A Reasonable Path to Contention

PREAMBLE

The 2022 whitesox were the least fun baseball team to root for in my lifetime.  I’m angry, you’re angry, Tony is tired, and Jerry is… Jerry.  That being said as I take a step back and honestly analyze where our roster is at, there is real reason to be hopeful.  This plan will hopefully provide a reasonable and financially attainable path to enjoying a much better product next year.

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 – non-tender
  • Michael Kopech: $2.2M – tender
  • Kyle Crick: $1.5M – non-tender
  • José Ruiz: $1M – tender
  • Danny Mendick: $1M – non-tender

CLUB OPTIONS

Write “pick up” or “decline” or “rework” after the option.

  • Tim Anderson: $12.5M ($1M buyout) – keep
  • Josh Harrison: $5.625M ($1.5M buyout – let go

PLAYER OPTIONS

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) – let go.  Breaks my heart but our roster really doesn’t give us an option.  We let him go because we love him!
  • Johnny Cueto ($4.2M) – try to sign a 1 year -6mil deal… he’s earned the bump… hopefully he takes it… even 80% of his 2022 provides value to this team.
  • Vince Velasquez ($3M) – let go
  • Elvis Andrus ($14.25M) – let go
  • CUT LEURY GARCIA – this is a straight cut, there is nothing he does well.   We can fill internally with better options… I am just eating the 5 mil owed to him for the next 2 years… nice job on that one Hahn.

MANAGER

Ron Washington – I just want a professional in this post.  I think he can command the clubhouse and not make us look bad… not a high bar but coming from where we are coming from it would be a massive improvement.

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Brandon Nimmo 4 years 98mil – We.  Have.  To.  Fix.  This.  Issue.  He will provide real upgrades both defensively and offensively 24 mil a year is a lot but Jerry can still brag at not paying 100 mil for a free agent.  Get it done!  Be bold for once!

No.2 Colton Wong 2 years -20mil 

I am using Josh’s deal as the standard money it would take for Wong.  Need that left handed bat in the order.  And I believe there is actually something pretty interesting in Romy Gonzales and he will be platooning with Wong against Lefties to minimize Wong’s weaknesses.  These 2 additions makes our lineup significantly more balanced.  And we are FINALLY moving away from being so RHB dominated for no known reason.

TRADES

No. 1: Trade Liam Hendricks to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ryan Pepiot and Gavin Stone.   Liam Hendricks is great.  And if this team is good we will probably have to add a closer at the deadline… but we need to cut salary, and we have too much tied to our bullpen already.  This moves gets us much needed sp depth either in the minors or at the back end of our rotation if there is injuries along the way.  I think the Dodgers pull the trigger on this deal.  They need a closer and Hendricks is legit.   We get 2 interesting arms for the future.  I think this is a win-win

SUMMARY

26 man roster 

Starters 

Giolito – 10.8
Cease – 3.4
Lynn – 18.8
Kopech – 2.3
Cueto – 6

Lineup 

Anderson ss – 12.5
Wong 2b – 10
Robert cf – 9.5
Nimmo rf – 24
Eloy dh – 9.5
Vaughn 1b – min
Moncada 3b (please bounce back) – 17
Yaz c – 18.5
Pollock rf – 13

Bench 

Colas – min (platoons with Pollock)
Zavala – min
Romy – min (platoons with Wong)
Gavin Sheets min

Bullpen 

Lopez (closer) – 3 mil
Gravemen 8
Kelley 9
Bummer 3.5
Crochet -min
Diekman -3.75
Ruiz – 1mil
Davis Martin -min

Conclusion

Even with eating Leury Garcia’s dead salary my salary projections come right in around 185 mil which I think is more than reasonable considering last years payroll and our attendance numbers this year.

I am kicking the can down the road on making a long-term investment in Giolito, that might come back to bite me but if he pitches lights out this year that is a good thing right??!!

The bullpen scares me… like a lot… but I think this team top to bottom is so much more balanced, athletic, and better defensively that even with a small manager bump we should easily be back in the 90 win range, competing for the central and hopefully make some noise in the playoffs.

Its not the most creative plan ever, but it is a plan that I think is feasible and allows us to truly be excited for the 2023 season… I just want to enjoy watching baseball again… and this is a path towards that goal!

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