Trooper Galactus Spent $160M Last OPP, Remember?

The White Sox find themselves at an inflection point; are they really finally going to spend the money, as promised?  Even if so, what shape will that take?  A top-10 payroll would be over $180 million per 2021 standards, and I think pretty much every fan thought that was the territory they would be shooting for.  Regardless, I will do my best this season to stay within Jim’s established constraints.  Heck, it gives me ten million more to play with than when I splurged last season.


  • Lucas Giolito: $7.9M TENDER – No brainer.  Sign to an extension if you can, but keep the 2022 payroll at $10M or less.
  • Reynaldo López; $2.8M  TENDER – For that price, you aren’t going to get any more reliable a swing man on your pitching staff.
  • Evan Marshall: $2.3M NON-TENDER – Minor league deal for 2/$2M.  I like Marshall, and I think he can reward the team if they can keep him in the fold while he recovers from TJS.
  • Adam Engel: $2.2M TENDER – It’s sad we still don’t know exactly what Engel’s ceiling is, because in spurts he’s looked like one of the best all around players on the team.  I’m still relegating him to the bench due to durability concerns, but he’s an awesome piece to have there.
  • Brian Goodwin: $1.7M NON-TENDER – Aside from a few notable highlights, Goodwin was pretty atrocious.  He’s a below average hitter in all respects.  He’s an atrocious defender.  There’s better uses of the 40-man roster spot.
  • Jimmy Cordero: $1.2M TENDER – I’m presuming Jimmy Biceps is healthy again and ready to compete.  The team kept him around while he recovered from TJS, and it’s time to cash in on that investment.
  • Jace Fry: $1M TENDER – I was tempted to non-tender and just get rid of him, but this team doesn’t exactly have a wealth of viable lefty arms, and since Fry still has a minor league option remaining, I’m willing to give tender him and stash him in Charlotte as added depth.


  • Craig Kimbrel: $16M ($1M buyout) BUYOUT – I made my thoughts on the matter pretty clear elsewhere.
  • César Hernández: $6M PICK UP – While he certainly didn’t earn it with his post-trade performance, Hernandez has historically been a league average hitter with a reliable infield glove.  I would pick up his option solely as insurance against striking out on a better option (see said option below), and keeping him as a utility infielder regardless.  If he could be re-signed for less, great, but I’m working this as a GM on a timeline and assuming there are no certainties in free agency (despite the end results of this plan).


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

  • Leury García (Made $3.5M in 2021) LET GO – I’ve long been an ardent defender of Leury, but always with the caveat that it’s not his fault we see more of him than we probably should.  As a guy who makes his living almost solely off his defensive utility, I’m not investing in that as he gets further into his thirties.  Besides, I don’t want him as a sort of crutch that LaRussa leans on constantly.
  • Carlos Rodón ($3M) SIGN – One year, $10M contract with $8M buyout.  Second year team option at $14M (with $4M buyout) vests at 100 IP.  Third year team option at $18M (with $2M buyout) vests at 100 IP.  Fourth year team option at $20M.  Functionally, the first year is basically the qualifying offer, but with almost half the money deferred to 2023 when Keuchel and Abreu come off the books and there is more room to absorb the cost.  With even modestly healthy seasons, this is basically a 3-year, $44M contract, with a team option at the end that could turn it into 4/62.  Given his health history, I think it is both competitive and fair.
  • Billy Hamilton ($1M) LET GO – Minor league deal at most.
  • Ryan Tepera ($950K) SIGN – 2 year, $14M ($6M/$8M) with a team option for 2024 at $9M.  Rather than waste any more money on one year of Kimbrel, I’d prefer to invest in two years of Tepera for even less money.  He’s not an elite reliever, but he’s a steady hand who earned his keep and justified the trade.


No. 1: Chris Taylor (Five years, $80 million ($10M/17.5M/17.5M/17.5M/17.5M)). I view Taylor as the White Sox’s version of Ben Zobrist; an underappreciated utility player who is good enough to start at several different positions but be an every day part of the lineup.  Taylor is a bit more of a versatile defender than Zobrist, with a bat that is not a far cry off either.  For us, he locks down second base while providing a bit of extra depth at virtually every other position if needed, and we all saw in 2021 how needed it could be.  I think Taylor represents a realistic target financially who adds substantially to the team at a position of need (possibly more than one).

No. 2: Daniel Norris (One year, $2 million, second year team option for $5 million with $500k buyout). Once a promising pitching prospect, Norris never found a groove as a starter, and looked promising in 2020 when converted to a relief role before a midseason trade this season to the Brewers, after which everything went to pot.  Still just 28 years old, I think Norris can be a solid second lefty option out of the bullpen, with perhaps more to offer yet (hence the generous second year option).


