Bullrun1861 Off Season Plan

PREAMBLE

I see the White Sox at this point as still able to compete for a division title and maybe make it out of a round-1 opponent with my newly constructed roster. With my bold trades to bolster the farm system, a commitment to their ready to contribute burgeoning top talent, and a reallocation of traded money to several free agents, the new manager Grifol might be able to mold a team that could surprise and sneak into the AL championship game. Hey, the Phillies weren’t exactly a household pick, and they spent stupid money to be the last NL team into the dance. Stranger things have happened.

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 // Non-Tender
  • Danny Mendick: $1M // Tender

CLUB OPTIONS

  • Tim Anderson: $12.5M ($1M buyout) // Already picked up as of this writing.
  • Josh Harrison: $5.625M ($1.5M buyout // Already declined as of this writing.

PLAYER OPTIONS

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

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

  • José Abreu (Made $18M in 2021) // Let go.
  • Johnny Cueto ($4.2M) // Retain.
  • Vince Velasquez ($3M) // Let go.
  • Elvis Andrus ($14.25M) // Let go.

MANAGER

Already named.

FREE AGENTS

  • No. 1: Joc Pederson on a 2-year $16M deal (8+8).
  • No. 2: Joey Gallo on a 1-year $4M prove it deal. Not sure if this salary is too rich so I will let the critic’s critique. I’ve already submitted my Gallo idea in other Jim M. columns as A.) purely a stopgap while Colas eases into his role, B.) a gold glove caliber defender who can play all three outfield positions, and C.) an occasional power bat from the left side.
  • No. 3: Jacob deGrom on a 2-year $90M ($45M+$45M) deal with an opt out in year-2. This is the dreamy blockbuster free agent outlier! I realize Reinsdorf is unlikely to give aging pitching any kind of contract. The rationale is adding an elite arm to the rotation to get into the dance in 2023. And deGrom is elite! Worse case he opts out in 2024 and they save $45M. Future-wise Giolito will likely be gone too by 2024 and Lynn too unless they pick up an $18M club option. So, the rotation will possibly need reworking in 2024. Perhaps Garrett Crochet is ready to step into a slot and pitchers obtained in trades or existing minor league arms are rotation ready. Buy hey, this exercise is for 2023!
  • No. 3 backup: Carlos Rodon on a $135M ($45M+$45M+$45M) three-year deal. https://theathletic.com/3752188/2022/11/04/mlb-free-agents-contract-team-predictions/ is predicting 5-years for $144M. I think 5-years is too risky so make it over 3-years for the same annual $45M offered deGrom plus an opt out in year-3. If I am willing to give deGrom $45M I should be willing to give a pitcher 5-years younger the same. Plus, the White Sox have history with Rodon. He is a Boras client.

TRADES

Trades 1 and 2 are getting to be an old rag of mine so apologies for the redux! At least #3 is new-ish.

  • No. 1: Trade Andrew Vaughn to the Oakland A’s for catcher Shea Langeliers. The White Sox will likely have to sweeten the deal with pitching, for example:
  • Davis Martin and/or Jimmy Lambert or,
  • Martin/Jared Kelly -or- Mathew Thompson or,
  • Lambert/Jared Kelly -or- Mathew Thompson, or,
  • one only of Cristian Mena or Norge Vera.
  • The rationale as I have submitted in other Jim M. columns is the A’s organizational catching depth (Langeliers aside). That is, Vaughn and Langeliers were drafted only a few slots apart in the first round in 2019 (Vaughn 3rd, Langeliers 9th by the Braves). While the White Sox are receiving a premium position talent prospect, they are giving up an established major league player with a seeming ceiling of growth. In theory this solves their catching position for the next 10-years.
  • No. 2: Trade Tim Anderson to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The rationale as I have submitted in other Jim M. columns is my gut says the Dodgers do not throw huge sums to retain Trea Turner. If that comes to fruition Anderson is a reasonable replacement from a money perspective. Though the Dodgers analytical operation will know Anderson’s flaws so maybe they will not be interested. But if they are, the return could be a near(er) ready starting pitcher from their stable of minor league arms or other position players in their system. Fourteen of their top-30 prospects are pitchers. I do not believe Anderson will net a mega return but maybe an SP4/5 prospect. Replacing SS (and 2B for that matter) from a pool of minor league talent out of spring training, some of whom are known commodities, to already having cups of coffee (Romy Gonzalez, Danny Mendick, Lenyn Sosa, Jose Rodriguez) is realistic. Eventually and maybe late 2023 or hopefully 2024 brings Colson Montgomery. Perhaps by then Montgomery is considered for 3B if his SS defense doesn’t ascend in his remaining minor league seasoning. Lastly, for me as a fan who also values ballplayer personality traits like those of Aaron Judge, Derek Jeter, and Mike Trout, moving on from Anderson’s distractions is welcoming to me.
  • No. 3: Trade Liam Hendriks. Again, like Anderson, my previous submissions have only cited my personal dislike for his personality distractions. But as Jim M. points out regularly the ROI for this player position is just whack. I support the idea of moving Michael Kopech into the closer role. I think his velocity would improve but more importantly be consistent throughout the entirety of the campaign. He’s already relieved in high leverage so it wouldn’t be a mind-bending experiment sending him back to the pen, albeit it in different role. To whom the suitor is the question. I haven’t looked too closely but perhaps the Yankees would be willing dance partners as I wonder if they will go back to the Aroldis Chapman well or others used in 2022. They have tended to go for the high profile closer. Maybe the Dodgers, again? Perhaps a multiplayer deal that packages Anderson AND Hendriks. While a different Dodger front office they did the mega deal with the Red Sox.

