Jeff Feyerer’s Offseason Plan Project – Revive Us All

PREAMBLE

My mindset putting this together…not great, Bob!

Watching the Padres and Phillies and Blue Jays do things the White Sox should have or could have done during any point post-LaRussa’s hiring has made me long for better days when our biggest concern as White Sox fans was how many prospects Chris Sale was going to net us.

And now we’ve seen a team in Houston, who ostensibly burnt it to the ground only to build it back up before the White Sox, win their second World Series in six-years (including two other World Series appearances) while Sox fans are left wondering whether their attempt to replicate will be left wanting.

But I’m going to try to ride into this thing with as much positivity as I can muster and I’ve created an exhaustive list of 10 reasons that all Sox fans should be positive (and please don’t think about the counter to any of these because I don’t have the strength for rebuttals):

Why White Sox Fans Should Be Positive About 2023!

  1. Tony LaRussa will no longer be the manager (This could be 1-10).
  2. 75% of the roster played well below their expected production level given the “backs of their baseball cards”, even when you account for age
  3. There’s a good chance seeing first baseman play the OF over the course of an entire season has forced the White Sox to look at actual outfielders
  4. The core of this team is still in their prime
  5. The Sox have the best logo and uniforms in the game so we’re going to look damn good no matter what
  6. Further away from COVID (crosses fingers)
  7. One year closer to being done with Grandal’s contract
  8. No Dallas Keuchel tossing meatballs (although h I was one of the lucky ones to witness his last good start as a White Sox player against the NYY)
  9. The 2019 Washington Nationals, the most recent example of a 2-time playoff team, missing one year than bouncing back to win the World Series, even after losing their best player
  10. 2005 happened when there were no expectations. Anything can happen!

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

2021 was a down year and no one was more aware of it than Lucas himself. He’s bounced back before. Willing to ride with him.

  • Dylan Cease: $5.3M – TENDER

No discussion needed. Cy-Cease, let’s go!

  • Reynaldo López; $3.3M – TENDER

Valuable, power arm. Deploy when needed.

  • Adam Engel: $2.3M – NON TENDER

We’ll always have your highlight reels and that brief moment a large swatch of White Sox nation thought you would stay healthy enough to be an everyday player. Alas, here we are.

  • Michael Kopech: $2.2M – TENDER

Improve. Stay healthy. Keep trending up.

  • Kyle Crick: $1.5M – NON TENDER

Will be the answer to a trivia question that frustrates me one day.

  • José Ruiz: $1M – TENDER

Another cheap, power arm. Wasn’t a great 2021, but $1M is worth it considering the plan I have lying ahead.

  • Danny Mendick: $1M

Not knowing how healthy he is going to be, having some redundancies on the roster and in the minor leagues that may not be as good as Danny, but theoretically could be as good or better than Danny makes this a non-tender for me.

CLUB OPTIONS

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

  • Tim Anderson: $12.5M ($1M buyout). -PICK UP

Maybe a trade? Really need 162 games from this season.

  • Josh Harrison: $5.625M ($1.5M buyout) – BUYOUT

If the Legend wasn’t currently festering on the roster, I would pick it up.

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) — NOT EXERCISED

Well. Nice.

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

Try to retain, extend qualifying offer, or let go?

  • José Abreu (Made $18M in 2021) – LET GO

This hurts. It really does. We’ve been blessed as White Sox fans to have Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko and Jose Abreu back-to-back man first base. But given the existence of Vaughn and Sheets on the roster, the need to save money given current payroll commitments and the glut of outfielders while still needing another left-handed bat which forces additional squeeze on the roster, I don’t see any way he’s back without a number of other moves.

This doesn’t even account for my underlying concern about his drop in power and the possibility of paying for the downside of his production.

  • Johnny Cueto ($4.2M) – LET GO

I loved everything about Johnny Cueto in 2022. That doesn’t mean it will be the same Johnny Cueto in 2023. And by “auditioning” the way he did, some team is going to give him more than I’d be willing to commit.

  • Vince Velasquez ($3M) – LET GO

I was on board with the attempted reclamation project. But let’s not go there again.

  • Elvis Andrus ($14.25M) – RE-SIGN, 1 yea, $6 million

Fully on board with bringing him back in some capacity if the price is right and if Leury wasn’t still here. Damn Leury. So we’re giving Leury a severance package to go away (based on the other moves below).

The White Sox need someone in case TA goes down and I’d hate to prepare like that, but with so many of these guys injury prone, there needs to be professional baseball players in their stead, especially considering the Sox inability to develop others.

Do the Sox want to be competing down the stretch with Lenyn Sosa at SS? Probably not. Would you feel more comfortable with Andrus and then having a minor leaguer as the fallback? Yes.

$6 million is a lot for piece of mind (I sound like someone fending off an insurance salesman) and I’m not quite sure what his contract will look like on the open market, but he did something to this team last year. And I’d like him to be around.

MANAGER

Pedro Grifol

Although Pedro Grifol was not a “name” candidate, he very well could be the right one and makes sense based on fit for a number of reasons:

– Latino, Cuban…I think is very valuable for the large majority of the current roster

– With the Royals since 2013 and probably has good a read of the current White Sox roster as any outside candidates

– former catcher, typically good managerial stock

– has held a number of different positions within the Royals organization, not just limited to one role

– worked closely with Royals analytics department but balances old school and new school according to reports

– 26 years younger than their former manager, probably won’t fall asleep In the dugout

– not a White Sox guy!!!!

Now let’s figure out 2B, get another left-handed bat and left-handed starter and let’s roll.

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Sign OF Michael Conforto to a 2-year, $24 million deal

Left-handed hitter. Check. Professional outfielder who actually plays the outfield. Check. Buy low on a guy trying to rebuild his value making it relatively affordable for Uncle Jerry. Check.

