Well, after one of the most disappointing seasons in White Sox history, some big changes must take place. We got off to a good start when Tony left the manager’s job. But the offseason will probably be a disaster because Rick Hahn is still in his job. We will most likely see more dumpster diving and overpaying for relief pitchers. But that doesn’t mean we can’t put our 2 cents in to try to improve the Sox. So here’s my attempt.
ARBITRATION ELIGIBLE PLAYERS
- Lucas Giolito: $10.8M TRADE. See below.
- Dylan Cease: $5.3M Are you kidding? TENDER
- Reynaldo López; $3.3M TENDER. A no-brainer.
- Adam Engel: $2.3M Non-Tender. He has outlived his usefulness.
- Michael Kopech: $2.2M TENDER. Another no-brainer.
- Kyle Crick: $1.5M Non-tender
- José Ruiz: $1M Non-tender. Like Crick, no need to pay more than the minimum for useless relievers
- Danny Mendick: $1M TENDER. Solid utility guy.
Write “pick up” or “decline” or “rework” after the option.
- Tim Anderson: $12.5M ($1M buyout) PICK UP. Another no-brainer.
- Josh Harrison: $5.625M ($1.5M buyout) Buyout. He was solid, but we need to go in another direction.
Write “exercised” or “takes buyout.” The question here is whether you think Pollock could do better than one year and $8 million on the open market. I’m filling it in with “exercised” unless you can provide a compelling argument against it.
- AJ Pollock: $13M ($5 million buyout) — EXERCISED. He will return. He’s not going to find anything better.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Try to retain, extend qualifying offer, or let go?
- José Abreu (Made $18M in 2021). After a fabulous 9-year run, it’s time for Jose to move on. Thanks for a great 9 years, Pito.
- Johnny Cueto ($4.2M) RETAIN. 2 years, $16M. Cueto is rewarded for almost saving our season.
- Vince Velasquez ($3M). Let go. No need to pay him $3M.
- Elvis Andrus ($14.25M). Let go. Thanks Elvis for trying to keep us in the race.
I’m not too picky about who the manager will be, but I don’t want any of the ex-Sox that have been mentioned. That rules out Ozzie, Thome, AJ or anyone else that has strong ties to the Sox. My top 3 choices are Joe Espada, Matt Quartaro, and Sandy Alomar. I know Alomar has ties to the Sox, but I think of him as a Cleveland guy.
Ok, this is where we break the $190M line. Jerry must spend on at least 1 premium free agent to give us fans some hope. There’s no way he springs for Judge, but I would easily take Brandon Nimmo. Though I am going in a different direction:
CARLOS RODON- 5 years $130M or 4 years, $110M. The non-QO offer actually helps the Sox here. Boras is appreciative of the Sox not tying a QO to Rodon last year, and Jerry’s loyalty pays off as he brings back one of his highest draft picks ever. And the Sox have the best 1-2 punch in baseball with Cease and Rodon.
JOHNNY CUETO- 2 years, $16M. Cueto is rewarded for almost saving the Sox’ season, and the Sox have one of the best 5th starters in baseball.
KOLTEN WONG- 1 year, $9M. The Sox need to get more left-handed. And Wong gives them some pop and good defense at 2nd.
Since we have 5 starters in place, it’s time for a big move:
Lucas Giolito to the Dodgers for #7 prospect pitcher Gavin Stone and #13 prospect outfielder James Outman. Giolito is walking after 2023. The Dodgers need starting pitching. And Giol.ito will be a stud in LA. The Sox get a hard-throwing major-league ready long reliever/6th starter in Gavin Stone, who will slide into the rotation for Lynn in 2024. And Outman absolutely mashed in the minors last year, with 31 HRs and a .978 OPS, along with being a plus defender who can play all 3 outfiled spots. And he’s left-handed. The outfield will be manned by Outman, Robert and Colas, with Pollock as the 4th guy. I have faith that the 2 young guys will be ready for the job.
Joe Kelly and $4M for a high A pitcher. Some team will pay $4.5M for Kelly. His stuff is too good. But the Sox need to move on.
Leury Garcia and $8M for a torn bag of lopsided baseballs. Under no circumstances should Leury be on the White Sox in 2023. He has negative value to them. Some rebuilding team will part with a few old baseballs for a guy who can play most postions for $1.5M.
Jake Diekman and $2M for …well, nothing. Some sucker will pay $1.5M for a hard-throwing lefty.
Well, that’s it my tentative 26-man roster is:
Gavin Stone- $700K
Best right in camp- $700K
Best lefty in camp- $700K. Hopefully Crochet fill that spot by mid-season.
TOTAL (plus Kelly and Diekman money)- $38.85M
Hopefully, Grandal can regain some of his lost form. I’d love to move that contract, but no one is taking that one.
TOTAL (plus Leury and Harrison)- $46.5M
26th man- Sheets, Romy or Sosa. Since the Sox added several lefties, Sheets can probably be traded.
TOTAL PAYROLL- The payroll checks in right at $200M. I think I covered everything. My biggest concern is putting two rookies in the outfield. But both were extremely impressive last year. Again, I could easily see Nimmo taking one of those spots, but I would rather have Rodon paired with Cease at the top of the rotation. I like the balance between lefties and righties, and the outfield defense should actually be a plus.