Fixing the White Sox roster for 2023 (bilpatrick’s offseason plan)

Well what a funny contention window this has turned into.  It is amazing the director of scouting got booted as his drafted from 2016-2019, well have lacked talent (or talent that could not be developed), they will be on their 3rd manager of the contention window yet the two at the top are still standing.  Oh well, for this I cannot make heads or tails if the window is half opened going up or down, but I do believe the sox have talent.  That talent has not developed as we have hoped and the talent brought in to supplement may have not worked out like most have hoped.

For this exercise I realize that this is most likely the last year of the big 3 in the rotation (hard to believe we only got 2 years) of Cease, Kopech and Giolito so we have to go for it.  For this article I’m going to run this organization like a big boy org, much like the Astros, Dodgers and Rays do when putting together this roster.  This is a big year from Getz as the sox will need the system to produce at least 3 arms and 2 position players.  Since we have a staff of flyball pitchers we need to play d and we need actual outfielders in the outfield (what a wild concept).  I’m not going to count on Colas being ready, as I want him to earn it and hope he is ready (and when I call him up I want him to dominate like Yordan) by mothers day.  We play in a division with a lot of lefty bats so we need a lefty starter.  Actually, we need a lot of starters for 2023 and 2024 (beyond) so I’m going to address that.  I’m also sick and tired of watching “average” right handers (I’m talking to you Twins/Royals) dominate our line up, so I’m fixing that–hopefully.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

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: $10.8M  Tender
  • Dylan Cease: $5.3M Tender
  • Reynaldo López; $3.3M Tender
  • Adam Engel: $2.3M I would love to tender him but not at that price.  He is a fine defensive replacement when you have dh’s in the outfield, but my team does not
  • Michael Kopech: $2.2M tender
  • Kyle Crick: $1.5M I want to say who is this, but I know who he is–non tender
  • José Ruiz: $1M With TRL gone so is he.  non-tender
  • Danny Mendick: $1M  I like him a lot but how many back up utility guys do we need?  non-tender

CLUB OPTIONS

Tim Anderson: $12.5M ($1M buyout)  pick up

  • Josh Harrison: $5.625M ($1.5M buyout)–as much as I love having a roster of “all purpose” players, it is time for a change.  decline

PLAYER OPTIONS

  • AJ Pollock: $13M ($5 million buyout) — EXERCISED

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

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

  • José Abreu (Made $18M in 2021)–LET GO.  A few things, I remember seeing sox fans asking what does Vaughn do better than Jose, well he plays better defense (in of and 1b than this stiff).  I no longer want to watch my first sacker drop any more balls that are thrown to him and hit the middle of the mitt (yes I was at game 4 vs Baltimore).  Also, if he gets a statue and number retired before Ozzie or a statue before Buehrle and investigation is needed.  The best hitter on the 2022 sox is the 6th best hitter on a good team.  Time for him to go (still can’t get out the awful AB in 2020 game 3 vs Soria out of my head)
  • Johnny Cueto ($4.2M)  thanks for the memories
  • Vince Velasquez ($3M)  I wonder if Katz could have fixed him in 2023 spring training and not 2022–but no thanks
  • Elvis Andrus ($14.25M)  yes I’m hoping a 2 year 16 million deal (back loaded for 2024) gets it done.  I don’t expect the power and only think he will hit 240 but man can he play defense and has some baseball smarts….we need that.

MANAGER

Ozzie.  Period.  He is most qualified and he has won a actual world series for the sox in my lifetime.  I understand what happened in 2010-2011 as the Ozzie show was out of control, and him being correct that it should have been Kenny that left, but it was not.  To be honest I totally expect this to turn into a dumpster fire in 5-8 years, but I will take that for another title and no one in pro baseball knows this team, and what it needs to do more than Ozzie.  Also, hiring Ozzie would for most of the fans give them a reason to keep coming to the park, as the sox are going need every bit of help to draw this year until they play better; Ozzie will do that.

