White Sox Wade’s Retool, Not Rebuild Offseason Plan

PREAMBLE

How do you fix the most disappointing team in baseball last year?  Here’s a hint, it’s not by just coming back with the same players and expecting a different result.  This team’s window is already starting to close, so it’s now or never.

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

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

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

  • José Abreu (Made $18M in 2021)  Let go, painfully
  • Johnny Cueto ($4.2M)  Let go
  • Vince Velasquez ($3M)  Let go
  • Elvis Andrus ($14.25M)  Let go
  • Leury Garcia ($5.5M) – Release – We have plenty of younger, better options
  • Yasmani Grandal ($18.25M) – Release – I will put a caveat on this one. If Grandal’s issues last year were due to injuries which have now healed, I would consider retaining him. If he’s simply gotten old and can’t hit anymore there is no longer room for him on the roster.

MANAGER

I believe Ron Washington is the right hire for this team.  Yes, he is older, but he is still current in today’s game, comes from a winning organization, and has previous success as a manager.  In addition, he would provide discipline, have a focus on defensive improvement, and would be helpful in recruiting a particular free agent I have in mind.  I would prefer that we retain Katz as pitching coach, but otherwise would allow Washington to complete his staff as he sees fit.  I’ve seen enough of the same coaches who appear to consistently fail to teach (ie Menechino) or execute (the base coaches).

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Dansby Swanson (six years, $120,000,000).  The Sox finally top $100M in a contract.  Washington helped Swanson turn into an above average shortstop, and I’m betting that there is some loyalty there. We need to get better defensively at shortstop and Swanson’s the most reasonably priced of the stud free agent shortstops on the market, bringing a quality bat with exceptional defense.

No. 2: Andrew Benintendi (three years, $36,000,000).  Benintendi is exactly what this team needs.  He’s a strong defensive left fielder who makes great contact from the left side and can still run a bit.

TRADES

All trades were run through the trade simulator at baseballtradevalues.com and slightly favor every team the Sox trade with.

No. 1: Trade SS Tim Anderson, OF Yoelqui Cespedes, and RHP Jared Kelley to the Marlins for LHP Jesus Luzardo and LHP Braxton Garrett. Miami trades from their surplus of starting pitching and gets a two-time all-star former batting champion for two years of below market value salary. To sweeten the deal, they also get a fourth outfielder and a young starter with potential.  The Sox get two middle of the rotation left handers with significant team control.

No. 2: Trade RHP Michael Kopech, 3B Jake Burger, and LHP Tanner Banks to the Mets for 2B Jeff McNeil. New York desperately needs rotation arms and would likely see Thor in Kopech.  Burger gives them an option for third base, allowing them to replace McNeil with old friend Edwardo Escobar, with Banks thrown in to help their bullpen.  The Sox replace their now former batting champion shortstop with a former batting champion secondbaseman who brings another left handed contact bat to the lineup with strong defense.

No. 3: Trade RHP Lucas Giolito to the Dodgers for LHP Caleb Ferguson and IF Rayne Doncon. The Dodgers buy low on a one year reclamation project for their rotation and the Sox get salary relief, a solid left handed middle reliever and a 19 year old lottery ticket.

No. 4: Trade RHP Liam Hendriks to the Phillies for RHP Griff McGarry and OF Johan Rojas, who are then traded with SS Colson Montgomery and RHP Sean Burke to Oakland for C Sean Murphy and LHP Logan Harris. The Phillies solve their closer issue with David Robertson a pending free agent, and Oakland get four solid prospects for their star catcher.  The White Sox pay a hefty price but get the best catcher available who plays gold glove level defense while contributing a better than average bat.

SUMMARY

26-man roster

Lineup:

2B McNeil

LF Benintendi

CF Robert

DH Jimenez

1B Vaughn

SS Swanson

C Murphy

RF Colas/Pollock platoon

3B Moncada

Bench:

C Zavala

1B Sheets

UT Mendick

OF Colas/Pollock

Rotation:

SP Cease

SP Lynn

SP Luzardo

SP Garrett

SP Martin

Bullpen:

CL Graveman

SU Lopez

SU Lambert

SU Bummer

MR Crochet

MR Ferguson

MR Kelly

MR Ruiz

This plan will of course never happen, but it works on several levels. The team improves significantly defensively at nearly every position. The lineup improves against right handed pitching with fewer strikeouts. The team adds players with longer team control to extend the contention window.  Also importantly for a Jerry Reinsdorf owned team, this was all accomplished while reducing payroll to about $178M.

The downside is that the farm system is weaker, but the team has a responsibility to finish of this rebuild as promised, and since we’re not going to spend our way out of this our only choice is to cash in some of the developmental chips down on the farm.  Perhaps I’m a bit light on the dollars needed to sign the free agents, or the prospects needed to pull off the trades, but either way this plan would be within last year’s budget and would bring back the excitement that we so desperately seek.  Thanks for reading, let me know what you think!

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White Sox Wade
White Sox Wade
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GrinnellSteve

I think you’ll have to dig deeper by a fair amount to get your free agent targets, but you have room in the budget to do that.

Your trades are bold! You deserve a lot of credit for the thought that went in to them.