SUMMARY

No. POSITION PLAYERS

BATS

SALARY

CATCHER

1.

Grandal, Yasmani

BB

$18,250,000

2.

Langeliers, Shea (rookie)

BR

0-3 YR PLAYER

FIRST BASE

3.

Sheets, Gavin

BL

0-3 YR PLAYER

Grandal, Yasmani

SECOND BASE

4.

Gonzalez, Romy (rookie)

BR

0-3 YR PLAYER

 

Mendick, Danny

THIRD BASE

5.

Moncada, Yoán

BB

$17,800,000

Burger, Jake

Mendick, Danny

SHORTSTOP

6.

Rodriguez, Jose (rookie)

BR

0-3 YR PLAYER

 

Mendick, Danny

INFIELD RESERVES

7.

Garcia, Leury

BB

$5,500,000

8.

Mendick, Danny

BR

0-3 YR PLAYER

LEFT FIELD

9.

Pederson, Joc

BL

$8,000,000

CENTER FIELD

10.

Robert, Luis

BR

$9,500,000

RIGHT FIELD

11.

Colas, Oscar (rookie)

BL

0-3 YR PLAYER

OUTFIELD RESERVES

12.

Gallo, Joey

BL

$4,000,000

Garcia, Leury

Jiménez, Eloy

Mendick, Danny

DESIGNATED HITTER(S)

13.

Jiménez, Eloy

BR

$10,333,333

Grandal, Yasmani

Sheets, Gavin

Burger, Jake

Gallo, Joey

Langeliers, Shea

No.

PITCHING STAFF

THROWS

SALARY

ROTATION

14.

Cease, Dylan

TR

$5,300,000

15.

deGrom, Jacob

TR

$45,000,000

16.

Lynn, Lance

TR

$18,500,000

17.

Giolito, Lucas

TR

$10,800,000

18.

Johnny Cueto

TR

$5,000,000

BULLPEN

19.

Kopech, Michael

TR

$2,200,000

20.

López, Reynaldo

TR

$3,300,000

21.

Graveman, Kendall

TR

$8,000,000

22.

Lambert, Jimmy

TR

0-3 YR PLAYER

23.

Kelly, Joe

TR

$9,000,000

24.

Bummer, Aaron

TL

$3,750,000

25.

Crochet, Garrett

TL

0-3 YR PLAYER

26.

Diekman, Jake

TL

$3,500,000

SUBTOTAL

$188,733,333

0-3 YEAR PLAYERS

$5,100,000

TOTAL

$193,833,333

BATTING ORDER

POSITION

OTHER POSITIONS

1.

Pederson, Joc         BL

LF

RF,CF

2.

Moncada, Yoán         BB

3B

3.

Robert, Luis          BR

CF

4.

Jiménez, Eloy         BR

DH

LF!

5.

Grandal, Yasmani      BB

C

1B, DH

6.

Sheets, Gavin         BL

1B

7.

Rodriguez, Jose       BR

SS

2B

8.

Gonzalez, Romy        BR

2B

SS, 3B, 2B

9.

Colas, Oscar          BL

RF

LF, CF

BENCH

10.

Langeliers, Shea      BR

C, DH

11.

Garcia, Leury         BB

INF/OF

12.

Mendick, Danny        BR

INF/OF

13.

Gallo, Joey           BL

OF

1B (has played)