Honestly I will take Ozzie, Espada or Washington–anyone else would be a huge mistake)

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Andrew Benintendi 3-4 years at 15 a year (45-60).  Once again backloading deal to last 2 to 3 years.  To be honest I would prefer Nimmo, but Boras probably will get him 100 million and he is not a 100 million player.  A nice player, a player the sox need but signing him to that would just anger me that they wouldn’t pay Harper 5 million more a year for a longer period of time so I’m going after Benintendi.  I like don’t love him, as my main issue is sox wanted him in 2008 but at least he is 29 and not 36 so Kenny can say I got my guy.  Benintendi plays good d (bad arm but Scotty Pods was fine) takes walks and can hit righthanded pitching (hell I even saw a perfect suicide vs a very tough lefty).  If he can get lucky and MLB brings back the juiced balls, maybe he can hit 15 homers or so…but he brings some balance to the team.

Free agent 2.  Joey Wendle–2 years 3 million.  Lefty bat plays infield and helps bench.

TRADES

No. 1: Trade Jake Burger, Gavin Sheets, Lenyn Sosa and Matt Thompson (or any minor league pitcher not named Vera to Oakland for Sean Murphy and AJ Puk.  I am hoping the A’s still want Sheets and Burger needs a chance to play and Oakland needs players.  People have been saying the sox starting catcher for 2024 in not on the roster, I counter the 2023 starting catcher is not on the roster.  Like Stoney says, I like my catchers to catch.  Murphy does that.  The Yankees pitching staff was very good last year because they caught the ball (think what the sox could have done if they only gave teams 27 outs).  Murphy has power and takes some walks.  He adds depth to the line up and is a gold glove catcher.  AJ Puk, much like Mr. Nelson was screaming at the deadline, I wanted him then (my friends reminded me of this when he blew the save vs them too).  Getting Puk allows me to do a few things.  (1) never watch deikman pitch, (2) it allows Crochet to take his time back and stretch out as a starter all year in the minor.  He wants to be a starter, everyone wonders how can he do it.  This is how, if he agrees.  Then come Sept with maybe 100ish innings or so he is a true multi inning reliever like Puk that the sox moniter.  (3) covers for when Aaron Bummer gets hurt

Trade 2.  Tim Anderson and Yoequi Cespedes to Florida for Jesus Larzardo, Sixto Sanchez and Dax Fulton.  1st let me say I don’t want to trade Tim or anyone from our core, but I have to.  I saw the BR report for Eloy for Larzardo, but I would prefer to keep Eloy but if it is Eloy so let it be.  I’m trading Tim for a few reasons, I think he has the most value of any of the core.  He has been hurt the 4 years.  His best tool (speed) for whatever reason is not used as much as it should be.  He is a 2 time allstar on a bargain contract for 2 years with value.  We have his replacement ready for 2024 in the minors and Elvis can play better d with average offense would be a win.  Sox need pitching, and this gets em that. As long as medicals check out on pitchers, I believe this is a fair deal.  Florida gets SS to pair with Jazz (I have dreamed about the all flare middle infield but they will not trade Jazz) and a CF they are looking for.  Kim says she wants contact—who better than TA (once again hate that I have to trade our best clutch hitter goes current management sucks at their job) I don’t like that I now have a roster full of injury prone pitchers, but like the Dodgers you can never have too much and I want to limit innings.  My staff will lead the league trips to the dl to monitor innings.  I’ve like Lazardo for a while (wish sox got him for Robertson) but once again Kenny gets his guy this time at age 24 not 32.  For Sixto if they want to swap out the injured Rodgers I’d accept it as I want that to be my 6th starter and with our injuries I’m sure he will get 100 innings or so.  For Fulton, I like lefties that throw hard.  Now I have Sixto/Rodgers as 6th Davis as 7th (barring TJ) and I’m building Crochet up as a starter.  If I can develop Dax with the other guys from last years draft and Kelly then I have something for the deadline and the always mentioned keeping the powder dry.

