Neat’s Offseason Plan – Trade Eloy, Re-Allocate, Reload

The Whitesox are at a crossroads. The same guys that have always been in charge are still in charge, and whether we like it or not its up to them to decide how to move forward after a very dissapointing 2022.. My hypothesis for this rebuild is pretty simple – lets let Kenny do another 04-05 offseason Retool and Reload. I could see the Sox’s brain trust viewing themselves in a similar position as they were in 04, and commit to a similar approach. Shake things up, commit to roster churn and re prioritize payroll – Then push chips in to try to win a world series. Our Goals are to acquire more left handed hitters to create a more balanced offense while also getting First Basemen out of the Outfield to improve defense.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

• Lucas Giolito: $10.8M – TENDER
• Dylan Cease: $5.3M – TENDER
• Reynaldo López; $3.3M – TENDER
• Adam Engel: $2.3M – NON TENDER
• Michael Kopech: $2.2M – TENDER
• Kyle Crick: $1.5M – NON TENDER
• José Ruiz: $1M – TENDER
• Danny Mendick: $1M – TENDER

Nothing Crazy here, Non tenders are budget Casualties.

CLUB OPTIONS

• Tim Anderson: $12.5M ($1M buyout) – Pick Up
• Josh Harrison: $5.625M ($1.5M buyout – Decline

PLAYER OPTIONS

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

I think we’re stuck with Pollock. But I’m gonna churn the roster to make the most of it.

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

• José Abreu (Made $18M in 2021) – RETAIN! Lets discuss in the Free Agent Section
• Johnny Cueto ($4.2M) – LET GO
• Vince Velasquez ($3M) – LET GO
• Elvis Andrus ($14.25M) – LET GO

MANAGER

Like Josh, I have been a long time Joe Espada fan. He is still my #1 choice here. He has all the qualifications a new manager needs to deserve a shot. He is not just liked but respected by both Players and Front Office, and speaks fluent Spanish as hes from I think Puerto Rico? There are recent reports that the Whitesox have ruled him out. My second option is Phillies Hitting Coach Kyle Long. Just go all in on the long history of results as hitting coach with him.

FREE AGENTS:

No. 1: Re-sign Jose Abreu. 1 Year, $15M. 2nd year Player Option $15M or $3M Buyout. Spoilers, but I’m Trading Eloy later. Jose Abreu’s plate discipline last year was outstanding. The guy just keeps producing and I don’t think removing your most Healthy (truth hurts), productive offensive player is the best way to retool. This contract setup I think is pretty fair to Abreu? We’ll slot him in for $15M in this years payroll, but hes guaranteed a fair amount of money either way here. Jose will Play 1B/DH with Vaughn.

No. 2: Sign Joc Pederson. 3 years, $39 Million. Kenny ALWAYS gets his guy. Honestly, I haven’t the slightest clue what is a reasonable contract for Joc, did I over pay? Under pay? Either way I’m circling him as a major target. Why? Well, we know he mashes Right handed pitching. And I’ve got him circled as a prime candidate to receive a performance bump from the shift changes next year. He should play a fine left field.

No.3: Sign P Luis Severino – 3 years, $66M with player opt out after 1 year. Let me get a few things out of the way. Starting Pitcher was the last hole I filled in this plan, my end budget sits at $189M. But I have this feeling like I’m missing around $10M in bottom of 40 man types, if so, we just sign the best SP we can afford.

But Severino is high on my list if we can manage to afford him. Again, I have no idea what a reasonable contract is for him. He basically did not pitch in 2020 or 2021 with Tommy John and COVID. He pitched a little over half the season in 2022, starting 19 games with a 3.18 ERA. If Im dramatically under paying Severino here, don’t cancel my entire plan guys, just ignore this. But I LOVE Severino as a potential buy low target, and I don’t mind giving him that “correa light” prove it sort of deal with a 1 year player opt out.