Trade Andrew Vaughn, Jared Kelley, Micker Adolfo, Zack Collins, Andrew Dalquist, Jonathan Stiever, Wes Kath, and Bryan Ramos to Pittsburgh for Bryan Reynolds, Jacob Stallings, and David Bednar. While Reynolds’ arm probably isn’t ideal for right field, neither is Engel’s, yet we’ve seen the sort of difference he made out there versus other options.  Otherwise, Reynolds provides everything this team needs: capable defense across all three outfield positions, a slugging switch hitter, and an affordable price with three control years remaining.  Vaughn is a high price tag, but given how many first base options the team has both now and the immediate future, he’s a redundancy (and not somebody I would want manning an outfield corner on a daily basis).  Stallings is overqualified as a backup catcher, but with Grandal’s health as shaky as ever, I think that’s a good thing.  He’s an excellent defender who isn’t a total waste of space with the bat who has three more years of control as well.  Bednar might be a bit much of an ask, but hey, dare to dream, right?  He’s a righty reliever with five years of control remaining who runs strong K and BB rates.

On the Pirates’ side, they get three position players (Vaughn, Adolfo, Collins) and a pitcher (Stiever) who all have five or more years of control remaining and can be developed on their MLB roster right away.  Additionally, they get two infielders and two pitchers (including a high pedigree one in Kelley) on longer timelines who can be built into future plans.


1B – Jose Abreu ($19.67M)
2B – Chris Taylor ($10M)
SS – Tim Anderson ($9.5M)
3B – Yoan Moncada ($13.8M)
LF – Eloy Jimenez ($7.33M)
CF – Luis Robert ($6M)
RF – Bryan Reynolds ($4.5M)
C – Yasmani Grandal ($18.25M)
DH – Gavin Sheets ($600K)

Everybody in this lineup has 20+ homer power, and the outfield defense is vastly improved with the addition of Reynolds.  A late-inning trio of Reynolds/Robert/Engel would be one of the best defensive outfields in all of baseball.

IF – Cesar Hernandez ($6M)
OF – Adam Engel ($2.2M)
UT – Romy Gonzalez ($600K)
C – Jacob Stallings ($2.6M)

While Romy Gonzalez might not instill the confidence of a Leury Garcia, the idea is not to have to use him any more than is necessary.  That said, the other three are all starting quality players off the bench, so there’s a strong group acting as a bulwark there.

RHP – Lucas Giolito ($7.9M)
RHP – Lance Lynn ($18.5M)
RHP – Dylan Cease ($600K)
LHP – Dallas Keuchel ($18M)
LHP – Carlos Rodon ($10M)

With Rodon back in the fold and Lopez the long man out of the bullpen, I’m optioning Michael Kopech back to Charlotte to get him fully stretched out.  With Rodon’s health always shaky, Keuchel in free-fall and on a short leash, Cease coming off the biggest workload of his career, and Lynn not getting any younger, I think it will be more prudent to have starting depth ready to go than to keep stunting Kopech’s development by bouncing him between roles.

CL – Liam Hendriks ($13.33M)
MIRP – Reynaldo Lopez ($2.8M)
LHP – Aaron Bummer ($2.5M)
RHP – Ryan Tepera ($6M)
RHP – David Bednar ($600K)
RHP – Jimmy Cordero ($1.2M)
LHP – Daniel Norris ($2M)
RHP – Jose Ruiz/Matt Foster ($600K)

If you’re wondering where Garrett Crochet is, like Kopech, he’s been optioned to the minors, only in his case, to Birmingham.  The forgiving park dimensions will help him as the team attempts to transition him to a starting role as originally envisioned.  If they need him as a reliever, they can always call upon him, but if they still have designs on him becoming a starter, it’s not going to happen in their major league bullpen.  Otherwise, Hendriks, Tepera, Bednar, and Bummer gives TLR four dependable arms to call on.  Lopez is available for long relief and spot starting; he’s a fully developed product who I don’t foresee having a problem filling whatever role is needed on a given day.  Cordero and Norris are lower leverage options who I think could offer more given a chance, and the last spot between Foster and Ruiz is just to squeeze whatever you can out of a cheaper arm in the 26th roster spot.  Jace Fry is still available in Charlotte if needed.

The overall price of this juggernaut, even with a healthy amount of the contracts for Taylor, Rodon, and Tepera backloaded, is $185M.  If I’m going against being risk-averse at the beginning of the offseason, I’ll not pick up Hernandez’s option, but that probably means going with Burger or Mendick on the bench to get payroll a sliver under $180M.  So, yes, even in the best-case scenario, I’m busting Jim’s limit by almost $10M, but considering that would probably put them around 8th in payroll for 2022 (with the caveat that things could get weird with the new CBA), I’m gonna say that’s not an unreasonable expectation as a fan.

