Establish where you see the White Sox at this point, and your mindset/philosophy/strategy in putting together the roster for the upcoming season.
The 2021 Chicago Whitesox were a very talented team that seemed to have a shot at making a run in the playoffs after Rick Hahn and his team went out and made the trade for Craig Kimbrel. Unfortunately the trade didn’t work out how we all could have hoped but I don’t regret them making that trade. It was a win-now move that is going to have little effect on the coming years as far as how competitive they are. Nick Madrigal is going to be a good player but his production is easily matchable making the trade worth the risk. Cesar Hernandez did not work out and in my opinion they need to make second base their top priority heading into the 2022 season. Some say right field could use the biggest upgrade but at this point in the window I am confident in a combination of Andrew Vaughn, Gavin Sheets, and Adam Engel spending time in right field. I envision Michael Kopech moving into the rotation but after just 70 innings pitched in 2021 after missing time since the end of the 2018 season, the Sox are going to need six guys in the rotation. They are just a couple players away from being able to take the next step and win not only a playoff series but perhaps a pennant and a World Series title.
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 (Attempt to extend)
- Reynaldo López; $2.8M Tender
- Evan Marshall: $2.3M Non-tender (rework to keep)
- Adam Engel: $2.2M Tender
- Brian Goodwin: $1.7M Non-tender
- Jimmy Cordero: $1.2M Tender
- Jace Fry: $1M Tender
Write “pick up” or “decline” or “rework” after the option.
- Craig Kimbrel: $16M ($1M buyout) Pick up (Trade)
- 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
- Carlos Rodón ($3M) QO (which I believe he will accept)
- Billy Hamilton ($1M) Let go
- Ryan Tepera ($950K) Retain
List three free-agent targets you’d pursue during the offseason, with a reasonable contract. A good example of a bad idea:
No. 1: C, Tucker Barnhart (2 years, $12 million) Barnhart would serve as the primary backup catcher, allowing Zack Collins to be used more primarily as a bench bat.
No. 2 Ryan Tepera (2 years, $7 million) The trade for Ryan Tepera was really the one trade that worked out for the Sox in 2021 and other than opening his mouth for no reason in the ALDS, I enjoyed having him here to help contribute. I reward him with a $2 million pay raise for the 2022 season and pay him $4 million in 2023.
No. 3 Carlos Rodon (3 years, $63 million): This contract pays him $18 million in 2022, $21 million in 2023 and $24 million in 2024 with an opt put after each year. I believe he takes the QO but in the event he doesn’t, this is what I bring him back for.
To address the Dallas Keuchel issue, obviously I would love to trade him and dump his salary for nothing, but that isn’t reasonable and for this plan I am going to keep Keuchel around as a back of the rotation starter without allowing him to reach 160 innings so that his vesting option is not exercised. That being said, I have thought about many different ways of unloading Craig Kimbrel’s contract.
No. 1: RHP Craig Kimbrel, LHP Jace Fry, 3B Jake Burger, and RHP Sean Burke (Plus $4 million) to the New York Yankees for Gleyber Torres
The Sox shed a total of $8 million with this deal and effectively fill their hole at 2nd base for not only 2022 but 2023 as well. The Yankees make a decision on the DJ LeMahieu v. Gleyber Torres debate and set their sights on a long term shortstop while also receiving a premier late game bullpen option to pair with Chapman and Green.
Breakdown by position:
Yasmani Grandal ($18.25 mil)
Tucker Barnhart ($5 mil)
Zack Collins ($575k)
Yoan Moncada ($13.8 mil)
Tim Anderson ($9.5 mil)
Gleyber Torres ($5.75 mil)
Jose Abreu ($19.67 mil)
Romy Gonzalez ($575k)
Eloy Jimenez ($7.33 mil)
Luis Robert ($6 mil)
Adam Engel ($2.25 mil)
Andrew Vaughn ($575k)
Gavin Sheets ($575k)
Starting Pitchers (6):
Lucas Giolito ($8 mil)
Carlos Rodon ($19 mil)
Lance Lynn ($18.5 mil)
Dylan Cease ($575k)
Dallas Keuchel ($18 mil)
Michael Kopech ($575k)
Liam Hendriks ($13.3 mil)
Reynaldo Lopez ($2.75 mil)
Aaron Bummer ($2.5 mil)
Ryan Burr ($575k)
Jimmy Cordero ($1.2 mil)
Garret Crochet ($575k)
Matt Foster ($575k)
Andrew Vaughn and Gavin Sheets have been popular names thrown around in trade proposals for this offseason, but I don’t believe it would be smart to trade either of them. Andrew Vaughn was drafted with the intention of becoming the Whitesox next franchise first baseman, and while Jose Abreu is still here, Vaughn has shown the ability to play multiple positions until first base does open up. Gavin Sheets has earned the opportunity to play full time and between RF, LF, 1B, and DH there should be plenty of at bats available for Vaughn, Sheets, Jimenez, and Abreu to all play full time.
I decided to keep Dallas Keuchel because of how unreasonable it is to either get something of value in return or for a team to take on the majority of his contract. I believe he’s of better use to spread starts out in the rotation in an attempt to keep Rodon healthy for the entire year, and keep Michael Kopech in a reasonable 120-140 inning workload, all while keeping him under the 160 inning threshold that would exercise his vesting option for the 2023 season.
The bullpen at first glance could look shaky and I don’t believe it’s as good as it could be, but unless the budget increases anymore, this is going to have to do until we can re-explore options at the deadline.
This brings the 2022 Chicago Whitesox 26-man payroll to just about $176 million, a fine and very much reasonable overpay in order to field a team capable of fighting for a chance at a World Series title.
Of course the new CBA and probable lockout looming is likely to change many factors that go into an offseason but this is my attempt at formulating a roster capable of competing for a ring while staying reasonably close to Jerry Reinsdorf’s likely budget.