TRADES (both go through on baseballtradevalues)

No. 1: Whitesox Trade Eloy Jiminez + Liam Hendricks to the Dodgers for 2B/UT Gavin Lux and OF Prospect James Outman. This Trade is essential in the goal to retool and compete in a single offseason. This I know is going to be highly controversial. But I think you can make the case that BOTH Teams walk away happy with this. The Whitesox shed a lot of salary, create roster room by moving a redundency, and get a cost controlled left handed 2B to start right away. Lux has been a bit disappointing to start his career but Still has a lot of upsid. If you want a pitcher you could look at Nick Nastirini or Landon Knack. But I went Outman who is another left handed OF close to MLB ready. From the Dodgers Perspective – The Dodgers outfield production has been pretty bad outside of Mookie Betts. They get a right handed Masher to slot in at LF/DH with Eloy, and their closer. It’s a lot of payroll for them to acquire but they’ve got the money. They have prospects ready to replace Lux.

No2: Whitesox Trade INF Montgomery, OF Colas, SP Vera, SP Dalquist to the Pirates for Outfielder Bryan Reynolds. Well? If the Sox REALLY want to compete in 2023, they’re gonna have to do something like this. They’ve backed themselves into a corner. As creative as we all are – I don’t see a likely scenario where the sox compete without trading Montgomery or Colas. So I’m going to trade them both and get a great overall player and fit. Bryan Reynolds can play passable CF and should be a solid RF. He takes a ton of walks and is a good offensive player against BOTH RHP and LHP. He is an amazing fit, and I don’t see any scenario where we realistically land Nimmo. All at the low cost of around $7 Million and team control through 2025.If Reynold its the trade block, he checks ALL the boxes that Hahn/Kenny look for.

Why would the Pirates do it? Well, the Pirates suck. They aren’t going to compete next year. Reynolds salary will increase through arb soon. While hes a great player, hes not a star that draws attendance or can single handedly change your trajectory. He makes a lot of sense to move now when his value is highest. They get two Top 100 prospects with HUGE upside from us, and two pitching prospects. We have to be realistic, we dont have a lot of prospect depth. If we want to acquire a major talent by trade, its going to hurt us a lot. It is what it is.

IN SUMMARY

Lets start with the 26 man Roster:

* 1. SS Tim Anderson
* 2. RF Bryan Reynolds
* 3. DH Jose Abreu
* 4. LF Joc Pederson
* 5. 1B Andrew Vaughn
* 6. CF Luis RObert
* 7. 2B Gavin Lux
* 8. C Yasmani Grandal
* 9. 2B Yoan Moncada

BENCH: OF AJ Pollock, INF Romy Gonzalez, UT Leury Garcia, C Seby Zavala
Starting Pitchers: Cease, Lynn, Kopech, Severino, Giolito
Bullpen: Gravemen, Kelly, Lopez, Bummer, Crotchet, Foster, Diekman, Stiever
Payroll: $189M

To me, this is a thorough and comprehensive restructuring of the Roster that exists in a realistic world. We entered the offseason trying to get more lefties on the 26 man roster and improve team defense. In this plan, we do both – and acquire young, controllable assets in the process. Nobody said it wouldnt hurt – We lose Eloy, hendricks, Montgomery, and Colas. But this is what we have to do to actually change the roster. This fits the bill both for everything we need and everything we know Kenny/Hahn like to prioritize (read, cost controlled players acquired via trade)

We have balance across the roster. In our starting 9, if you include switch hitters there are five potential lefties. On the Bench, Pollock becomes our primary backup, and he is a perfect fit to platoon with Joc. Leury can be used correctly as emergency fill in sub.

We still have pretty glaring depth issues at Starting Pitcher and Outfield. Perhaps we can trade guys like Mendick or Sheets to get some organizational inning eaters.

Overall I’m very happy with what I’ve done here. This is an exciting team on paper. Our future still hinges largely on whether guys like Robert, Vaughn, and Anderson can remain healthy and productive. THat is going to be the case no matter what you do this year though. We’ve finally surrounded those guys and Abreu with pieces that are actually Complimentary.

Complimentary baseball. Imagine that.

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Like this plan; signings are much more fiscally realistic given our front office’s MO. But I’d add one more prospect to the Pittsburgh load so they take Kelly’s or Pollock’s salary too and then apply that savings to signing Contreras so we have a catcher. As I state in my plan, I just don’t think they should be counting on Grandal to be able to catch a meaningful amount of games. Adding an all-star catcher to what you built here makes this team a real threat.