It’s just an unrealistic expectation for Jerry Reinsdorf, sadly.

Again, dare to dream.

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Trooper Galactus
Trooper Galactus

Just another South Side Sox refugee; have followed the team pretty closely since 2000. Otherwise, avid video game collector and part-time warming cushion for my calico feline.

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While I’d love Bryan Reynolds on the south side I can’t imagine the Pirates making that deal. Just to play devils advocate if I’m the Pirates (taking into account the White Sox have no top 100 prospects) I’d need either Vaughn and Crochet plus a 15-30 prospect of my choosing OR Vaughn or Crochet along with Norge Vera and Colsen Montgomery. Neither guy is top 100 and Reynolds is my only BIG trading piece and one I have for 4 more years. I’m not trading him for anything less than a HAUL! Would you still be willing to do the deal for Vaughn, Montgomery and Vera?


I don’t know, I think Trooper got it about right. For one thing, Reynolds is a bit of a gamble. He was excellent in ’21 (5.5 fWAR), but not good in ’20 (0.0 fWAR). I suspect he’s somewhere in the middle, but his lack of track record will likely give teams pause for cashing all of the prospect chips in for him.

Another thing: it depends on how you (or, well, the Pirates) evaluate Sox prospects. By Fangraphs rankings, for example, Trooper’s package that includes Vaughn, Kelley (45 FV), and Kath (40+) is much stronger than Vaughn, Montgomery (40+), and Vera (40). In fact, FG ranks Kath higher than Montgomery and Kelley higher than Vera.


fair enough. Im just thinking about from a Sox perspective looking at it as a Sale/Eaton/Quintana type trade. I would’ve been awfully disappointed if the Sox had traded Quintana and a Robertson type guy and got one top 100 prospect and a bunch of mid level guys on a bad team. Of course it all depends on what the Pirates are looking for and that’s an excellent point by HallofFrank that Reynolds doesn’t have the best track record but I think that speaks to the Pirates desire to hold onto him until they can max out value. If they’re not getting everything they want … Idk I wouldn’t pull the trigger.

Greg Nix

I don’t get why you’d pay Cesar Hernandez $6 mil to sit on the bench. In that scenario, he’s a worse, less flexible, more costly version of Leury.

Greg Nix

Committing $6m for a guy who spent the last two months playing like dog shit ain’t much of a fallback plan.

Greg Nix

Lol sheesh. I guess I should have made it an 11-player deal for realism’s sake.


I mean, that’s kinda like someone criticizing your plan for only guaranteeing a 5-WAR lefty pitcher $18m. I get it – it’s not the same because Gallo doesn’t have the health issues of Rodón. But it’s misleading to just call him a “4-WAR” player. He’s reliably a high-2, low-3 WAR player (bWAR or fWAR), which is good, but he also only put up 0.4 WAR in 228 PA with the Yankees. So, maybe Kimbrel isn’t enticing to the Yanks (maybe he is, I dunno), but I think Greg’s offer is at least in the value ballpark.


I agree that your Rodón contract is a reasonable one. I was only pointing out that your framing of Greg’s Gallo trade was… skewed.

Kimbrel isn’t a salary dump. If he was, the Sox wouldn’t pick up the option. If he were an UFA, he’d be guaranteed a lot more than $16m. Maybe less AAV, but his contract will be attractive to some teams. Plus, Adam Engel is not nothing.


I was tempted to pick up Cesar’s option, as well, because I agree his bat (and overall value) is a better bet moving forward than Leury. I think he’s still a fine bench option here because as long as you have Taylor penciled in at 2nd, Cesar is essentially backfilling for an opening at any position Taylor covers. $6M is more than fair for a guy I fully expect to deliver a 2 WAR season in a 10th man role.

That said, I think team chemistry is an oft-overlooked aspect of player performance and it just didn’t seem like Hernandez felt comfortable on our team.


I’m just very confused by the structure of the Rodon contract. Why do you have a buyout on year 1 of the contract? How would that ever be exercised? Like, in case he gets injured? But at that point you’ve probably already paid him 2M of the deal so nothing changes?


Regarding Rodon’s contract, is there much precedent for that kind of structure – a series of one year options/vesting? If Rodon is the type of pitcher who will go through boom-bust cycles, I wonder if it is better to try to get him on something of a reasonable 3 yr deal (if he would accept it) and try to ride the positive stretches. Maybe a opt out after yr 2 and some performance incentives mixed in.