Trade 3  AJ Pollack, Diekman and player to be named later (some minor leaguer I’ve never heard of the Dodgers will develop into a stud (cause that is what they do) to Dodgers for Cody Bellinger.  This is a straight salary dump/exchange which is Pollack is on it.  I think the Dodger know what they are doing and could get usefulness out of Pollack.  I don’t think they want Cody (may be able to sign him for nothing).  I was torn at just signing Confroto for a year or trading for Bellinger.  Figuring the Dodgers want something rather than nothing they accept this.  Do I think Bellinger is the guy he was in 2017.  Nope.  Do I think he can save the sox offense.  Nope.  I’m hoping in his walk year he can re-discover an average hit tool with his gold glove d in RF (and he can back up CF for the Robert injury) he puts together a solid year.  This also allows Colas to develop for a month or two in the minors and then if having too many good bats is a problem, then call it a problem (as a sox fan) I want to see.

CUT

Yaz.  Let me say signing Yaz to a 4 year deal was not a mistake.  He had the offensive profile the sox needed (left handed power and walks–jeez we still need it).  Signing him to be the starting catcher for 4 years was a mistake.  His history with the sox has been hurt in spring training bad till July (until last year) and terrible behind the plate.  2020 McCann was the catcher for the sox best pitcher, 2021 it was Zach Collins who caught Carlos and Lucas after the Boston game.  2022–it was Seby catching Dylan down the stretch and Reese catching Kopech.  Maybe you can eat some money and find a taker for a bag of balls, free laundry and the player to be named later….however for this I’m cutting him to wake up a dead ass clubhouse to tell them whatever last year was, it is not acceptable.

SUMMARY

I did not like the idea of trading from a possible strength (bullpen depth) to address the needs of this team.  I think Graveman will be fine if the next manager doesn’t ruin him in April again.  Kelly I doubt has value and Hendrix seams like a bargain.  Due to roster/payroll limitations I am rolling with combo of Romy/Wendle at 2nd to start the year.  It’s not the sexiest plan but one that should at least catch the ball and give me some offense.  I’m planning on fixing this at deadline if popeye is not ready. The Benintendi is a fair price and a solid but not spectacular move.  Trading for Bellinger does not excite me but at least I have 3 outfielders with gold gloves that are outfielders so our pitching should benefit.  With Elvis at short, Robert/Bellinger in CF and Murphy (a better looking officer Karko) our defense is much improved.  Getting the Lazardo and Sanchez improves our pitching and adds us depth in the system at modest cost.  I believe if the sox can catch the ball the pitching staff will go from good to great.  If they also stop running into outs and doing the little thing like throwing to the right base, they wins will come (Elvis will be a big key for that); but honestly it is the core that has to step up.  Eloy, Robert, Yoan and Vaughn all have set up and hit the ball hard, far and over the fence…..if that happens they will cruise to division title with just about anyone not named LaRussa as manager.

In truth I’m planning on the big move being a Gavin Sheets for Alex Verdugo trade.

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bilpatrick
bilpatrick
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Trooper Galactus

I, too, would like to get a Gold Glove catcher for a collection of garbage.

Actually, I had considered a similar trade to the Dodgers, but I couldn’t convince myself they’d take Pollock back (along with a shitty reliever) for Bellinger.

shaggy65

I just don’t think the Sox have enough talent if they traded their whole farm system to beat other teams’ offers for Murphy.

Trooper Galactus

Yeah, that trade is beyond unrealistic. Even if there wasn’t a single other team bidding the A’s wouldn’t settle for that return.

PauliePaulie

I like the Benintendi signing.
Have a feeling the A’s could get a better return from someone else if they trade Murphy/Puk.
Would be a heck of a get if Marlins would give up that much controllable pitching for possibly diminished Anderson and floundering Cespedes.
Couldn’t the Dodgers just non-tender Bellinger, and not take the $16.5mil in bad Sox’ contracts?

Alfornia Jones

Trading TA seems right, really curious what a return looks like. he’s a luxury we can’t afford if we are to fill the outfield. The theme needs to be defense, home runs, and as much pitching as JR will afford.

MattVerplaetse

Yeah, you lost me the second you said “Ozzie.” I don’t buy that managers get people into the park, and there’s not a great baseball-centric case for him. His strategic approach was already outdated a decade ago, and it’s telling that there’s no other team even kicking the tires on him as a manager.