The White Sox are AL Central Favorites and World Series Contenders going into 2022. And no, you don’t need all-stars at all 9 positions and all 5 starters to be a World Series contender. If you can win your division, 9 out of 10 times, you’re good enough to be a World Series contender. This is a concept I think many fans struggle with, and is important to keep in mind during this plan.
The Braves are on the verge of winning the World Series after losing their best player and only winning 88 games. That Braves team handled a Dodgers team absolutely loaded top-to-bottom. The goal needs to be to win the division every year and in the playoffs anything can happen. I’d rather win 90-94 games a season for the next 5 years then go all out for 1 year and win 98 then continually regress after that. The odds you end up with a WS ring are more likely in the former situation. So that’s why my moves will have 2022 in mind of course, but I don’t believe in going “all-in” on just 1 season.
So with that in mind, let’s get to it
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. Obviously an extension would be great, but I don’t think Gio would play ball.
- Reynaldo López; $2.8M — tender. Lopez will make for a very solid long man and spot starter for ’22.
- Evan Marshall: $2.3M — Non-tender
- Adam Engel: $2.2M — tender. Adam Engel should absolutely be the starting RF from Day 1 in 2022. Engel has an ~.820 OPS in his last 75 games spanning over 2 years while being an elite defender, good baserunner (both of which the sox really need), and seemingly having a knack for big plays in big spots. And over the last 2 years, he has been actually better against RHP then LHP. Great defender, solid baserunner, hits RHP well, only costs 2.2mil. As a 9-hole RF, He’s exactly what the Sox need, just needs to stay healthy.
- Brian Goodwin: $1.7M — non-tender
- Jimmy Cordero: $1.2M — non–tender
- Jace Fry: $1M — non–tender
Write “pick up” or “decline” or “rework” after the option.
- Craig Kimbrel: $16M ($1M buyout) — pickup.
- César Hernández: $6M — decline
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Try to retain, extend qualifying offer, or let go?
- Leury García (Made $3.5M in 2021) — let go. As you’ll read below, the Sox find a replacement utility man for Leury, so thanks for the good times, Legend
- Carlos Rodón ($3M) — Extend QO, if he doesn’t take it, then retain. The dead arm doesn’t scare me heading into next year. He racked up way more innings then the last couple years combined and still was able to throw high 90s against HOU. Not worried at all, and actually it probably works out in the Sox favor now that he’ll still be in their price range. If he wants the 1 year QO to bet on himself for a 9-figure payday next year, great. If he’d rather a deal that provides security at a lower AAV, great. But since Boras is his Agent, I’ll guess he bets on himself and takes the QO.
- Billy Hamilton ($1M) — Retain, 1yr, 1 Million. ++ defense and baserunning along with his personality and the excitement he brings is worth the 4th OF spot for 1 Mil.
- Ryan Tepera ($950K) — Retain, 2 yrs, 16 Million. Tepera was great in ’21 and Sox bullpen doesn’t look nearly as good for ’22 as it did entering ’21 (especially after my trades). Need to keep him around.
List three free-agent targets you’d pursue during the offseason, with a reasonable contract.
No. 1: C Manny Pina (2yr, $7 million). Sox need a solid backup catcher bad. Pina’s a good defensive catcher, who had a 732 OPS last year, good enough for me. With Pina, Yaz can play a lot more DH next year which is good for everyone.
No. 2: LHP Andrew Chafin (2yr $15 million). Sox need another solid LHP in the pen, so why not get the other good reliever the Cubs dealt last year.
No. 3: RHP Daniel Hudson (1yr $5.5 million). Was dominant again with the Nats this past year before being traded to the Padres and having a bit less success, though still K’d 12.8/9 with SDP. He’s the second setup reliever the Sox should’ve traded for along with Tepera, but oh well, they can get him now to really solidify the bullpen.
Propose trades that you think sound reasonable for both sides, and the rationale behind them.