No. 2: Sign SP Jose Quintana to a 2-year, $22 million deal

“Baby come back, any kind of fool could see…there was something in everything about you”

Did I just quote the band Player? Yes. Quintana looked like a revitalized man down the stretch in St. Louis so either he watched one of those Frank Thomas commercials or he’s healthy and found a little magic in that ol’ wool hat he found.

I want him to be on this team when they’re good again. And we’ve lowered the bar to 5th starter who eats innings so let’s go.

TRADES

Propose trades that you think sound reasonable for both sides, and the rationale behind them. A good example of a bad idea:

No. 1: White Sox trade RP Liam Hendriks to LAD for OF Jose Ramos (#8 Prospect), OF James Outman (#13 Prospect) and LHP Maddux Bruns (#14 Prospect)

Once Edwin Diaz put ink to paper on his new deal with the Mets, ideas opened up. As much as I like Hendriks closing games for the Sox, I think the money could be better allocated elsewhere. There is also the whole thing about needing a lead in order to preserve a lead and I’d like to focus on getting that lead this offseason. I want to see Reynaldo Lopez at closer with Graveman and hopefully a healthy Bummer there to spell if need be.

This is a package focused on getting decent prospects from a deep system to replenish the Sox system and find a guy in Outman looking for an opportunity. I know its not the top end talent, but you’re getting 3 Top-15 guys from a system that was voted #2 in baseball at the midseason mark. Rushing gives the Sox a prospect unlike any they currently have and Outman can be on the roster right away.

No. 2: White Sox trade P Norge Vera and 3B Bryan Ramos to TB for 2B Brandon Lowe

The Rays have a glut of infielders and are used to roster attrition. As good as Lowe is, th

No. 3: White Sox trade IF Jake Burger and IF Romy Gonzalez to OAK for OF Ramon Laureano

A professional fourth outfielder behind Conforto, Robert and Colas also allowing for Jimenez to chase fly balls occasionally and protect for Colas possibly not being all that, but that’s what Cespedes is there for too. I guess.

Burger and Gonzalez likely are not going to see time with this current roster, but may have opportunities to play in Oakland. Oakland would also view this as getting cheap playable, talent instead of paying someone $6 million to run around the cavernous Oakland outfield for a rebuilding squad.

SUMMARY

Is this a perfect team? Probably not. Does it make more sense than the previous iteration. Absolutely.

Some other guys I tried to fit on this team that I considered:

  • Sean Murphy/C/OAK
  • Jose Abreu/1B/SF
  • Joey Wendle/2B/MIA
  • Luis Rengifo/2B/LAA
  • Carlos Rodon/SP/SF
  • Braxton Garrett/SP/MIA
  • Mike Yastrzemski/OF/SF

As much as it pains me to say, it is likely the team will rely on bouncebacks to account for their improved performance. And you know what, I buy that that can happen…as long as they balance out the roster.

This doesn’t need to be a massive reconstruction. Just make the pieces fit together. That’s not a difficult ask. You have guys in the prime of their career who, if steered in the right direction, can win the World Series.

You’d love to say their is a cache of prospects to either trade or bring up, but the minor league development that was supposed to happen concurrently with a competing roster to sustain long-term success has stagnated. The financial constraints are well-known and aren’t changing anytime soon absent an ownership change or a sudden change in spending habits by the owner.

I wanted to improve the catcher position, but ultimately didn’t. I had so many trades involving Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez that I became Jack Nicholson in the Shining. I still wouldn’t be surprised to see one of those guys dealt.

But in the end, this season took a lot out of me. I’m exhausted. This exercise is the craziest, voluntary thing I do next to running. But at least that has health benefits. LaRussa drained me. Grifol is keeping me afloat. Now Rick…do your job and inject that adrenaline into the heart of all Sox fans. You got your wish. Tony is gone. Finish it.

 

25-Man Roster (contract, all options, team control)
POS Player Age (OD) 2023 Salary
C Yasmani Grandal 34 $18.75
1B Andrew Vaughn 24 $0.72
2B Brandon Lowe 26 $5.25
SS Tim Anderson 29 $12.50
3B Yoan Moncada 27 $17.80
LF Michael Conforto 30 $12.00
CF Luis Robert 25 $9.50
RF Oscar Colas 24 $0.72
DH Eloy Jimenez 26 $10.33
OF Ramon Laureano 28 $3.60
1B Gavin Sheets 26 $0.72
IF Elvis Andrus 34 $6.00
C Seby Zevala 29 $0.72
SP (Rotation) Lance Lynn 35 $18.50
SP (Rotation) Lucas Giolito 28 $10.80
SP (Rotation) Dylan Cease 27 $5.30
SP (Rotation) Michael Kopech 27 $2.20
SP (Rotation) Jose Quintana 34 $11.00
RP – RH Kendall Graveman 32 $8.00
RP – RH Joe Kelly 34 $9.00
RP – RH Jimmy Lambert 28 $0.72
RP – RH Jose Ruiz 28 $1.00
RP – LH Jake Diekman 36 $3.50
RP – LH Aaron Bummer 29 $3.75
RP – LH Garrett Crochet 23 $0.72
CL Reynaldo Lopez 29 $3.30
Josh Harrison – Buyout $1.50
AJ Pollock – Buyout $5.00
Leury Garcia – severance $5.50
$188.40
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jfeyerer
jfeyerer
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Bonus Baby

I generally like the plan a lot. I also love the idea of trading for B. Lowe, who would be a great fit for the Sox, but I wonder if you’ve got enough going to TB to get it done. Ramos and Vera feels a little light to me.