Let’s Get Better and Deeper! What a CRAZY Idea!

PREAMBLE

This is one of the weirder times I have experienced as a White Sox fan, and now reaching an age where I have seen more versions of previous squads, this is surely the offseason where I am most uncertain as to what the franchise will do. Jerry is very, very conservative with long tenures of spending more money than he wants to, and after a year in which the White Sox were 7th in payroll and didn’t make the postseason, it makes me even more skeptical that he will continue to be aggressive with his dollars in trying to build a winner. Nonetheless, I will do my best to construct something that is reasonable, even though it might be completely unrealistic for Rick Hahn, Jerry Reinsdorf and co.

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- non-tender
  • Danny Mendick: $1M- tender

CLUB OPTIONS

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

  • Tim Anderson: $12.5M ($1M buyout)- pick-up
  • Josh Harrison: $5.625M ($1.5M buyout)- buy-out

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, and then we cry
  • Johnny Cueto ($4.2M)- let go, and then we also cry
    • If plausible and there is not a strong market for him, bring him back on Minor League deal and he starts season most likely with the club. Can never have too much rotational depth
  • Vince Velasquez ($3M)- let go, no tears
  • Elvis Andrus ($14.25M)- high five, slap on the butt, and let go

MANAGER

Pedro Grifol has been named manager. I am excited about the shift from the typical organizational narrative, and I am also excited about a new coaching staff that will feature Charlie Montoyo. Overall, a positive move for the club.

FREE AGENTS

List three free-agent targets you’d pursue during the offseason, with a reasonable contract. A good example of a bad idea:

No. 1:  Joe Pederson  (two years, $24 million). The rumors of Pederson to the White Sox have been prevalent for years now, and I can personally confirm that at one point during the offseason prior to the 2019 season, Pederson was all but traded to the White Sox before things fell through in the final stage. Now, it is time for him to be where he should have been all along. Although he may not be a very good defender, his left-handed power bat that is actually capable of playing the outfield is something the Sox have been desperate for. With Pollock more than likely choosing to exercise his option, and the odds of the Sox finding any value in a trade for him being extremely low, a platoon of Pederson and Pollock greatly improves the offense and lends the club some seriously needed power from the left side.

No. 2: Wade Miley  (one year, $2 million). After a year plagued with injury with the Cubs, the Sox can take advantage of Miley on a cheap deal to add some rotational depth.  Miley was one of the more effective left-handed starters in the sport in 2021, and the White Sox just don’t have left handed starters, and the division did not hit lefties well this past year. With Miley being a potential swing-man that can start or add innings out of the bullpen, the Sox add a veteran pitcher at a discount.

No. 3: Sean Manea (one year, $8.5 million). The White Sox need to add depth to this rotation, and with a blockbuster trade that will be highlighted below, they need it. Manea is another guy coming off a disappointing year that was put on full display in the postseason. However, if the Sox can get him into the Katz Lab with Miley and figured out, the White Sox can now get one of the most yearned for targets during the last offseason for a much cheaper price than the capital it would have cost just one calendar year ago.

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: Trade Liam Hendriks, Lucas Giolito and Jake Burger to the Los Angeles Dodgers for OF Cody Bellinger, MIF Gavin Lux, and RHP’s Emmet Sheehan and Nick Nastrini. This is a blockbuster. According to the MLB Trade Simulator, this is a very slight deal for the White So according to overall value, but certainly not enough to completely disregard the potential of this trade happening. The White Sox clear some salary by ridding of Hendriks and Giolito while increasing overall depth and addressing some of the core needs of the club. The Sox also now have a full outfield that can actually play some defense, and if Bellinger can return so any semblance of what he did during his MVP campaign in 2019, the White Sox are coming out with major value in this trade. Lux is a Wisconsin kid who knows the Midwest, and he is another left-handed bat that can help fill out this order. The two young arms have profiled very well so far in their early minor league results, with Sheehan profiling as a legitimate back-end bullpen arm or a fringe starter, while Nastrini looks as if he could be a front of the rotation pitcher. The Dodgers address their back of the bullpen struggles by adding one of the best closers in the sport, and they also fill out their rotation heading into next year. With Justin Turner leaving, the addition of a power bat that has some versatility, such as Burger, also adds a little more incentive into this deal, not to mention the Dodgers have some magical system that turns AAAA players into major league studs.

No. 2: Jake Diekman to the Los Angeles Angels for LHP Aaron Loup and $2 Million. This is just a swap of old left handed relievers who were not very good in 2022. Loup was slightly better than Diekman, but he costs more. The White Sox look to work a little deal with the Angels here, as instead of paying Loup $8.5 million for average relief performance, they can cut ties and spend just $3.5 million on Diekman and the $2 million sent to the Sox helps balance out the trade, costing the Angles $3 million less for the 2023 campaign. For the Sox, the Diekman move just didn’t work, and maybe an offseason with Loup working with Katz and White Sox personnel offers more promise than what they can get out of Diekman. It is only $3 million more, and with how the White Sox love spending on the bullpen, this move makes sense and also rids the club of Diekman’s sub-par presence.

SUMMARY

Lineup

SS Tim Anderson

2B Gavin Lux

CF Luis Robert

DH Eloy Jimenez

1B Andrew Vaughn

3B Yoan Moncada

LF AJ Pollock/Joc Pederson

C Yasmani Grandal

RF Cody Bellinger (expected arb salary of $18.1 million)

Bench

C Seby Zavala

UTIL Leury Garcia

OF/1B Gavin Sheets

Rotation

RHP Dylan Cease

RHP Lance Lynn

RHP Michael Kopech

LHP Sean Manea

LHP Wade Miley

Bullpen

Closer: RHP Reynaldo Lopez

High Leverage: LHP Aaron Bummer

High Leverage: RHP Kendall Graveman

High Leverage: LHP Garrett Crochet

RHP Davis Martin

RHP Joe Kelly

RHP Jimmy Lambert

LHP Aaron Loup

TOTAL PAYROLL- $187 Million

This is not the ideal roster, and to say it has serious flaws is an understatement. However, if we are looking at addressing needs, this plan at least accounts for some of the biggest things missing from last year’s club. Second base gets addressed with the addition of Lux, while Right Field gets addressed in the same deal by getting Bellinger and banking on him finding his stroke offensively again. The positional depth is in a much better spot, as Danny Mendick, Oscar Colas and Lenyn Sosa all could be valuable assets to the big league club, yet they won’t be needed to be productive right out of the gate and can gather plate appearances in the minors. The rotation also gets some much needed depth through a big trade and some signings, and now you roll into 2023 with the five starters listed, potentially Cueto, Nastrini waiting in the wings, and Davis Martin ready to fill in whenever he is needed. The most important part of this team, though, is getting production out of the players that this rebuild was constructed around. If Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert and Andrew Vaugh can put together full campaigns of the production everyone expected, this White Sox team could do serious damage. They have lineup balance, good splits between left-handedness and right-handedness in the rotation, bullpen and lineup, and they have the power (if it can return from the dead) that we have seen propel teams to sustainable postseason runs. I am not going to run out and claim this the greatest team ever assembled, but we have seen worse win championships. Hopefully Pedro Grifol is the guy and can get this bunch to play harder, stay motivated, and most importantly… WIN.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Josh Nelson

That is one chaotic trade you’ve designed between the White Sox and Dodgers.

And yet, I feel like the Dodgers would find a way to come out ahead even though the White Sox get players that help address area of need.