 
  • My 0–3-year player salary total of $5.1M may be low.
  • My F/A contracts for Pederson, Gallo, and Cueto may be slightly off. Hopefully too high so can be adjusted down. I can cite a source for a predicted deGrom contract at the above mentioned https://theathletic.com/3752188/2022/11/04/mlb-free-agents-contract-team-predictions/.
  • The lineup and bench are balanced with four pure left-handed bats and still three more switch hitters.
  • A return to average performances by Moncada and Grandal is a reasonable expectation.
  • Eloy Jiménez seems accepting of the DH role and could be the lineup X-factor with the monster power year all fans have been waiting.
  • Some with scoff at Gavin Sheets getting a fulltime role but I think allowing him to settle in a first base will positively affect his hitting in a 2021 kind of way but over a heavier workload. Like Jiménez, I think he too could be a lineup power X-factor in 30 HRs and 80-100 RBIs.
  • Rolling with four rookies, three of whom start and one who will get ample playing time behind the dish also seems counterproductive to playoff aspirations. But I think it is time to allow this talent to play and get acclimated to the major leagues. There are fill in/backup plans in Mendick, Garcia(!), and Gallo as each rookie eases into their roles.
  • Players in the minors that could get time if either of the middle infielders faulter are Lenyn Sosa and Colson Montgomery (though Montgomery less unlikely early in the season). Don’t be surprised if Duke Ellis gets a look-see in spring training for outfield depth. His speed (I think lead all White Sox system players in stolen bases) and defense could be worth the look. Pitching-wise Sean Burke seems like he is pushing the envelope to a commuter role between AAA and the majors. Jonathan Stiever and Caleb Freeman have major league experience (though Stiever is coming off injury). Don’t forget Tanner Banks’ and Bennett Sousa’s 2022 contributions, albeit not with particularly great results, both of whom have major league experience. Actually, Banks did decently.
  • I know trading any one of the three mentioned players much less all three will be considered controversial. Critics will ask how can the White Sox compete for a division (much less greater ambitions) in jettisoning three integral components? To that I simply say they did not win with them in a 2022 season with high expectations. However, these three major trades can prop up their farm system while forcing their own prospects into major roles. Who heard of Andres Gimenez before last year? Sprinkling in two new veteran position players and the gem of the pitching free agent class makes sense to Reinsdorf because it allows for a return to absolutely be competitive in the weak AL Central in 2023 and the trades secure future competitiveness, provided their returns are quality prospects.
  • The payroll eclipses 2023 but not by an unreasonable amount.

I look forward to the community opinions.

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bullrun1861
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GrinnellSteve

My son had a song called “Manassas” on his first album. It equates a romance to the First Manassas (or Bull Run).

Oh, and I applaud your boldness.

GrinnellSteve

Will Bennett (sans the band) opened for Caleb Caudle at the Golden Dagger on Halsted last Saturday. He debuted some new material. If this old man did this right, here’s a link to Manassas

a-t

However you feel about TA’s “distractions”, he has consistently performed at a star level since breaking out. Trading for a “#4/5 SP prospect” would be a move worthy of General Manager Hawk Harrelson. As far as “personality” or character go… Jeter is not the guy to cite. The guy regularly gave gift baskets filled with Jeter-autographed items to his supermodel sexual conquests, and that gigantic ego affect the team too: it’s well known that A-Rod was a much better defender at SS but Jeter stuck to it and insisted on staying there.

You could have a championship quality team here… if you didn’t entrust both middle infield spots to guys currently in AA.

a-t

1) WAR is not really intended to be a rate stat. It’s compiled in large part by simply being available. Which the first two guys on the rate list struggle with rather a lot!

2) Let’s run with the WAR/162 anyways for now. You and everyone else here is entirely aware that Tim Anderson (2016-2018) is not the same as Tim Anderson (2019-present). Tim Anderson (2016-2018) is an unremarkable player at 2.3 bWAR per 162; Tim Anderson (2019-2022) is a clear-cut star at 5.5 bWAR/162, which puts him solidly in the logjam of star SS between #4 thru #9 on the list. If you want, you can re-do the whole thing since 2019 to be even.

3) Shortstop today is the same as it is in Little League: that is, almost always, where the most talented guys on the field are found. Even if Tim was actually 10-15th ish best SS like you claim– which he isn’t!– that’s still much more valuable than the equivalent ranking of any other position.

4) No, it is not at all clear that “anyone” would take any of Tatis, Franco, Pena, Adames, or Bichette over TA. Franco sure! He’s the best prospect since Trout. Tatis is certainly much better on a rate basis, but the constant injuries and now steroid questions make Tatis’ future quite cloudy. Bichette I think of, and the numbers say, as equivalent to TA. He hits a little better and defends a little worse. Adames with Milwaukee has also been about equal to TA/Bichette, but he’s a worse hitter & better defender. Pena has all of one season under his belt, and it was a very good rookie year (3.4 fWAR) but he has not yet shown (nor projects to) be putting up 5+ WAR years. He’s not that quality of hitter.

HallofFrank

I truly don’t understand how someone can look at this team and think, “oh, the problem here is Tim Anderson.” SS is arguably the only position (pitcher notwithstanding) the Sox can look at and think, “hey, cool, we’ve got a top-10 player at this position.”

a-t

yes, it is beyond mystifying to me

Bonus Baby

I think there are a lot of TA haters out there, and I’m not really sure why that is.

I just wanted to add that when I do the math both his bWAR and fWAR over the last 4 seasons, per 162 games, comes out to 5.9 — putting him at #4 on the list. And just by the eye test, I honestly think that’s right around where he belongs. Dude is a stud.

Oh, and he’s on such a team friendly contract, that when the trade values site puts his trade value at $39 million, that strikes me as about right. If I were considering trading him to the Dodgers, I’d want Gavin Lux back as the centerpiece, and at least another nice piece or two.

GrabSomeBench

Pederson was offered the QO so he’ll cost you a pick. Also, it is unlikely that he rejects that 19m+ offer and takes 8m a year. I’m glad he was given the offer because he’s a similar defender to what we have rolled out to left and right in recent years. I don’t think you are going to contend with this team even if your pitching stays healthy.

Trooper Galactus

If Gallo gets signed for $4 million I’ll scream if it’s not with the White Sox. They should be willing to sign him for even more than that given their needs.