’s serious injury/decline risk, and he just posted the highest K rate of his career. At his best, he’s a redundant part, and at worst, he’s another Adam Eaton.
Signing McCutchen would be a very Rick Hahn move. He’s terrible defensively, though.