No. 1: Trade Garret Crochet, Yoelqui Cespedes, Jake Burger, and Andrew Dalquist to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 2B Ketel Marte. This should be the number 1 move on Rick’s Big Board for this offseason. Marte comes in and is arguably immediately the Sox best player, right there with LuBob. He’s a switch-hitter, usually plays a good 2B, and is under team control for 3 more seasons at an average of $10mil a year. A cost-controlled stud at the Sox biggest position of need. With AZ losing 110 games this year, they’re definitely still rebuilding, but it seems like they want to be competitive sooner than later, which is why this haul should hopefully get it done, with Crochet, Burger, and Cespedes all being MLB ready or near ready. I aimed to beat the Sox-Nats Eaton deal, since it seemed to be comparable to me, young cost-controlled 5+ win player at a semi-premium position. If I’m negotiating this trade, Vaughn and Kopech are off the table, but any other combo of young assets are available (Sheets, Colson, Kath, Kelley, Thompson, etc).
No. 2: Trade Craig Kimbrel to Philadelphia Phillies for UTIL Scott Kingery and OF Johan Rohas. The rest of the MLB values Kimbrel much higher than most Sox fans do right now. Kimbrel was incredible for the Cubs and it’s not unusual for players to struggle after a midseason trade, especially in a new role for a character like Kimbrel. So his value should be high, though the 16mil price tag dampens that a bit. The Phillies brought in Dombrowski to win, and everyone knows he loves making big trades, and the Phillies bullpen is atrocious. I think the fit makes too much sense. As for the return, Kingery has been a massive disappointment for Philly the last 2 seasons after a solid 2019. But he can play everywhere and after a couple injury-ravaged seasons, I think there’s a good chance he can be better than Leury in the same role, and definitely with more upside. He’s owed $14 million over the next 2 seasons, which isn’t great but by taking him and his contract on, the Sox get a solid OF prospect in Rojas (PHI current #6) and get Kimbrel off the books.
No. 3: Trade Dallas Kuechel, Micker Adolfo, and DJ Gladney to Texas Rangers for a random A-Ball reliever. The Sox need to get out of the Kuechel contract. You can’t pay 18mil on a budget to a SP who could easily give you 10 starts worth of a 5.5 ERA then sit out the rest of the year with injury. So what I would do is attach Adolfo to Kuechel as a sweetener for a rebuilding team to take Dallas on. I chose Texas just because they’re a bigger market then Pitt, ARZ, or BAL. Kuechel can serve the Ivan Nova role for the Rangers and just replace Folty for them as a guy who eats innings. And there’s always the chance he bounces back and they can flip him in July. They’ll also get an intriguing prospect in Adolfo who should be ready to taste the MLB, but the Sox have no room for. DJ Gladney is a lottery ticket added so the Sox don’t need to cover any of Kuechel’s salary.
- Tim Anderson SS
- Ketel Marte 2B
- Luis Robert CF
- Jose Abreu 1B
- Yasmani Grandal C
- Eloy Jimenez LF
- Yoan Moncada 3B
- Andrew Vaughn DH
- Adam Engel RF
- Manny Pina C
- Scott Kingery UTIL
- Gavin Sheets DH/1B
- Billy Hamilton OF
- Lucas Giolito
- Lance Lynn
- Carlos Rodon
- Dylan Cease
- Michael Kopech
- Liam Hendriks
- Aaron Bummer (LHP)
- Ryan Tepera
- Andrew Chafin (LHP)
- Daniel Hudson
- Reynaldo Lopez
- Jose Ruiz
- Ryan Burr
Total Payroll: By my count, it came out to be ~$172 million, in which I’ll say the Free Agent deals included some creative accounting and get us under $170.
Vaughn needs to play everyday, and I would play him in LF or RF 2-3 times a week. Personally, I don’t think he needs to play much 1B, and should be considered an OF going forward. It’s more valuable and he looked better to me in the OF then at 1B.
I may have gone overboard signing all of Tepera, Chafin, and Hudson, but after trading away Crochet, Kimbrel, and Heuer and also getting nothing from Foster or Marshall, I think the bullpen needs quality talent added. And with those 3 along with Bummer and Hendriks, the Sox should have a very good bullpen.
The starting rotation looks elite and you could shuffle all 5 guys in any order and it wouldn’t shock me if that was the order we put them in come October next year.
Overall, this looks like a 100 win team to me.
Not sure what the DBacks plans are for Varsho. Maybe he could be part of a deal
Interesting trade idea for Marte (I think it’s an overpay by the White Sox, but opinions are bound to vary), but your Kimbrel trade illustrates my general confusion about picking up his option. Why pick it up if the plan is to trade him to overpay a bad utility player and get a prospect in A-ball?