TBSoxFan’s Offseason Plan

PREAMBLE

The White Sox are a genuinely good baseball team with few flaws. We saw depth tested in 2021, particularly in the OF, but the storm was weathered due to contributions from umbrellas like Brian Goodwin, Jake Lamb, Yermin Mercedes, and even Billy Hamilton. It also certainly helps that the AL Central ended up dissipating from the Cat-1 Hurricane featuring popular contenders in the Twins and In(Guar)dians into a tropical depression that couldn’t knock over a shed in the backyard.

Fortunately, the AL Central looks to be similarly weak in 2022, with most buzz coming from a Detroit team that is relying on 5 young starters with FIPs that draw genuine comparison to 2021 Mike Wright.

Because of this pillow the Sox find themselves with, many moves will be made with the idea of improving playoff series performance and keeping costs reasonable so a deadline move can be struck if (when) needed.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

  • Lucas Giolito: $7.9M – Tender – I’d love to extend Gio, particularly after his statements expressing interest in staying with the Sox for life, but ultimately it is likely too expensive to do so.
  • Reynaldo López; $2.8M – Tender – Lopez feels so much better as your 6th starter than your 3rd starter. Also, it has only been 2 seasons since Ivan Nova was the White Sox 2nd best starter and Manny Banuelos threw 50 innings. It is important to keep perspective
  • Evan Marshall: $2.3M – Non-TenderResign to MiLB deal– He’ll probably be a major league caliber arm after TJ, so there’s some incentive to keep him in the organization until then.
  • Adam Engel: $2.2M – Tender – I think he’s probably an above average regular, though we may never get the chance to see a large enough sample to prove it
  • Brian Goodwin: $1.7M – Non-Tender – It was a fun couple months that regressed into a genuinely horrible season as a whole, which sucks because he played a key role in propping up the June-July Sox
  • Jimmy Cordero: $1.2M – Tender – He’s got good stuff and was peripherally just as good in 2020 as in 2019. He’s simply a quality MLB MRP
  • Jace Fry: $1M – Non-Tender – Just never captured that 2018 lightning in a bottle.

CLUB OPTIONS

Write “pick up” or “decline” or “rework” after the option.

  • Craig Kimbrel: $16M ($1M buyout) – Pick Up
  • César Hernández: $6M – Decline – Had I made this yesterday, I’d have picked this option up. The Sox disagreed.

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

Try to retain, extend qualifying offer, or let go?

  • Leury García (Made $3.5M in 2021) – Retain, (2/9) – I like Leury on a modest raise, I disagree with the “Tony will force him into the lineup” crowd; I don’t think there’s much evidence of that. Injury luck and 2nd half Cesar Hernandez forced Tony to play him every day, and frankly Garcia had a perfectly fine year, even if you’re viewing him through the lens of a starting 2B. He’s a top-notch utility man.
  • Carlos Rodón ($3M) – QO – I don’t think he accepts this, but I don’t think he ultimately beats the money. I don’t think he returns either way
  • Billy Hamilton ($1M) – Let Go – If spring training rolls around and he’s available, he’s worth a MiLB deal. I don’t proactively want Billy on a regular season roster.
  • Ryan Tepera ($950K) – Retain, (2/8) – Tepera gets a nice raise after his breakout season, and the Sox keep a nice revelation in the later innings.

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Cesar Hernandez (2/10) – I’m going to go back to this well, likely much to the chagrin of many Sox fans. I get it. He sucked in the 2nd half and left a poor taste in a lot of mouths. The reality is that he had a 2-WAR 1st half and is going on nearly a decade of consistent 2-3 WAR production. I’m not going to be discouraged by a 53 game sample when the other 1,000 have shown him to be a solid starter. This is a fantastic opportunity to grab some value at what is likely Hernandez’s lowest point.

No. 2: Starling Marte (4/66) – Simply put, Marte is a difference-maker who will likely be able to produce above average defense in RF while placing another impact bat in the top of the Sox order. I don’t think breaking the bank for Semien is realistic, and I think Marte is a better use of a medium-large contract than Chris Taylor.

No. 3: Adam Ottavino (2/10) – With the departure of Craig Kimbrel in the trades below, the Sox bet on the stuff of Ottavino to pick up some late-inning slack. He’s outpitched his ERA over ’20-’21 and has dominant high-leverage work in his not-too-distant past.

No. 4: Roberto Perez (1/3) – I have always been a loud and proud detractor of Zack Collins. This is a necessary move.

TRADES

No. 1: Trade Craig Kimbrel, Sean Burke, $6 Mil to the Rays for RHP Yonny Chirinos

The Rays had interest in Kimbrel over the Summer, and this deal allows them to acquire him below market rate, as well as a high upside arm with big time K numbers, which they like.

In return, the Sox acquire an arm that operates as a fantastic back of the rotation starter with control through 2025. Chirinos is coming off of TJ and an additional fracture that will keep him out until at least May, but with patience could effectively purchase themselves a guy who can offer great production from the #5 spot in the rotation for the entirety of the competitive window.

No. 2: Trade Dallas Keuchel, Caleb Freeman $6 Million to Giants for RHP Carson Ragsdale

Ragsdale is a USF Bull (have to give a shoutout to my school) who had good peripherals as a 23 year old in A ball. Ultimately this is to get out from under Keuchel’s contract and hope the Giants see some value in putting him in a large ballpark to soak up some innings for them.

SUMMARY

Roster: 

C: Grandal ($18.25)
1B: Abreu ($18)
2B: Hernandez ($5)
3B: Moncada ($13)
SS: Anderson ($9.5)
LF: Jimenez ($6.5)
CF: Robert ($6)
RF: Marte ($16.5)
DH: Sheets ($600k)
BN: Vaughn ($600k)
BN: Garcia ($4.5)
BN: Engel ($2.2)
BN: Perez ($3)

SP: Giolito ($7.9)
SP: Lynn ($18.5)
SP: Cease ($600k)
SP: Kopech ($600k)
SP: Lopez ($2.8)
SP: Chirinos ($1.2)
RP: Cordero ($1.2)
RP: Crochet ($600k)
RP: Ruiz ($600k)
RP: Tepera ($4)
RP: Ottavino ($5)
RP: Bummer ($2.5)
RP: Hendriks ($13)

*RP: Burr ($600k, until Chirinos is ready)

Additional: Keuchel ($6), Kimbrel ($6)

Total Payroll: $174 Mil

I’m hoping my math here is correct, and if so, what a tough offseason the Sox have in store, and that’s with a large jump in payroll from previous seasons!

My main goal was to find a way to squeeze Marte in while acquiring a legitimate SP that could stick around. Chirinos is a worthwhile gamble as a guy coming off injury but with a solid amount of control and a track record of success. Ottavino likely has a floor of a decent MRP with late inning upside on a fraction of the cost of Kimbrel.

This is my first plan and I’m very excited about having completed it, so please let me know what you think in the comments! Go Sox.

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burning-phoneix

This is a well thought out and reasonable plan. I haven’t read too many of them yet but this one had the best ideas on how to dump Kimbrel and Keuchel contracts.

Might I suggest, to shave off some money, dropping Hernandez and using Leury as the everyday 2B with the likes of Romy Gonzales as the utility man? There’s not much difference between Leury and Hernandez in the 2B spot.