Coming into the tail end of the 2021 regular season I found myself bearish on the White Sox. The team has talent across the board, but the boom or bust offense, inconsistent pitching and inability to consistently do damage against top tier starting pitching gave me hesitation going into the postseason. Sure, the Sox mopped up on the AL Central as any good team should. But the postseason is a different animal, featuring deep lineups and pitching staffs that can throw quite a bit more at you than guys like Mike Minor and J.A. Happ. The Astros exposed the White Sox in nearly every facet of the game, with the Sox at times looking like they had no plan against the Astros machine. Sure, the Astros did that to basically everyone outside of Atlanta this postseason, but it’s safe to say the Sox are likely the third or fourth best team in the AL today. It’s time for Hahn to show that he meant what he said when discussing championship aspirations. Get in losers, we’re going to the World Series.
- Lucas Giolito: $7.9M – Tender (No chance Hollywood is taking an extension)
- Reynaldo López;$2.8M – Tender (Affordable and showed he had at least some value in long relief and spot starts)
- Evan Marshall:$2.3M – Non-tender
- Adam Engel:$2.2M – Tender
- Brian Goodwin:$1.7M – Non-tender (I’m sure he’ll find a job somewhere)
- Jimmy Cordero:$1.2M – Tender
- Jace Fry:$1M – Non-tender
- Craig Kimbrel:$16M ($1M buyout) – Pick up. See trades below.
- César Hernández:$6M – Decline. I struggled with this one because he’s shown flashes of having surplus value. But too much inconsistency at that price point for my liking.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- Leury García(Made $3.5M in 2021) – Let go, I’ve had enough. See FA’s below.
- Carlos Rodón ($3M) – Extend QO, he’ll probably decline but whatevs.
- Billy Hamilton($1M) – Let go, sign to minor league deal.
- Ryan Tepera($950K) – Sign to 3 year, $9M deal.
No. 1: 2B Chris Taylor (3 year, $39M. 4th year club option $17M with $3M buyout). Essentially a guarantee of $14M AAV for 3 years. Taylor is a rich man’s Leury Garcia and can provide that versatility while also being an all-star caliber player. If he plays to his ability and the Sox have postseason success around him the 4th year option is an easy payroll bump to absorb.
No. 2 RF Nick Castellanos (4 year, $70 million. 5th year club option $20M). Ball go far, team go far. Castellanos knows all about that (34 home runs last year). There is a clear trend in MLB that the teams who slug will win the most games. Castellanos opted out of $17M AAV with two years remaining, but he’s looking to maximize his earnings while he has leverage. $70M total for four years is $17.5M AAV, but with the extra 2 years guaranteed this should be enough to get it done. Contract will be $16M in 2022, $17M in 2023, $18M in 2024, and $19M in 2025. Might be an overpay, but the White Sox need even more consistent power from the corner outfield. Eloy and Castellanos are defensive liabilities but will be a nightmare for opposing pitchers to deal with. Robert is also good enough to help cover deficiencies in the gaps, with Engel on the bench for defensive support.
No. 3 C Roberto Perez (2-year, $4 million). Perez is a solid veteran at backup catcher for the cheap after coming off a poor year. He’s at the tail end of his career, but has the opportunity to contribute in a limited role. Plus his time in Cleveland gives an advantage to Sox pitchers with his knowledge of how our pitchers work.
That puts us at $199M per the Cot’s tracker that Jim shared plus these 2 contracts. Time to scale this back before Jerry has a heart attack.
No. 1: Trade Craig Kimbrel to the Los Angeles Dodgers for LHP Garrett Cleavinger and C Carson Taylor. With Kenley Jansen set for free agency the Dodgers have a chance to replace his production at what is actually a slight discount (Jansen-$20M vs. Kimbrel-$16M), without having to give up too much talent. Cleavinger is currently a low leverage lefty who needs more MLB innings and Taylor is a minor league backstop that gives the Sox’ minor league development team another shot at a Zack Collins-esque project. Not sexy, but clears money off the books.
No. 2: Trade Dallas Keuchel and Zack Collins to the SF Giants for SP Sammy Long and 2B/C Brett Auerbach. SF will be looking for major league catching depth with Buster Posey’s retirement and have a big need for SP’s. Sammy Long will provide the Sox depth at the back end of the rotation as a 5th starter and a lefty in the rotation to offset the remaining righties. Auerbach will enter the system with Carson Taylor in the Kimbrel trade above to provide much needed catching depth in the minors.
- Lucas Giolito
- Lance Lynn
- Dylan Cease
- Michael Kopech
- Sammy Long (L)
- SS – Tim Anderson
- 2B – Chris Taylor
- 1B – Jose Abreu
- RF – Nick Castellanos
- LF – Eloy Jimenez
- 3B – Yoan Moncada
- C – Yasmani Grandal
- CF – Luis Robert
- DH – Andrew Vaughn
- DH/1B – Gavin Sheets
- IF – Danny Mendick
- OF – Adam Engel
- C – Roberto Perez
- Liam Hendricks
- Ryan Tepera
- Aaron Bummer (L)
- Jose Ruiz
- Jimmy Cordero
- Reynaldo Lopez
- Garrett Crochet (L)
- Garrett Cleavinger (L)
My rough estimate is at $165M-$170M after all has settled. This offense will mash, but at the sacrifice of some pitching depth. Even then, there is still enough strong pitching in the rotation and bullpen to carry the staff. But the offense and the long ball will carry this team to glory in 2022. NO MORE GROUND BALLS TONY!
I don’t think the Kimbrel or Keuchel trades work without giving up a big ticket piece of the farm. Guys like Jarred Kelly and Yoelqui Cespedes or an offer from the Sox to eat some of the payroll. Zack Collins isn’t really a trade piece, more like a lottery ticket you throw in at the end of a trade deal.