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At first it felt like faith— The Hold Steady, “The Smidge”
Then it felt just like the void
Now we’re stranded on the South Side
Just sick of waiting on your boy
So let’s roll
If your boy Rick Hahn and the White Sox are waiting for the conclusion of the World Series one of their preferred managerial candidates to be freed from his obligations, then such a hire won’t be possible until Nov. 2 at the earliest, and only if the Astros, Phillies and weather cooperate.
Under these circumstances, you have at least a half-dozen days to first-guess their decision in the Sox Machine Offseason Plan Project.
If you’re new to the OPP, it’s a staple of our late Octobers and early Novembers, and this year figures to be a more straightforward exercise than last year’s, which operated under a cloud of uncertainty due to the labor situation. With the CBA resolved, the lockout in the rear-view mirror and no drastic changes to service time or free agent compensation, we’re back to business as usual.
Here’s that business as usual:
- Copy the template below
- Paste it into the text editor on this page
- Fill it out* and submit it. Here is a good example from last year.
(*In case it isn’t etched into your memory like it is mine, Andy Gonzalez’s number is 26. You will need to know that.)
Now, the financial details.
Here’s how the White Sox’s payroll breaks down:
- Obligations: $118.47M to 11 players
- Club options: $18.125M to two players ($2.5 million in buyouts)
- Player options: $13M to one player ($5 million buyout)
- Arb-eligible: $27.4M to eight players
Bring back everybody under team control, replace the four departing free agents with league-minimum salaries ($720,000), and the payroll comes out just short of $180 million.
Last year, I set the payroll cap at $170 million because it would’ve been 10th in the league. The White Sox exceeded both numbers with room to spare, owning the seventh-highest Opening Day payroll at $190 million.
Despite the very real threat that the White Sox could slash payroll because Jerry Reinsdorf’s splurges have short lives, I’m going to keep that same $190 million payroll limit. Slashing spending at this point would be dumb because you can’t grow by cutting, but expecting the pursestrings to open wider after such an abject failure also seems ill-advised. If you can somehow put together a compelling roster for $180 million or less, you will have my admiration.
Some final points before we begin:
*MLB Trade Rumors has the list of 2022-23 free agents. Note the players with club options and exercise common sense when it comes to their potential availability.
*There are such things as dumb ideas, but the threshold is fairly high to cross it. Even an unworkable plan might have a great suggestion contained therein, which works for our goal of generating the highest number of feasible ideas possible.
*If you’re critiquing, try to make it constructive, even for the leakier proposals. A fair percentage of the Sox Machine community joined the fray sharing an offseason plan. We’re among friends here.
————— ✂️ [cut along the perforated line] ✂️ —————
Establish where you see the White Sox at this point, and your mindset/philosophy/strategy in putting together the roster for the upcoming season.
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
- Dylan Cease: $5.3M
- Reynaldo López; $3.3M
- Adam Engel: $2.3M
- Michael Kopech: $2.2M
- Kyle Crick: $1.5M
- José Ruiz: $1M
- Danny Mendick: $1M
Write “pick up” or “decline” or “rework” after the option.
- Tim Anderson: $12.5M ($1M buyout)
- Josh Harrison: $5.625M ($1.5M buyout
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
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Try to retain, extend qualifying offer, or let go?
- José Abreu (Made $18M in 2021)
- Johnny Cueto ($4.2M)
- Vince Velasquez ($3M)
- Elvis Andrus ($14.25M)
Name your manager from the available candidates as of Oct. 28. Feel free to offer any rationale, or any other coaching staff adjustments.
List three free-agent targets you’d pursue during the offseason, with a reasonable contract. A good example of a bad idea:
No. 1: Jim Thome (one year, $720,000). If the White Sox can reach into Cooperstown for a manager, they can do so for a left-handed bat, especially if it stops him from becoming the manager.
Propose trades that you think sound reasonable for both sides, and the rationale behind them. A good example of a bad idea:
No. 1: Trade Yoán Moncada and Michael Kopech to Boston for Chris Sale. The White Sox and Red Sox can see which goods are the most damaged.
If you finish up with a fairly firm 26-man roster, roll it out here. If you don’t, at least offer a sense of the payroll required, but more detail is always welcome.
What’s more important is describing how you settled on your plan — how or whether it resolves key positions, and what kind of position the White Sox occupy heading into 2023 and the following offseason.
Every plan may not be comprehensively sound, but even the shakiest ones may have one name or argument that hasn’t crossed the minds of the rest of the community. The point of this exercise is to generate as many possibilities as possible, to see which players are the most popular, and how it ends up comparing to the White Sox’s actual moves, if and when they’re allowed to make them.